Cherry Tomato Focaccia (w mashed potato in the dough)

Cherry tomato focaccia

I usually go for a more traditional focaccia recipe that gives a crispy-chewy texture, but I thought I’d try this mashed potato dough to change it up. A dear friend gifted me a gorgeous bunch of multi-colored heirloom cherry tomatoes, which made for a sweet, jammy topping. I have to say, I am kind of in love with the airy, cakey, crispy crusted texture that this recipe brought. I imagine it as the perfect base for a deep-dish style pizza as well.

1 (1/2-pound) potato, peeled and quartered, boil till soft (about 15 minutes), drain, mash till smooth
1 cup warm water (105-115°F)
1 teaspoon honey
3 teaspoons active dry yeast (from two 1/4-ounce packages)
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
4 cups flour, divided
1 tablespoon plus 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 pound cherry tomatoes, sliced in half (I marinated mine in a little salt and some crumbled feta)
handful of sliced oregano and basil (or whatever herbs you like)

Stir together warm water and honey in bowl of mixer. Sprinkle yeast over mixture and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. This is to make sure your yeast is still “working” and alive. If it doesn’t foam, then it’s not working and you need new yeast.

Add potato and 1/4 cup oil to yeast and beat with paddle attachment at medium speed until combined, about 2 minutes. Remove paddle attachment and attach dough hook, then beat in 4 cups flour (1 cup at a time) and 1 tablespoon salt at medium-high speed until combined well, about 3 minutes. Dough will be very soft and sticky. You may not need all 4 cups depending on the moisture level of your potato. Keep kneading with the dough hook for another couple minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. It will still be pretty soft and sticky, but that’s ok. Coat with olive oil and cover with plastic wrap. Leave to rise in a warm spot for a couple hours until doubled in size.

Turn out onto a well oiled, rimmed baking sheet and press to fill the pan (doesn’t have to be perfect. Cover and let rise again for about an hour or so. Top with tomatoes, herbs, a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt (I used crunchy smoked Maldon flakes which give great texture and flavor).

Bake at 425 F for about 20-25 minutes until golden brown on the bottom. Loosen from pan with a metal spatula and then slide onto a cooling rack. Let cool about 10 minutes before slicing. This is best while still warm from the oven, but it was an amazing day old snack at room temp as well. The texture is so satisfying.

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