Potato, Rosemary and Cracked Pepper Focaccia

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The Latin for “hearth” is focus, where a whole family of flattish breads including focaccia and fougasse were once baked, and from which they take their names. If you have a wood-fired pizza oven, this is one to try in it. Or like me, you can bake in a regular domestic oven.

FROM MIXING TO OVEN: 3½–6 hours
BAKING TIME: 15–20 minutes

Ingredients

For the Dough

  • 50g/oz/ tbsp white sourdough starter
  • 150g/oz/about 1 cup white bread flour
  • 150g/oz/1 cupplus 2 tbsp tipo 00 bread flour
  • 150g/oz /scant cup water
  • 50g/oz/ tbsp olive oil, plus a little extra for greasing and brushing

For the Topping

  • 300g/10½oz/2⅓ cups baby (new) potatoes
  • 5cm/2 in sprig of rosemary
  • 15–20 pairs of rosemary leaves
  • coarse sea salt flakes
  • freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Mix all of the dough ingredients together thoroughly. Cover and leave to rest for 10–15 minutes.
  2. Knead the dough until smooth and stretchy. Cover and leave to prove at room temperature for 1–2 hours.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the potatoes and sprig of rosemary in a pan of boiling water for 10–15 minutes until the potatoes are just soft. Drain, leave to cool and cut each potato in half, discarding the rosemary.
  4. Grease a large baking sheet (flat or with sides up to 3cm/1¼in high) lightly with olive oil.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured or oiled work surface and shape into a rectangle about 2cm/¾in thick, to fit the baking sheet. You may find it easier to do this in two stages, leaving the dough to relax for 5–10 minutes in between.
  6. Place the dough on the baking sheet and brush lightly with olive oil. Cover and leave to prove at room temperature for 2–3 hours.
  7. Heat the oven to 230°C/210°C fan/450°F/gas 8. Push the potato pieces cut-side down into the dough, jab small holes into the dough and push in the rosemary leaves, then sprinkle with salt flakes and black pepper. Bake for 15–20 minutes, or until light golden brown. Serve when just cool.

MARK WOODS
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