Sweet Potato Focaccia

best sweet potato focaccia recipe bread baking Jean Anderson

This recipe appeared in a January 2016 article by Chapel Hill cookbook author Jean Anderson: “Forget the Marshmallows! Not so sweet sweet potato recipes.”  She wrote: If you have a powerful 9- to 14-cup foodprocessor, you can turn it into a bread machine and make this Italian classic zip-quick. Note: For 3/4 cup mashed sweet potato, you’ll need about one 12-ounce potato baked until fork-tender (about 1 hour at 400 degrees). To kick-start the yeast, the potato should be very warm (105 to 115 degrees). Ditto the water.

3/4 cup firmly packed very warm baked sweet potato (see Note above)

1/3 cup very warm water

1/3 cup unsifted semolina (durum or “pasta” flour)

1 tablespoon active dry yeast

1 tablespoon raw sugar

2 1/2 to 3 cups unsifted all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

Topping:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil mixed with 2 teaspoons coarsely chopped fresh rosemary

Process the sweet potato and water about 30 seconds in a food processor until smooth. Add semolina, yeast, and sugar and pulse 4 to 5 times. Scrape the work bowl, pulse once or twice, cover, and let stand 15 minutes.

With machine running, add 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (easier if you insert a paper cone in the feed tube). Scrape the work bowl, then taking care to dodge the blade, redistri-bute the dough so it’s the same height all around.

With motor running, add another 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, then olive oil and salt. Process 10 seconds to form a soft, workable dough, adding a bit more flour, if necessary.

Once again, redistribute the dough and process 20 seconds. Let the dough rest 5 minutes, then process 20 seconds more. Leaving the blade in place, carefully redistri-bute the dough and mark the level on the outside of the work bowl.

Cover the work bowl and let the dough rise about 30 minutes or until doubled in bulk. Meanwhile, spritz a 15 x 10 x 1-inch jelly roll pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

Carefully remove chopping blade and scrape risen dough onto a lightly floured surface. Quickly gather dough into a ball, then greasing your fingers lightly with the olive oil topping, pat the dough over the bottom of the pan, pulling and stretching to the corners until the pan is covered with a thin, even layer.

Cover with wax paper and let dough rise about 40 minutes or until doubled in bulk; 20 minutes before the dough has risen fully, preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Again greasing your fingers with the topping, dimple the dough every 1 1/2 to 2 inches, then drizzle remaining topping evenly over all, letting it puddle in the dimples.

Bake the focaccia in the upper third of the oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until hollow-sounding when thumped. Cool focaccia in the pan on a wire rack 15 minutes – or if you prefer, cool to room temperature.

To serve, cut the focaccia into large squares or rectangles, then give each person a little ramekin of fruity olive oil in which to dip them.

Yield: 8 servings.

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best sweet potato focaccia recipe bread baking Jean Anderson