Rosemary Herb & Potato Focaccia


Freshly baked bread is one of life’s simple pleasures. This Rosemary Herb & Potato Focaccia recipe makes a soft and chewy loaf with a crisp crust. Sea salt, rosemary, garlic, shallots, and crispy slices of Creamer potatoes speckle the golden crust.

This focaccia is best enjoyed fresh and in quantities not recommended by any food guide. The recipe makes an 8” loaf, in theory that’s enough for 4 people to enjoy two slices each. I assure you that two people can polish off a loaf in an evening.

Focaccia is incredibly easy to make. It’s a moist dough that’s quick and easy to knead. Focaccia is a flat bread so it cooks quickly and evenly. You won’t need to wonder if it’s cooked all the way through. If the crust is golden and the edges of the toppings are brown, it’s done!

Try to keep your excitement at bay long enough for the focaccia to cool down to room temperature before you slice into it. Add a skiff of (vegan) butter and enjoy!

Toppings:

The toppings on this Rosemary Herb & Potato Focaccia are simple but impactful.

Strip the sprays of rosemary from the stem instead of chopping it to keep its pungent flavour from becoming overwhelming. Garlic and shallots add bite and subtle touch of heat. The flavours of the rosemary, garlic, and shallots infuse the olive oil and spreads over the surface of the focaccia. This ensures that the focaccia remains flavourful, even if you lose a few toppings while slicing.

Using The Little Potato Company’s Terrific Trio in hues of red, yellow, and blue, bejewel the surface of the focaccia adding pops of colour and a touch of rustic elegance. These delicious Little potatoes come pre-washed and ready to use out of the bag, so it’s a convenient topping to have on hand. Because of their size, they’re easy to use thinly-sliced and shine, simply flavoured with a flaked sea salt and aromatic olive oil to bring out their earthy flavour. These Little potato slices become crispy and golden with a buttery-smooth interior.

Potato Pro Tip: Through my testing, I’ve learned to slice the toppings a little thicker than instincts might suggest. The focaccia takes 25 minutes to cook at high heat. To prevent your toppings from burning they need a little heft to stand up to the heat. Slice the toppings only a little thinner than ¼ “ (or half a cm) for brown but not burnt edges.

Stand mixer vs. Kneading by hand

I’ve tested this recipe in a stand mixer equipped with a dough hook, and by hand on a floured counter top. Using either method I knead for about 10 minutes, but that time can come down to 6 minutes in a stand mixer.

The main difference between the methods is that it’s easier to keep the dough moist in a stand mixer. You’re unaffected by sticky hands, so you’ll only need to add flour when the dough is so moist that it won’t form a ball.

If you’re kneading by hand, try lightly flouring the counter top and your hands rather than the dough. Use as little additional flour as possible, just enough to keep the dough workable.

Variations:

The base of this focaccia recipe is perfect for making pizza. The kind of pizza with a crispy, golden, almost fried crust. I use a variation as the base for my Mediterranean Pesto Pizza.  It’s fantastic for both thick and thin crusts.

As with any topping-laden bread, you’re open to change the toppings to suit the ingredients you have on hand. One of our favourite combinations? Pickled jalapeño slices + cashew parmesan + garlic + sea salt.

Other tried and true toppings include: cherry tomatoes, olives, fresh thyme, caramelized onions, marinated artichoke hearts, roasted peppers, roasted garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, and vegan cheese.

Of course Creamer potatoes can be added to any of these combinations because their flavor is so versatile and they’re an easy addition with hassle-free prep.

Tips:

Proofing yeast:

Many recipes include a step to proof yeast before making bread dough. I’ve included proofing as an optional step in the recipe below, but it’s rarely required. It’s purpose is to test the yeast to make sure it’s still active. Proof your yeast if you can’t remember how long ago you opened it, or it’s past its best before date. Fresh yeast doesn’t require proofing!

Preheating your baking pan (optional):

To encourage a thicker, crispier crust and to prevent my oven from drastically dropping in temperature, I preheat my baking pan. I baked my focaccia in a 10″ cast-iron skillet. If you’re using a similarly hefty baking pan you may also decide preheat it.

Since the second rise occurs inside the pan you cook it in, it’s a touch more finicky to preheat the pan. I line my skillet with parchment paper and form the dough to the pan inside. Then I lift the parchment paper and dough out of the skillet and put it on the counter to rise.

Pop your pan into the oven to preheat. Once I’ve prepared my toppings, preheated my pan/oven, and my dough has doubled in size, I’m ready. Quickly remove the hot pan from the oven, pop the focaccia and parchment paper into the pan, garnish the top and get it back in the oven ASAP.

Cutting parchment circles to size:

The quickest and cleanest way to cut a circle of parchment paper is to fold it like a paper snowflake. Fold a roughly square piece in half, and then in half again (it should be a roughly folded square), and finally into a triangle. Measure the tip against the center of your pan and cut the excess off. I like to leave it a little extra for lifting to loaf out of the pan. Unfold to reveal your perfectly cut parchment paper round.

This post is sponsored by The Little Potato Company.

We love them for their commitment to simple, healthy whole foods like their delicious Creamer potatoes. Thanks for supporting the brands that support I Love Vegan!

Head on over to Littlepotatoes.com for hundreds of great recipes, lots of Little potato love, and their super handy store locator!

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Ingredients :

  • ¾ cup (185ml) water, warm
  • ½ tbsp (7.5ml) sugar
  • ½ tbsp (7.5ml) active dry yeast
  • ½ tsp (2.5ml) salt
  • 2 cups (240g) all purpose flour
  • Olive oil, to coat
  • 3 (65g) The Little Potato Company’s  Creamer potatoes, sliced 
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 2–3 tbsp (30-45ml) olive oil, divided
  • ½ tsp (2.5ml) flaked sea salt

Instructions :

  1. In a bowl or stand mixer, combine warm water, sugar, yeast, salt, and about ¾ of the all-purpose flour. Mix until combined and then knead in a stand mixer with a dough hook or on a lightly floured countertop. Add the remaining flour in small quantities as needed. Knead for 10 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic. Tip: While kneading, add as little flour as possible while ensuring the dough isn’t too wet to work with. The more moist the dough, the better the finished product will turn out. It’s easier to keep the dough moist if using a stand mixer.
  2. Coat dough ball with a little bit of olive oil and place in a large bowl covered with a damp kitchen towel. Leave to rise until doubled in size (about 1 hour).Tip: Speed up the rising process by placing the bowl somewhere slightly warm (e.g. on top of a running dishwasher). Ensure it’s not too warm or you risk cooking the dough while it rises.
  3. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit your pan (I used a 10” cast-iron pan). Drizzle the parchment paper with olive oil.
  4. After the dough has risen, punch it down and form it into the parchment paper-lined pan. Cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rise until doubled in size (about 40-60 minutes).
  5. While the dough rises, preheat your oven to 450°F (230°C) and prepare the toppings. Slice the Creamer potatoes, shallot, and garlic into slices just under ¼” (½ cm) thick. Strip the rosemary from the stem but do not cut it. 
  6. After the dough has risen, dimple it with your finger 8-10 times. Drizzle the surface and dimples with olive oil. Fill each dimple with a piece of rosemary and a slice of garlic. Top the dough with slices of Creamer potato, shallots, garlic, and pieces of rosemary. Drizzle a little extra olive oil over the Creamer potato slices. Sprinkle with a liberal amount of sea salt.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the focaccia is golden brown but the topping are brown but not burnt.
  8. Allow the focaccia bread to come to room temperature before slicing into it. Tip: Enjoy the focaccia within a few hours for best flavour. The rosemary will become more pungent the longer the focaccia sits.
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