I didn't mean to save this recipe for my 100th post, but it is a fantastic recipe that fits the occasion. As the grand daughter of not one, but two Italian grandmothers, Focaccia is something I've always known and loved. My mom used to make it often, and I was never disappointed when it was a part of our dinner. I just don't bake bread often these days, though, because Joe and I only make it about 1/2 way through any loaf before it gets stale or moldy. I had never made focaccia on my own, so when I saw the recipe for Potato Focaccia with Thyme, I felt the time had come to try it myself.
This recipe actually came from a grilling book that Joe got for his birthday. The recipe was pretty simple and straightforward, but with the dough rising it does take a bit of time. Boiling the potatoes ahead of time was key; it made them so creamy and rich tasting on the finished bread. I think thyme may have overtaken rosemary as my all time favorite herb, and combined with the gruyere perfectly. I do think next time I might have made half the dough and rolled it out thinner, because it was a little too bready when the cheesey, herbed potatoes were the best part. This focaccia is sure to be a crowd pleaser, and I'm happy to report that the leftovers are great for breakfast the next day!
Potato Focaccia with Thyme from Grilling, by Eric Treuille and Birgit Erath
3 1/2 cups all- purpose flour
2 tsp salt
1 1/3 cups lukewarm water
2 tsp active dried yeast
2 tbsp olive oil
Place the flour in a bowl. Make a well in the middle and sprinkle the salt around the edges. Pour the water into the well and sprinkle with the yeast. Let stand 5 minutes to allow the yeast to soften, then stir to dissolve. Add the olive oil to the mixture.
Draw in the rest of the flour to make a warm, sticky dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and kneed for ten minutes, until smooth, light, and elastic. Put back into the bowl, cover with a cloth, and leave until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
1 lb baby potatoes
1 1/2 cups grated gruyere cheese
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1/4 cup creme fraiche (optional... and I use creme fraiche every chance I get!)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut potatoes into 1/4 inch slices. Bring a pan of salted water to a boil, add the potatoes, bring back to a boil and cook until they centers are just tender when pricked, about 5 minutes.
Deflate the dough and roll out into a flat round about 9 inches across; place on an oiled baking sheet (or pizza stone). Sprinkle half the cheese on top of the shaped dough. Arrange the potato slices over cheese. Top with remaining cheese. Sprinkle with thyme, salt, and pepper. Dot the potatoes with creme fraiche. Bake until bread is puffed and topping is crisp; about 30 minutes.
See, great for breakfast with a salmon and tomato omlet!