Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Salt and Pepper Focaccia Bread

This recipe is adapted from The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook.
1 russet potato (8 ounces), peeled and cut into large chunks
1 1/2 teaspoon active yeast
1 cup warm water (about 100 °)
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for the baking sheet
2 tablespoons sea salt
1 tablespoon coarse ground pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°. When the over comes up to temp, turn it off. This will give you a nice place to allow your dough to rise.
  2. Cover the potato with water and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and allow to cook for 10-15 minutes or until easily pierced with a knife. Drain and allow to cool. When the potato is cool to the touch, grate it on the large holes of a grater. You will need 1 1/2 cups of lightly packed grated potato.
  3. Whisk the yeast into the warm water and allow to dissolve.
  4. Whisk together 3 1/4 cups of flour, and salt together in a large bowl. Add the yeast mixture, grated potatoes, and 2 tablespoons of oil. Stir with a rubber spatula until dough comes together and looks raggedy.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface and knead adding the addition 1/4 cup of flour as need to bring the dough together. Knead for 10-15 minutes or until the dough is a smooth round ball with some elasticity to it. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rise in a warm place for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until it has doubled in size.
  6. Press the dough into a well-oiled 12 by 18 inch rimmed baking sheet. Wrap loosely with greases plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until it has double again in size and springs back when poked, about 45 to 60 minutes.
  7. Adjust the oven rack to the lower middle position and preheat to the oven to 425°. If you are using your oven as your warm rising place, be sure to remove your dough before pre-heating your oven to this high temp.
  8. Press the dough with your finger tips to dimple it and brush it with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Sprinkle evenly with the sea salt and coarse ground pepper.
  9. Bake until the focaccia bottom is golden and crisp, about 20 to 25 minutes.
  10. Slide bread onto a wire rack and let cool slightly before cutting into squares.

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