Update: I’ve taken new photos because something that I make this often deserved more appetising pictures. I’ve also tested the recipe with and without potato, for when you’re in a real rush. With potato is unequivocally better – it has a deliciously chewy texture and is more moist. I’ve included pictures below for you to see for yourself.
I’ve been a terrible blogger of late. It’s not that I don’t have heaps of photos and recipes sitting here – I’ve just been terribly bad at typing them up. Sometimes, I’m just not that thrilled with a recipe, or, sometimes it needs just a tad more workshopping. And of course, there are times where the space between making the recipe and eating all of it is quite short (as you can see, we’d already eaten half of it!). This is one such time, so I apologise for the photo but wish to assure you it tastes delicious.
It’s one of my favourite recipes and has been for
over three eight years. The great thing is that you can top it with whatever you have on hand – parmesan, tomatoes, onion, thinly sliced garlic or potatoes. It is also a great bread to start with because it’s pretty foolproof and there’s only one rise required before baking.
Cut into 1-inch slices, it’s a great pick-at-it finger food for when visitors come around. If you’re feeling fancy you can add extra virgin olive oil and balsamic as a dip. It’s much quicker in a stand mixer, but I suppose you could do it by hand if you were comfortable with kneading dough – the dough is quite wet and sticky, so use a stand mixer if you have one.
If you are kneading by hand, I recommend doing it in a big bowl to avoid the dough picking up too much flour, as it will affect the texture.
- 1½ cups slightly warm water
- 1½ tsp dried yeast
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 medium potatoes, pref Desiree (or substitute 100g potato flour and ½ cup water)
- 500g plain flour
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 150 grams cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- 1 large red onion, sliced into 0.5cm rings
- rosemary, or other fresh herbs
- 1 tsp salt flakes
- grated parmesan (optional)
- olive oil, salt and freshly ground pepper (for topping)
- Place the lukewarm water, sugar and yeast in a small bowl and whisk gently until yeast is dissolved. Don't use hot water or you'll kill the yeast. Let it stand for a few minutes to activate - you'll know it's done when it's frothy. If after 5-10 minutes the mixture doesn't bubble, it's likely that your yeast is dead and you're better off buying new yeast and starting again.
- Turn on your oven to 100C for 3 minutes, then turn off - this is so there's a warm space for the dough to rise.
- While the yeast is activating, boil the potatoes in their skins until soft. Use a potato ricer, if you have one, to mash the still hot potatoes. Place them into the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment.
- Sift in the flour and salt (if you are using potato flour, add the dry potato flour to the plain flour and the water to the water/yeast mixture.) On the lowest speed, lightly mix these ingredients before pouring in the water/yeast mixture. Continue mixing on low speed until combined then increase the speed and mix for another 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic - it should be quite sticky.
- Lightly oil a non-stick baking tray (25x38cm or 10.5x15 inches) and scrape the dough into the centre of the tray. Because the dough is sticky if you lightly oil your fingers this will stop the dough from attaching to your hands and the oil also enriches the crust. Use your fingers to push the dough out to fill the tray.
- Place into the pre-warmed (but turned off oven) and leave to rise for about 30 minutes to an hour - you can add a small bowl of water to increase the humidity in your oven. The dough is ready when it's increased in height.
- Remove the baking tray containing the dough from the oven, then preheat your oven to 180C. Cut up the toppings you are using and scatter over the dough, then drizzle with some extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt flakes, freshly ground pepper and parmesan, if using.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes - remembering to rotate if your oven is temperamental like mine. Slice and serve while warm with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.