Starch on starch on starch: Potato Thyme and Cheddar Focaccia

Potato Thyme and Cheddar Focaccia

Potato Thyme and Cheddar Focaccia

We Bergs are firmly a starch family.  

No dinner is complete without potatoes, rice, noodles, or some sort of doughy delicious bread.  I mean, sure, it's February and I'm trying really hard to dig into healthy veg filled plates to counteract the winter slumps but, come ON!

Starch is the best!

It's on days like this, days that I am sliding down the slippery slope of fading New Year's resolutions, that I like to overindulge in the stuff and really double down so I give you Potato Thyme and Cheddar Focaccia.

I mean, Potatoes + Bread = Unbridled Joy in my books and the multipliers of cheese and thyme are kind of a no brainer.

Potato Thyme and Cheddar Focaccia

Makes 1 - 9x13" loaf

¾ cup + 2 tbsp warm water
1 slightly rounded teaspoon quick rise yeast
1 ½ teaspoon sugar
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for dusting
1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 cup finely grated white cheddar cheese
1 small Yukon Gold potato, very thinly sliced
1 tablespoon picked fresh thyme
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt, for top of loaf

In a glass measuring cup, combine the water, yeast, and sugar and set aside in a warm place for approximately 15 minutes to activate the yeast.  

In a large bowl, stir together the flour and kosher salt and make a well in the middle.  Once the yeast mixture is nice and foamy, pour it into the well along with a ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil and begin mixing the dough with a wooden spoon to combine.

Once combined, dump the shaggy dough mixture onto a well floured work surface and begin kneading for approximately 6 – 8 minutes.

Shape the dough into a tight skinned ball and place into a well oiled bowl.  Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and allow to rise in a warm place for 1 hour.

While rising, coat a 9x13 baking pan in remaining 3 tablespoons of the remaining of extra virgin olive oil and set out your grated cheese.  In a small bowl, toss together the thinly sliced potato and thyme with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and set aside.

Once risen, press the dough into the pan, making sure to poke your fingers all the way through to the bottom of the pan while you stretch the dough.  Cover the formed focaccia with your clean kitchen towel and allow to rise in a warm place for another 45 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 425F and scatter the cheese evenly over the dough.  Arrange the potatoes overtop and sprinkle with pepper and coarse sea salt.  Bake the focaccia in your preheated oven for 18–25 minutes or until golden and the potatoes are soft and beginning to brown.

Remove the focaccia from the oven and let cool slightly before digging in.