February 04, 2012

Paul Hollywood's Potato Focaccia Pugliese

Again it's thanks to the Great British Bakeoff that I owe my over indulgence in baking this year. Each episode had a blind challenge and as I had the winning advantage of watching it, reading it and seeing the professional's tips and tricks and the "how not to's" it made my life easier by trying to get it right the first time.

Focaccia bread.... I tried an amazingly simple recipe a couple of year's ago and do you think I could find it again? Of course not. But I had to buy Paul Hollywood's 100 Great Breads book and I came across this interesting recipe - Focaccia topped with thinly sliced potatoes (Puglia is a region in Italy's South Eastern Coast). There are 3 different Focaccia Pugliese recipe's in Paul's book (Tomato & Garlic, Mozzarella, and Potato)  You could use any focaccia recipe and just before the final rising stage add thinly sliced baby potatoes to the top and voila.  Here is Paul's Potato recipe to devour in no time at all!
*One thing I learnt from watching the show above, you need to follow measurements exactly and then they work - I was worried about the salt amounts in this but..... you really need it or else it wouldn't be there!

Paul Hollywood's Focaccia Bread (makes one large bread)
500g strong white bread flour
1 tbsp salt (table salt not sea salt here - don't skimp on the salt even if you don't like salt)
20g fresh yeast (or 2 x packs (14g total) dry active yeast)
300ml water (yes it is a sticky dough - use it ALL)
olive oil
6-8 new potatoes thinly sliced (best use a mandolin or slicer of sort if you have one - or just a good steady hand and sharp knife will also do)
rock salt for the top
2-3 fresh rosemary sprigs

In a bowl add the flour and yeast (put the yeast on one side then add the salt to the other) Salt kills yeast so you don't want them put together at this point).  Then add the water and mix all together (it's ok now to mix the yeast with the salt!)

Mix together to form a dough - it will be quite sticky - do NOT be tempted to add more flour to it as it will turn it into a loaf of bread and loose the air holes you get from this combination of ingredients. 

Leave in the bowl to double in size (about 1 hour - however if after an hour it doesn't look like it has rising, leave for a bit longer - it all depends on the humidity, any cold draughts etc going on in your kitchen).

While you wait you can slice your potatoes. 
(I had to put this pix up only to show off my funky little gadget). 

Line a flat baking tray with baking paper.  Once the dough has doubled, tip it onto the tray and flatten. Then brush with olive oil all over (it makes it so lovely and golden as well as tasty) and using your fingers make indentations all over the bread - press down right to the bottom (don't cut through though if you have long nails!)  

Now place the sliced potatoes over the top, sprinkle with sea salt and stud with rosemary

 and leave to rise as is for another hour.

Pre heat oven to 230deg C and bake bread for 30minutes. Remove from the oven and brush with more olive oil. Transfer to a wire rack and serve when cooled (if you can wait that is!) 
You can freeze it too.


  1. yum yum! Can't wait to try this...I wonder how the humidity in Roatan will impact the final product

  2. just made the tomato version this week..... your blog post is better than mine though! nice one!