What the Focaccia Are You Talking About?

Or, you say tomato and I say potato.

I was flipping through Paul Hollywood’s bread book and saw his focaccia bread, both the Focaccia Pugliese with Tomatoes and Garlic and Potato Focaccia Pugliese. I never made focaccia before and felt these two might be a good beginning. Plus, I craftily asked Fran to put an extra potato in the shopping cart yesterday.

Pugliese is very similar to ciabatta with large holes in the crumb and a very chewy texture. It was interesting that some recipes called for no, or at least minimal kneading, others require typical 7-10 minutes of kneading and still others want extensive kneading, even during the rise to develop even more gluten for a chewier texture.  I chose minimal and it developed an excellent, chewy loaf with a good crunchy crust. The stand mixer really does not care how long you knead.focaccia

My strategy was to make one recipe of bread dough, divide it in half and use one for the tomato and the other for the potato.

img_0023I also made 2 dozen chocolate dipped short bread cookies, but they were not part of this post. Just a picture for proof.


  • 4 cups bread flour
  • 1 tbl salt
  • 2 tsp fast acting yeast
  • 1 1/4 cup water


  • Thin slices of tomato (I used about 1/2 tomato)
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • Sea Salt – as needed
  • Parmesan Cheese – as needed
  • Olive oil – as needed


  • Thin slices of potato (I used about 1/3 a potato, new potatoes would be better if you had them.)
  • 3-4 sprigs of rosemary from your backyard garden, which you still have to cover every
    night to protect from the frost.
  • Sea Salt – as needed
  • Olive oil – as needed


  1. Add all the bread ingredients to a stand mixer equipped with the bread hook. Mix to form a good dough. If you were going to knead the dough keep the mixer running at speed 4 for 7-8 minutes until the dough becomes smooth and elastic.
  2. Cover the mixer bowl and place in the proofing drawer of your beautiful double wall oven. It’s nice having two ovens. I used the top oven to bake the 3 baguettes I made first while proofing the focaccia, (focaccias, focaccii?) the lower.
  3. After and hour of proofing and the dough has at least doubled in size, remove from
    the oven and gently tip onto a lightly floured surface.
  4. Cut the dough in half and place each half on a parchment paper covered large baking sheet, or two smaller sheets.
  5. Gently, using your fingers form each piece of dough into a rough circle about 1/2″ thick.
  6. Punch your fingers into the dough making a rough wavy surface.
  7. Arrange the potato slices, rosemary and sea salt on one and sprinkle and rub
    with olive oil.
  8. Arrange the tomato slices on the other piece of dough and sprinkle with sea salt, garlic, olive oil and cheese.
  9. Push the tomato and potato sliced down inside the dough as much as possible so the dough will rise up around, engulfing the slices.
  10. Place the doughs back in the proofing oven for another hour, or until at least doubled.
  11. Preheat the oven to 425 F convection and bake for 20-25 min until golden brown.
  12. Best eaten warm, but damn, not bad after it has cooled either.

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