This Potato and Rosemary Focaccia bread recipe is extremely light, airy and ever so fluffy. It rises beautifully and holds up well to the topping of thinly sliced layered potatoes. Both the dough and sliced red potatoes are brushed with an aromatic garlic and rosemary oil just before it hits the oven.
If putting mashed potatoes in your bread dough seems somewhat odd to you, then you might just be missing out on the most soft focaccia dough ever.
For those unfamiliar with focaccia, (pronounced foe-kah-cha), it’s an Italian flatbread baked in a sheet pan and sometimes referred to as pizza bianca.
It is similar in style to pizza. But unlike pizza which is baked right after the first rise, focaccia goes through a second rise after the dough is punched down and stretched out.
Generally all it needs after dimpling the dough, is a generous drizzle of some good quality olive oil, coarse salt and rosemary.
However, today we’re adding some paper thin slices of potatoes and a brushing of rosemary garlic oil. Both over the dimpled dough and sliced potatoes.
The thin baked potatoes covering the dough will take on a pretty crinkled appearance.
Let’s get started with this easy to make Italian Potato and Rosemary Focaccia Bread recipe!
How To Make Potatoes and Rosemary Focaccia Bread
You’ll first need to make some mashed potatoes and then simply set it aside while you activate your yeast.
Step One: In a large bowl combine together the sugar with the warm water (temperature should be between 100-110 F or 40 C).
Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Sprinkle in the yeast and let this stand until frothy for about 10 minutes.
Step Two: Once frothy, stir in 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.
Step Three: Stir the mashed potatoes into the yeast mixture. Use a rubber spatula or wooden spoon to break up large clumps of mashed potatoes.
Step Four: Stir in just enough of the flour until you have a slightly sticky dough. Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and dust your hands with flour. Knead the dough for about 8 minutes while adding in as much of the remaining flour as necessary to achieve a smooth and elastic dough.
Step Five: Transfer the dough to a greased bowl while turning to grease all over. Cover with cling wrap. Let the dough rise in a draft free area for about 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Step Six: Punch down the dough and stretch it out with greased hands onto your prepared baking sheet. Cover with cling wrap and let the dough rise for another hour.
Step Seven: Gently poke the dough with lightly greased fingertips. Brush half of the oil mixture over the top of the dough.
Step Eight: Place the sliced potatoes over the focaccia dough, in an overlapping pattern. Brush the top of the potatoes with the remaining rosemary oil.
Step Nine: Bake the potato focaccia in a preheated oven at 375 degrees F. for approximately 40 minutes. Once ready, the focaccia will have golden brown crusty edges.
What is Focaccia Served With?
This focaccia topped with potatoes is simply glorious all on its own and feeds a hungry crowd.
You can serve it for brunch and even a light lunch with a side salad. It’s also equally wonderful served alongside a steaming bowl of soup.
Try nestling two slices together with mortadella and you’ll have one delicious, satisfying sandwich.
You can also add your favourite leafy greens in between the slices. Arugula, with its peppery tangy flavour is one of my absolute favourite.
If you love a kick of intense tomato flavour, try adding a couple of dry tomato slices in your focaccia sandwich. It’s delish!
Variations On Traditional Focaccia Bread
There are many variations on the ever popular Italian flat bread with a wide range of choice for toppings. And it needn’t even be baked in a sheet pan.
You can also bake this Italian-style bread in cast iron skillets as seen in my Chickpea Red Onion Focaccia which is also a potato based dough. This iron skillet flat bread is topped with caramelized onions, some crunchy chickpeas and sweet golden raisins.
Aside from the savoury varieties, you’ll also find focaccia dolce or rather Schiacciata con l’uva. A sweet bread traditionally made during the grape harvest in Tuscany.
The base of this flatbread is topped with grapes, sprinkled with sugar, rosemary and a drizzle of olive oil. And then repeated with a second layer. It’s a pure delicacy!
Storing Leftover Potato Focaccia Bread
Focaccia is at it’s best the same day straight from the oven with its both soft and crispy bite. Any leftovers can be wrapped and placed in a ziplock bag or aluminium foil and stored either in the fridge or freezer.
You can revive its freshness by reheating the slices in the oven or even a toaster oven. Or simply turn them into breadcrumbs the following day. But you’ll first have to remove the potato toppings before crumbling the flatbread.
If you make this Potato and Rosemary Focaccia Bread recipe, remember to tag @marisasitaliankitchen on Instagram so I can see your creation!
Potato and Rosemary Focaccia Bread
Ingredients For The Mashed Potatoes
- 2 ½ cups diced potatoes
- 1 teaspoon salt I used fine sea salt
Ingredients For The Focaccia Dough
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 cup warm water
- 8 grams active dry yeast
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 ½ to 4 cups all purpose flour approximately
- 3 tablespoons cornmeal approximately to cover the sheet pan
Ingredients For The Toppings
- 1/3 cup extra virgin oil oil
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary or 2 teaspoons dried
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 teaspoon salt I used fine sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 12 ounces thinly sliced red potatoes approximately 2 large potatoes
- Place the diced potatoes in a stock pot and cover with water.
- Bring to a boil then lower the heat and cook the potatoes till fork tender.
- Drain the potatoes and transfer back into the pot.
- Add in 1 teaspoon of salt and mash the potatoes well.
- Set aside to cool while you continue with the recipe.
How To Make Potato Focaccia Dough
- Place the granulated sugar and the warm water in a large bowl.
- Stir to dissolve the sugar, completely.
- Sprinkle the yeast over the water and let this stand for approximately 10 minutes, or until frothy.
- Once the yeast turns frothy, stir in 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.
- Stir the reserved mashed potato mixture into the yeast mixture while breaking up the large clumps of mashed potatoes with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula.
- Stir in 3 cups of the flour, until you have a slightly sticky dough.
- Transfer the dough to a floured surface.
- Dust your hands with flour and start kneading the dough while adding in as much of the remaining flour as necessary in order to prevent sticking or until smooth and elastic.
- This should take about 8 to 10 minutes.
The First Rise
- Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, turning to grease all over.
- Cover the bowl with cling wrap and let the dough rise in a draft free area, until it has doubled in size, for about 1 hour.
The Second Rise
- Grease a 15x10 inch rimmed baking sheet with olive oil and sprinkle evenly with the cornmeal.
- Punch down the dough and with greased fingers spread the dough out evenly onto the prepared baking sheet. (greasing your fingers will help to spread out the dough with minimum fuss)
- Cover the dough with cling wrap and let the dough rise for an additional 60 minutes or until it has risen slightly higher than the edge of your pan.
For The Potato Rosemary Topping
- In a small bowl whisk together the oil, rosemary, garlic, salt and pepper.
- With greased fingers, gently poke the dough while making indentations all over the dough.
- With a pastry brush, gently brush half of the rosemary olive oil mixture over the dough.
- Place the sliced potatoes over the dough in a slightly over lapping pattern.
- Brush the tops of the potatoes with the remaining rosemary oil.
Baking The Potato Rosemary Focaccia
- Preheat the oven at 375 degrees F.
- Bake the potato focaccia in the bottom third rack of your oven for about 40 minutes. This will ensure a crispy and crunchy underside.
- When ready the bottom crust and edges will have a golden brown colour and the potato toppings will be nice and tender.
- You might also have some crispy edged potatoes depending on how thinly you sliced the potatoes.
- While the focaccia is still warm, run a knife around the edges to loosen the flat bread.
- Then transfer the focaccia onto a rack to cool slightly. Just a few minutes.
- At this point you can either cut the focaccia into squares using kitchen scissors or transfer onto a cutting board and slice with a long serrated knife.
- Enjoy while still warm from the oven!