Potato focaccia bread with caramelized onions is a perfect appetizer item. Invite some friends over and enjoy.
I’ve never made a focaccia bread before…can’t say that now. Even MaryJo, (MJBakesaLot), the consummate baker can’t recall ever making one. It’s for sure going to be a go-to recipe for social gatherings. The recipe makes enough dough to fit a 12″ by 17″ baking sheet. Plenty of potato focaccia for everyone.
Making Potato Focaccia
Making the focaccia starts with the dough recipe. This is a yeast bread that’s kind of like making pizza dough, except that it rises. You end up with a pillowy bread that’s an inch or so thick. And what contributes to this great texture is the addition of some mashed potatoes. The potato makes the facaccia tender and it will stay fresh longer.
After you have the dough rising, you’ll make the toppings. Being kind of like a bread pizza, the toppings can be whatever you choose. Traditionally, focaccia is topped with olives and chopped rosemary. That would be yummy.
I chose caramelized onions, fresh chopped thyme, and grated Pecorino romano cheese. This resulted in a delicious bread paired with olives, pickled cherry peppers, and a glass of wine.
Some other topping ideas include:
- Browned fennel or leeks, (Roasted Fennel Recipe)
- Sliced olives
- A melty cheese like fontina or provolone
- A sprinkling of white truffle oil
- Bacon bits
- Cheddar cheese
- Slivered garlic
- Red onion
- Thin sliced salami
- Fresh herbs
- Maldon sea salt
- Sun dried tomatoes
- Sauteed mushrooms
You could even split this recipe up into 4 separate breads and switch up the toppings for variety. How cool would that be? Let everyone in the family choose their own. You can decide if little Timmy gets sliced hot dogs and dill pickles!
Just like any yeast bread, this takes some time to put together, but a lot of that time is spent waiting for the dough to rise. The results are amazingly good and definitely worth the effort.
Potato Focaccia with Caramelized Onions
- 2 lg russet baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1" pieces to yield 1 1/3 cups mashed
- 5 lg yellow onions, sliced
- 2 tbsp olive oil, for caramelizing the onions
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme leaves.
- 2 tsp active dry yeast
- 3 1/2 cups bread flour, divided
- 1 cup warm water
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp finishing sea salt like Maldon if desired
- Boil potatoes in a saucepan, 15 to 20 minutes until fork tender. Drain and mash with a potato masher, hand mixer or ricer until finely mashed and smooth. Set aside to cool.
- Meanwhile, place the sliced onions, thyme, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a large, high sided skillet and cook on low heat turning often to prevent burning to caramelize to a medium brown color, 30 to 40 minutes. If the onions start to burn, lower the heat. Allow the onions to cool.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the yeast, warm water and 1/2 cup of flour and cover for 25 minutes to proof.
- Next, add the remaining 3 cups of flour, 1 1/3 cups mashed potatoes, 3 tablespoons of EVOO, and 2 teaspoons of salt to the bowl. Use the paddle attachment to mix this together, 1 or 2 minutes, then switch to a dough hook on medium low speed, #2 KitchenAid, to form a sticky dough ball, 5 minutes.
- Place the dough into a large, greased bowl, (small amount of olive oil). The dough is quite sticky so a plastic scraper works well to help remove the dough from the mixing bowl. Cover loosely with a towel , place in a warm spot and let rise to double the size, 45 to 60 minutes.
- Grease a 12" by 17" baking sheet, (olive oil again), place the dough on the sheet and press the dough to cover the sheet. This is a little like pizza dough and will spring back some. Use your fingertips to coax in into place. Cover loosely and let rise 35 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 425°.
- Next, lightly oil the top of the dough with olive oil, then use your fingertips to make lots of indentations in the dough. Top the dough with the cheese followed by the onions. I then lightly sprinkled with sea salt.
- Place in the oven 20 to 24 minutes, turning the pan once at 10 minutes to ensure even browning. Bake until nicely browned. Remove from the oven and place the sheet pan on a cooling rack. After 5 minutes or so, use a couple of large spatulas to remove the focaccia from the pan and then let it cool on the rack. (Removing the bread from the pan right away will prevent the bottom crust from getting moist or soggy).Slice and serve warm.