I have a new favorite bread. It’s flat, herby, and crusty, with a name I feel really awkward saying out loud.
Focaccia. Foe-CAH-chee-ya. Fuh-cah-CHEE-ya. Foe-cah-chee-YA. Weird. I don’t even know what I’m saying anymore. But I do know that this bread is just super gosh darn dang delicious, and you should make it to serve at your Thanksgiving dinner instead of (or perhaps along with) those boring fluffy rolls.
Just trust me on this one. I know I ask you to trust me a lot, but this time I really, really, really mean it.
Sage Focaccia (from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook)
- 1 russet potato (I used four tiny ones for 8 oz), peeled and cut into large chunks
- 3 1/2 C all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 t yeast
- 1 1/4 t salt
- 1 C warm water
- 1/4 C olive oil
- 1 T chopped sage, plus 24 whole leaves
- 3/4 t coarse sea salt
Start off by boiling the potatoes in water for about 10-15 minutes until tender. Once they’re cool enough to handle, grate them over the large holes in a box greater–you need 1 1/3 C of lightly packed potato. Set aside.
Combine the flour (start with only 3 1/4 C), yeast, salt (not the sea salt), and the sage (I forgot the sage in the bread and only put some on top–still amazing).
Add the grated potato, water, and 2 T of the olive oil and mix on low speed until the dough forms a ball. Increase the speed to medium and knead the dough for about ten minutes, until it is smooth and elastic. Some of my potato never quite got mixed in properly–I think one of my potatoes was slightly undercooked. Didn’t matter at all! Add the remaining flour if necessary. The dough should stick to the bottom of the bowl but not the sides while mixing.
Wrap the bowl in plastic wrap and let the dough rise until doubled in size, about one hour.
Once it’s risen, press and spread the dough out on a well-oiled baking sheet. If the dough is resistant, let it rest for a few minutes and try again. I let my dough rise for over an hour (doing other stuff), so it spread like butter on the cookie sheet. Wrap with plastic wrap again and allow to rise until it has nearly doubled–45 minutes to an hour.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and set the rack in the lower-middle position. Press the dough down in random places with your fingertips to dimple it, then drizzle with the remaining olive oil and sprinkle with the sea salt. Lastly, press the whole sage leaves into the dimples.
Bake until the bottom is golden and crisp (the top should be nicely golden, too), about 20-25 minutes. Remove, cool, then slice into squares.
Also–stuff into your face immediately because it smells so gosh darn good!
I know that making any yeasted bread takes up a pretty big chunk of the day, but I was able to get through a pretty large portion of my to-do list during the rising and baking times.
And friends, it is so, so, so worth it in the end.
I’m serving this bread tonight with a roasted chicken alongside roughly four million root vegetables that I’ve been collecting from my CSA box lately (potatoes, radishes, carrots, turnips, what have you), and the chicken is smelling pretty good too!
Henry spent his day doing…you know. The usual.
I made another fancy treat today that I’ll probably blog tomorrow–it’s my favorite go-to holiday present for friends and family and anyone else who may happen to cross my path. Yum!