Adapted from Italy in Small Bites by Carol Field
Special Equipment: 18″ x 13″ (46 cm x 33 cm) sheet pan (half sheet pan)
- 8 ounces (225 grams) Yukon Gold potatoes (1-2 potatoes, depending on size)
- 1½ teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1½ cups + 2 Tablespoons (400 mL) warm water (100 °F-110 °F/37 °C-43 °C)
- 3¾ cups (500 grams) all-purpose flour plus more for the work surface
- 2 teaspoons sea salt, divided
- 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil for the proofing bowl
- 12 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 large Russet potatoes, peeled, washed and dried well
- 4 teaspoons Kosher salt, divided
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
Make the dough
- Peel and wash the Yukon Gold potato and boil them until tender and thoroughly cooked. Drain and transfer the potato back to the pot, and mash or rice them. Place a clean dishtowel over the pot of mashed potatoes–this will allow most of the heat to dissipate while still keeping them warm.
- In a large mixing bowl, stir the yeast and honey into the warm water and let stand for 5-10 minutes to allow the yeast to begin blooming (it will start to look creamy). Add in the flour, mashed potatoes, and 1 teaspoon of the salt and mix briefly with a wooden spoon. While the dough is still wet, add in the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt and use your hands to mix the dough until it begins to come together. Transfer the dough to a well-floured board and knead for 10 minutes until the texture of the dough is smooth and firm. The dough will be slightly sticky, so flour the board as necessary.
- Place the 2 Tablespoons of olive oil in another large mixing bowl and use your hands to rub it around the interior of the bowl. Place the dough in the oiled bowl and roll it around to coat it thoroughly. Cover the bowl with a clean dishtowel and place it in a draft-free area to rise until doubled, about 1½ hours.
Finish the focaccia
- Place 4-6 Tablespoons of olive oil onto the sheet pan and use your hands to rub it around the bottom and sides of the pan. Turn out the risen dough directly onto the oiled sheet pan, and use your fingertips to gently press the dough towards the edges. Do not force the dough–the dough may not reach the edges completely. Cover the sheet pan with a clean dishtowel and let the dough rest for 10 minutes, then use your fingertips to finish stretching the dough to the edges. Cover the pan again and place it in a draft-free area to rise for 45 minutes.
- While the dough is in its second rise, slice the peeled and washed Russet potatoes thinly with a mandoline. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add in 2 Tablespoons of salt. Add the sliced potatoes to the boiling water and stir them carefully. Blanch the potato slices for 2-3 minutes, or until they are tender (but not breaking apart). Drain the potato slices through a colander and leave them in the colander to cool slightly.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Set the rack in the center of the oven.
- Uncover the dough on the sheet pan and use your fingertips to dimple the dough, making sure not to press through to the bottom. Drizzle 4 Tablespoons of olive oil over the unbaked focaccia and gently spread it around with your fingers, making sure to coat the surface evenly. Dimple the dough again if necessary. Next, arrange the blanched potato slices over the surface of the focaccia. Drizzle 2 Tablespoons of olive oil over the potatoes and sprinkle them evenly with the remaining 2 teaspoons Kosher salt, the black pepper, and the minced, fresh rosemary.
- Bake the focaccia for 25-30 minutes until puffed, and golden. As the focaccia bakes, you should hear it sizzling on the baking sheet as the bottom fries and crisps in the olive oil. The potato slices should be golden and crisp at the edges. Remove the focaccia from the oven and allow it to cool on the baking sheet set on a cooling rack for 5-7 minutes. To remove the focaccia from the sheet pan, run a knife around the edge and either gently lift it out or invert it onto a cutting board and flip it back over, potato-side up. Serve immediately.