I almost didn’t share this because I already have a focaccia recipe posted. I think this one is better, even tough it takes a bit more work. (The extra work is simply boiling and pureeing a potato, and using that warm starchy water to make your dough.) Don’t be afraid to try making your own bread–it is very simple and so satisfying when you see your dough actually rising!
This recipe is from My Bread by Jim Lahey
I sprinkled the bread with chopped rosemary, but you could also do sliced tomatoes, olives, etc.
1 potato, cut into chunks
2½ cups water
4½ cups bread flour
2½ tsp active dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
1½ tsp salt
olive oil (for oiling the baking sheet)
fresh rosemary, optional topping
Bring the water and potato chunks to a boil and cook until the potato is tender. Remove the pan from heat and puree the potato chunks with the water (I used an immersion blender) until smooth. Let the mixture cool for 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, stir the flour, yeast, sugar and half the salt together. Add the warm potato water and mix until a sticky dough ball forms. I used my stand mixer with the dough hook, but you could easily mix this dough by hand as well. Keeping the dough ball in the large bowl, cover it and let it rise for about 2-3 hours.
Grease a 13×18 baking sheet (or something close to that) with olive oil and set aside. Gently remove the dough ball from the bowl and stretch it over the baking sheet. It helps to oil your hands because the dough is quite sticky. Drizzle the dough with a bit more olive oil, sprinkle the remaining salt and add any other toppings. Use your fingertips to push small holes all over the dough. Cover the pan and let it rise for another hour.
Preheat the oven to 400°, then bake the bread for about 35 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Let cool on a wire rack for a few minutes before cutting into it.
Leftover bread (there won’t be much) is best kept at room temperature, tightly wrapped in wax paper.