Pecorino Cheese, Sopressa, Basil and Olive Focaccia

Ingredients

200 gms Pecorino cheese

10 thin slices sopressa

1/2 bunch basil

100 gms green olives

1 focaccia loaf

1 cup rocket leaves

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

 

Pane di Patate

1 ½ pounds (675 grams) baking potatoes

5 teaspoons (2 packages) active dry yeast or 2 small cakes (36 grams) fresh yeast

3 tablespoons warm water

1 ½ to 2 tablespoons olive oil

3 ¾ cups (500 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour

1 ½ teaspoons (8 grams) salt

Method

Pane di Patate

Boil the potatoes in water to cover until tender; drain. Peel and press the potatoes through a ricer or mash until very smooth and free of lumps. Use while still warm.

Mixer

Stir the yeast into the warm water; let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes. Place the potatoes, dissolved yeast, oil, flour, and salt in a mixer bowl. Beat with the paddle at low speed for 2 to 3 minutes. The dough will initially be very fine, and then it will start to clump together. Add up to 1 tablespoon of water if necessary for the dough to come together. If you make a small ball of the dough between your fingers, it should feel slightly sticky. This is a hard dough that never gets very smooth. Knead by hand on a lightly floured surface for 3 to 4 minutes.

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled, 1 to 2 hours.

Cut the dough in half on a lightly floured surface and shape each half into a round loaf, using very light tension in the shaping. Flaten slightly with the palm of your hand to encourage it to spread just a bit. Place the loaves, seam side down, on heavily floured peels or rimless baking paper. Flour the tops lightly and cover with dampened kitchen towels. Let rise until doubled, 45 minutes. When fully risen, the dough will seem somewhat soft.

Thirty minutes before baking, heat the oven with baking stones in it to 450 F (232 C) and sprinkle the stones with cornmeal. Very carefully invert the loaves onto the stones. Bakes for 35 to 40 minutes, spraying 3 times with water in the firt 10 minutes. Cool completely on racks.

Makes 2 round loaves