My foray into bread baking started quite inconspicuously with a rather imperfect looking focaccia but one that we still ate quite celebratorily. However, watching that dough transform from a pile of sticky mess into a beautiful olive-oil drenched bread triggered in me a similar joy and wonderment as that of a child that looks at a piece of flaccid rubber transform into an air-filled balloon. That was then and now I can’t stop baking bread. It’s my weekend project, my weekday therapy from the routine insanity, and no matter how many loaves comes out of my oven, I’ll still always be that child looking on in amazement at the beauty of the final product. This potato-and-jalapeno topped focaccia is inspired by a flatbread that I ate at Theobrama and loved! I also threw in some garlic and dried rosemary for extra punch, and smeared some home-made pesto on top. I’ve made focaccia tons of times before but this combination of the garlicky buttery potatoes, the kick of spice from the jalapeños, and the lovely crust on the bread itself gives this one an amazing rustic quality that is as much a beauty to look at, as it is to eat!
Potato Jalapeno Focaccia
- 3 cups All-purpose Flour
- 2 tsp Instant Yeast
- 2 tsp Salt
- 2 tsp Sugar
- 1 1/4 cup Water
- 3 tbsp + 1 tbsp Olive oil
- 2 Potatoes (thinly sliced)
- 5-6 Jalapeños (sliced)
- 2 tsp Dried rosemary
- 1 tbsp Garlic (minced)
- Activating the yeast – in a bowl, take lukewarm water, add to it sugar and yeast, give it a stir and leave it aside for 10 minutes. It should become frothy and bubbly. If not, start over with a new pack.
- Add the salt, all of the water, and oil to the flour. Using a wooden spoon or your hand combine everything. Remember this is a no-knead recipe. You have to only mix everything till it comes together. It will be sticky. Just keep mixing till there are no lumps. If needed, oil your fingers to prevent dough from sticking too much.
- Transfer the entire dough to a lightly oiled 9*13 or similar sized pan, and cover with oiled cling film or a moist kitchen cloth (not touching the surface of the dough). Keep in a warm place and allow to rise for an hour.
- The dough should have doubled in an hour and spread out in your pan. Oil your fingers, and make deep dimples all over the surface of the dough. If the dough deflates a bit during this process, that’s alright.
- Spread/arrange the garlic, jalapeños and potatoes evenly over the dough. Cover with a cloth and set aside for another 15 minutes while the oven pre-heats to 190 degree C.
- Just before popping into the oven, give the focaccia a milk wash, ensuring to brush over the potatoes. Sprinkle with rosemary or any herbs of your choice.
- Just before popping into the oven, give the focaccia a milk wash. Make sure to cover your potatoes specially.
- Pop into the oven for 35-40 minutes. Half-way through the baking, take out the pan, brush with butter and continue to bake till the sides and top of the focaccia start to brown.
- Once done, take out of the oven, and let it cool completely before slicing.
- I find using dried herbs easier for baking because they won’t change color or wilt. It’s better to throw in a handful of fresh herbs on top after-baking.
- I slathered the potatoes once with a milk wash and once with butter during baking to allow them to crisp up and acquire a nice color and flavor.