Saturday, April 14, 2012

Potato & Cheddar Focaccia

Focaccia has been on my mind lately, even before I bought my new book, bake! by Nick Malgieri. And ever since I've seen this focaccia with potatoes and gruyere cheese from this book, it has been bugging me everyday! Yup, everyday! So instead of staring at the photo and kept reading the recipe from the book almost everyday, I went right ahead to make this  over the weekend.  

Soft and very tasty!

Just like most focaccia, no kneading is required. This is fairly easy. The yeast and water are mixed together, add in the olive oil, flour (I use bread flour) and salt. I used my stand mixer, with the paddle attachment, to beat the dough for 15 seconds. The recipe says to beat vigorously for 15 seconds by using a spatula, I don't think I can do that, as the dough is soft but really thick, and to beat vigorously gonna take much effort, even if it is only 15 seconds! Hehe! So, that's where my stand mixer comes in handy. Cover the bowl and leave to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

I use the pan size of 30cmx30cm, it is a little bit smaller that what is required, it's OK, the focaccia will be a little bit higher that's all. Coat the pan with olive oil, I only used 45ml (3 tablespoon) instead of the original 60ml (4 tablespoons) as the pan size is smaller and the oil seems quite a lot to me! Very carefully scrape the very soft dough into the pan, taking care not to overlap the dough. 

Gently reach under the dough with both hands and flip dough over, so that the surface that is coated with oil is now the top. Using the palms of your hands, slowly stretch dough to cover the pan completely. There was some resistance, so I left the dough to rest for 10 minutes, before I continue on with the stretching. Dough will be oily so it would not stick to your fingers. I did thought that it was a little oily and was kinda worried how it would turn out. But not to worry, once it is baked, it would not be greasy at all, and the oil actually makes the release of the focaccia from the pan a breeze!

Once it has been stretched to cover the pan completely, cover with cling film and leave to rise for about 30 minutes until puffy. Using your index finger, make indentations or dimples on the surface.

While the dough is rising, prepare the potatoes as per instructions below. I sliced the potatoes manually using a sharp knife. According to the recipe, slice the potatoes as thinly as possible, but I sliced them just a wee bit thicker than that. Arrange potatoes slices over dough, sprinkle some salt and pepper all over.

I use Cheddar Cheese as I do not have Gruyere Cheese. Sprinkle some grated Cheddar Cheese (or Gruyere) all over, drizzled with 1 tablespoons (original recipe uses 2 tablespoons) all over and bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, mine was done at about 35 minutes, as my pan is smaller resulting in a higher focaccia.

According to the recipe, check the bottom of focaccia at halfway baking time to see whether is the bottom browning too fast, if it is, slot a baking pan under the focaccia pan to insulate it. I checked mine, and the colour was still very light, so I just let it be.

Once the focaccia has completed baking, loosen the sides of focaccia with a spatula, invert it onto a wire rack, remove the pan (really easy!) and re-invert it back again to another wire rack to cool. 

I was waiting impatiently to bite into one, I let it cool for about 20 minutes, then slice, and quickly devour one slice! These are so good! The best focaccia I've eaten! The topping of potatoes,  cheddar cheese and the black pepper are just so delicious, along with the fluffy bread, is fantastic!

At first, I did thought of making half the recipe, but am really glad I did not!

This makes quite a lot, so the next morning, I wrapped it in aluminium foil, pop it in the oven for 10 minutes and it tastes just as soft and delicious! I've found my new favourite focaccia!

I'm linking this to :
BYOB, Bake Your Own Bread hosted by Girlichef
Cookbook Sunday hosted by Couscous & Consciousness
Full Plate Thursday hosted by Miz Helen's Country Cottage
Bake with Bizzy hosted by Bizzy Bakes

Focaccia Dough
(adapted from baked! by Nick Malgieri)
(Makes about 1kg, enough for 1 large thick-crusted focaccia or 2 smaller ones)
585gm unbleached plain flour or bread flour (I use bread flour)
2 teaspoons salt
7gm sachet fast action dried yeast
420ml warm tap water, about 43C
60ml olive oil

  1. Stir the flour and salt together and set aside
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the yeast into the water. Wait 2 minutes and whisk again to make sure the yeast is completely dissolved. Whisk in the oil.
  3. Use a large rubber spatula to smoothly stir half the flour mixture into the liquid. Stir in the remaining flour mixture, using the spatula to dig up any unmoistened flour from the bottom of the bowl.
  4. After all the flour is moistened, scrape any dry bits from the side of the bowl and incorporate them into the dough. Use the spatula to beat the dough vigorously for about 15 seconds. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and let the dough rise until it has doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Potato & Gruyere Focaccia
(Makes one 30x 46cm focaccia, 12 aproximately 10cm squares)
1 batch Focaccia Dough (above), completely risen
2 medium waxy potatoes, about 340gm
salt and freshly ground black pepper
55gm coarsely grated Swiss Gruyere cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil (I use 1 tbsp)
One 28x43cm or 30x46cm swiss roll tin, greased with 60ml olive oil (I use 45ml olive oil)
  1. Scrape the dough into the tin, being careful not to fold the dough over on itself. Reach under it and flip it over - now the top is coated with oil. Use the palms of your hands to press the dough into the tin. If it resists, cover, and let rest for 10 minutes, then press again to cover the entire base of the tin. Cover with clingfilm and let rise until puffy, about 30 minutes.
  2. Set a rack in the lowest level of the oven and preheat to 230C/gas mark 8.
  3. Peel the potatoes and cut them as thinly as you can; I use the little slicing blade on the side of a box grater. Slide into a saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil over a medium heat. Drain, rinse and set aside in a colander.
  4. Once the focaccia is risen, use your index finger to dimple the top all over at 2.5cm intervals. Cover with the potato slices, slightly overlapping them. Season with a little salt and pepper and evenly scatter on the cheese. Drizzle with the olive oil.
  5. Place the focaccia in the oven and reduce the temperature to 220C/gas mark 7. Bake until the dough is firm and the topping is golden, about 30 minutes. About halfway through the baking time, use a wide palette knife to lift the corner of the focaccia to check that the base is starting to colour. If it is colouring too quickly, slide another tin under the tin the focaccia is in to insulate it.
  6. Slide the baked focaccia to a rack to cool so that the base doesn't become damp.


  1. Ha! I like the way you think. I don't have a mixer so I tend to steer clear from recipes that require any kind of extended beating or mixing. 15 seconds is a lifetime when that mix is thick!

    Delicious bread, darling!

  2. Oh my gosh...I LOVE the sound and look of this focaccia. I'm so intrigued by the potatoes...and I adore gruyere! It looks like bread + scalloped potatoes - ha! Delicious. Now I will have this on my mind until I make it, I'm sure. Thanks so much for sharing it :D

  3. Madre que rica con las patatas!!me quedo la receta MUCHAS GRACIAS BESOS

  4. This looks so yummy and interesting .. gotta try it :)

  5. Love focaccia and this look amazing!!:)

  6. I can relate how you feel on reading the recipe daily and couldn't swing into action to bake one :) love your focaccia and i bet it taste good too.

  7. Oh, yummy! Thanks for the recommendation...I have to break open my copy of Bake!

  8. What a fun play on focaccia! Great idea!

  9. Me encanta te ha quedado una delicia con el queso cheddar es riquísimo,abrazos hugs,hugs.

  10. This looks wonderful, Joyce. It's kind of counter-intuitive,isn't it - you expect that bread and potato would not work so well together. But I made a potato and rosemary pizza the other day which was wonderful, so I just know that this bread is going to be great.

    Thanks for sharing this at Cookbook Sundays.


  11. So Lovely.Looks delicious

  12. Drooling over the pictures, potato and cheese, yummy combo, I love the way you have arranged the potato slices, very pretty..

  13. I certainly can vouch's very very soft and the potato tops are delicious.

  14. this looks yum yum yum... the topping looks delicious

  15. I can totally understand what you were going through while reading and re-reading the recipe coz now m in same boat. I SO want to bite into this. Gorgeous focaccia and another great post from you.
    Amd lastly, thanx for introducing me to the IHCC :D.

    1. Hi simple baking,
      Thank you and it is a pleasure to have you cooking along together with IHCC! Cooking Mexican cuisine is a challenge indeed!
      Have a lovely weekend!

  16. I like the topping,looks great and the texture, so soft!

  17. This must taste heavenly; looks so tasty good.

  18. Por aquí se considera pan.
    Con la patata muy bueno.
    Un saludito

  19. hi joyce, i like that they are so even and straight after baking! well done!

  20. I baked focaccia before but can't get it so even like yours! I must try baking it again, yours looks so good!

  21. I have focaccia just once in the past and loved it. I like the use potatoes and cheese. Nice clicks.


  22. Omg, mindblowing..simply love this delicious and fantastic focaccia..

  23. delicious inviting focaccia.....nice cliks.

  24. I love focaccia and this one looks wonderful!
    Hope you are having a great weekend :)

  25. I love the way you made the dough so flat and it fills up the pan so nicely.

  26. Yum, I love it!


  27. Oh Joyce, the focaccia looks so lovely, soft and delicious! I'm still procrastinating bread-making... haha. Hope I can try them out one day!

    1. Oh and I've nominated you for an award on my blog! Hope you'll like it!

  28. This is an outstanding Focaccia, the presentation is beautiful and the recipe looks like it would be full of flavor that we would really enjoy! Hope you are having a great week end and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  29. What a delicious-looking focaccia! I'm book-marking this!

  30. Looks perfect & so tempting! I wanna have one now! YUM! :)

  31. Oh my word Joyce! This looks heavenly. Pinning and sharing (via Facebook). I can't wait to make this!!!

  32. What a gorgeous and delicious looking focaccia. I can't wait to try this bread! Thanks for introducing me to Nick Malgieri...looking into that bake! book on Amazon right now...