The humble baked potato. Truly one of the food world’s most versatile vehicles. A blank canvas in terms of flavor but a textural powerhouse that leaves many of us hungry for more. Yes, there is a lot you can do to a baked potato. You can top it with all manner of things, you can turn it into a soup, and if you’re really fighting the keto trend, you can turn it into a bread. Uh-huh! You’re looking at a loaf of Baked Potato Focaccia. Three words I’m sure you never thought you’d string together but you’re probably glad you did. Well, maybe terrified is a better word. Can you be gladly terrified?
Self-control is not something that can coexist with this Fully Loaded Baked Potato Focaccia. Better to get that hard truth out of the way quickly. Needless to say, I recommend making this recipe when you have lots of people around. The sooner this temptress is out of your life the better. With a recommendation like that, I suppose it’s only sensible to ask if the bread should grace your life at all? And the answer is omigosh, yes! One corner of this bread is the equivalent of finding 20$ on a subway platform before returning home to find your SO purchased your favorite ice cream, folded all your laundry, organized the spice cupboard, and miraculously visited the dentist on your behalf. There’s nothing weird about that particular collection of hopes and dreams, right?
Now, you might be wondering what separates this Fully Loaded Baked Potato Focaccia from a regular ol’ potato focaccia. Well, it’s quite simple – cheese, sour cream, scallions, and the optional bacon bits. Basically, it has everything responsible for elevating the lowly baking potato to a swank steakhouse side capable of serving as a vehicle for caviar and costing you a very pretty penny.
As a focaccia, the baked potato is no less exceptional than all its other incarnations. Sitting atop a pillowy base of fragrant focaccia, layers of paper-thin potato slices curl and crisp on the surface of the bread. On top of the potato shingles are dollops of a goat cheese and sour cream concoction laced with sliced scallions. Although the goat cheese is not a traditional topping, I like using it in this instance. I feel the cheese really doubles down on the tanginess of the sour cream. And it is that tang paired with the buttery, sweet flavor of the potato that keeps me coming back for more. When it’s a combo that good, you might as well hit everyone over the head with it.
But before we get too far ahead of ourselves, I think we should address the focaccia itself. For those of you who are looking for an inroad into breadmaking, here it is. Focaccia is, of course, perfectly capable of being very storied and very complicated. But this focaccia is neither. This focaccia is a Joy of Cooking recipe I’ve noodled with for ten plus years. I have it where I want it without sacrificing the beautiful simplicity of the original recipe.
This focaccia is a remarkably easy yeasted dough to pull off. You don’t need a lot of ingredients, know-how, or time to make it. And unlike brioche, it’s not horribly daunting to make without a stand mixer. A set of strong forearms will more than do you. Honestly, this is the easy breadmaking win you’ve been looking for. So, whether you choose to make this Fully Loaded Baked Potato Focaccia to the letter or not, just be sure to try the focaccia part.
So, with your focaccia fully risen twice over and your potato and sour cream cheese organized on top, it’s time to send the focaccia to the oven. And once it’s golden and bubbly, simply top with fresh scallions. If you’re vegetarian, just stop there. But if you lean in a more carnivorous direction, feel free to add crumbled up bacon to the party as pictured.
So, that’s pretty much everything you need to know about this Fully Loaded Baked Potato Focaccia. It’s the carb-on-carb treat you desperately need but never thought to ask for.
Fully Loaded Baked Potato Focaccia
- 1 3/4 cup lukewarm water
- 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 tbsp honey
- 2 tsp salt
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 small Russet Potato sliced thin on a mandoline
- 2 tbsp white vinegar
- 5 scallions sliced thin, divided
- 250 ml (8.5 fl oz) sour cream
- 140 g (5 oz) goat cheese softened
- 1/2 lemon zest of
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1/4 cup olive oil divided
- 4 strips bacon optional
- Sprinkle the yeast over the surface of the water. Let sit for 10 minutes or until foamy.
- Pour the yeast mixture into a large bowl or a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the salt, honey and a cup and a half of the flour. Mix with a spoon or on low speed until a dough starts to form.
- Start adding the flour, a 1/4 cup at a time, until the dough is smooth in appearance and slightly tacky to the touch. You may need all 3 cups of flour to achieve this consistency or you could need more or even less.
- Place the dough on a floured surface and knead by hand for 5 minutes or until it feels like satin. Form the dough into a ball and transfer to a greased bowl. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and let rise in a warm place for an hour and a half or until doubled in size.
- While the dough is rising, place the potato slices in a large bowl. Fill the bowl with enough water to fully immerse the potato. Add the vinegar and give it a quick stir. Let the potatoes soak for 1 hour.
- Once the hour has passed, lay the potato slices in an even layer on top of a large tea towel. Place another tea towel on top and press to dry the slices. Leave to dry completely.
- Place 3 of the 5 sliced scallions in a medium-sized bowl. Add the sour cream, goat cheese, garlic and lemon zest to the bowl. Whisk to combine. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
- When the dough has risen, punch it down. Grease a 9×13-inch pan with some of the olive oil and transfer the dough to the pan. Stretch the dough to fit. Cover the dough with a tea towel and let rise again for about 30 minutes or until it fills out the pan. This is a good time to preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Using your fingers, create divets on the surface of the dough. Drizzle the dough with half of the olive oil. It will feel like a lot. Layer the potato slices over top and drizzle with the remaining oil. Sprinkle the surface of the potato slices with salt and add dollops of the sour cream mixture.
- Transfer the focaccia to the oven and bake for 30 minutes, rotating the pan once. Finish the bread under the broiler for 5 minutes or until the cheese is brown and bubbly.
- While the bread is baking, place the bacon in a large cast-iron skillet. Fry the bacon until quite dark and crispy. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel and set aside.
- Let the bread cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing. Top the focaccia with the remaining scallions and crumbled bacon. Slice the bread into 6 or 8 evenly-sized pieces and serve immediately.