Sunchoke & Green Garlic Focaccia

I have a weakness for Focaccia bread. Seriously, if there is a Focaccia Anonymous, I may need to join. I can’t be left alone with a freshly baked loaf. The soft, chewy, lightly salty flat bread is more than I can handle.

From the first time I made it at culinary school, this bread had a hold of me. I’ve made it many, many times since then (using the recipe I learned at school), and have now converted my family and boyfriend to Focaccia worshippers as well. I usually whip up 2 small loaves for Sunday Dinner, and the first loaf goes fast. The second isn’t far behind as it can be used as an excellent sandwich bread or tasty accompaniment to any soup or salad. Focaccia is similar to a pizza dough, and thus can be topped with whatever you’d like. I make simple oil and herb (Rosemary is my favorite), or olive, caramelized onion, pesto, tomato and basil, roasted fennel, or anything you can imagine.

Makes 2 – 12 inch loaves

Tip: You will need a small baked potato (already cooked) for this recipe. Poke several holes in the potato with a fork, wrap in foil, and bake at 450ºF for about an hour, until the potato is soft.

To Make the Focaccia Bread:

Sponge:

  • 1/4 oz dry active yeast
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar
  • 2/3 cup warm water (approx. 115ºF)
  • 1/2 cup bread flour or other high gluten flour
  • 1 small baked potato, peeled
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup bread flour
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt

Sunchoke & Green Garlic Topping:

  • 8 ounces sunchokes
  • 2 green garlic stalks or 1 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine sponge ingredients, and cover with plastic wrap, allowing sponge to develop, about 20 – 30 minutes.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, mash together the peeled baked potato with olive oil, add to sponge mixture and mix well with a wooden spoon. Add in water, salt, and flours a half cup at a time mixing well with a wooden spoon, until dough comes together. {Tip: Depending on humidity and size of the potato you may need the full 2 cups of whole wheat flour, or somewhere in between 1 1/2  and 2 cups. Dough should be kneadable, not sticky or tacky.}
  3. Knead dough for 10 minutes, form into a large ball, and place in a clean large bowl. Lightly oil sides of the bowl, and around dough. Cover and allow to rise for 1 hour.
  4. While dough rises, prepare topping. Scrub sunchokes clean and slice, about 1/8 inch thick. Blanch and shock sliced sunchokes, and lay out on paper towels to dry. Roughly chop green garlic (or garlic cloves) and mince rosemary. Toss dried sunchokes with garlic, rosemary, oil, and salt, and set aside.

Heat oven to 475ºF

  1. Once dough has risen. Punch dough down and divide in half. Form two loaves on a sheet tray lined with parchment paper. Allow dough to rest for 10 minutes.
  2. Drizzle 1/2 teaspoon olive oil and a pinch of slat over each loaf. Top with prepared sunchoke topping and bake for 25 minutes, rotating midway through to ensure even browning.

By Stephanie Hoban, MS, RD, LD 

 

 

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