Focaccia Pugliese with Ricotta

June 23, 2011


Focaccia Puligiese

I recently spent a week in Puglia with 7 mates and 1 boyfriend. We cooked, ate and drank a lot in between lying around talking about cooking, eating and drinking. Before we left I’d read up on the food and came across what is apparently a classic recipe for focaccia with tomatoes pressed into the top. We didn’t find any there so I thought I’d have a bash myself; the ricotta is my own twist.

As the bread rises, the tomatoes roast and sweeten (after eating tomatoes in Puglia I’m not sure I could eat a raw one in this country ever again). The ricotta didn’t have quite enough time to disintegrate into little white heaps as it usually does but that didn’t matter at all. It was like a giant, fluffy, highly savoury pizza with bursts of juice from the tomatoes and creamy, crumbly patches of cheese. Make sure to sprinkle liberally with flaky sea salt crystals – if there’s one thing the people of Puglia aren’t scared of using, it’s salt.

Focaccia Pugliese with Ricotta

225g potatoes
1 1/4 teaspoons fast action dried yeast
375ml warm water
400g strong white bread flour
1 teaspoons salt

For the topping

1 teaspoon dried oregano
250g ricotta
15 cherry tomatoes, halved
Sea salt for sprinkling
Olive oil, for sprinkling

Boil, drain and mash the potatoes. While they are boiling, mix the yeast with the warm water in a large mixing bowl and set aside to activate (you will know when this has happened because the top will be slightly frothy).

Mix the flour, salt and potatoes together. When the yeast-water mix is ready, add the potato-flour mix to it, in two halves. Combine everything, turn it out and knead for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic.

Set the dough aside in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a tea towel and wait until doubled in size. Divide the dough in half then shape into 2 balls. Put each on a lightly oiled baking tray (the one you will be using to cook it) and stretch it out into a rectangle. There is no need to stretch it thinly, just make a rectangle shape and leave it for 10 minutes. After this time stretch it a little further. Let rise until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 200c/Gas6/400F. Press the tomatoes lightly into the top of each focaccia, sprinkle with the oregano and sea salt. Use your fingers to sprinkle all over with olive oil. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove from the oven, dollop with the ricotta and bake for another 5. Allow to cool on a wire rack.

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  • Avatar
    Reply Maunika June 23, 2011 at 8:41 am

    I never bake bread but this is seriously tempting me to! Ricotta, oregano & sea salt are the perfect combination. I would happily devour into this on a cool breezy summer afternoon with a glass of my fav tipple x

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    Reply Helen June 23, 2011 at 9:26 am

    One word. Yum!

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    Reply Jessica June 23, 2011 at 9:28 am

    I keep meaning to have a go at foccaccia… you’ve convinced me that I should definitely get round to it this weekend!

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    Reply KSalty June 23, 2011 at 10:52 am

    That looks so good, wish I could tear a slice off the screen and eat it for lunch. Love slow roasted big batches of tomatoes at this time of year.

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    Reply Lizzie June 23, 2011 at 11:19 am

    WOW. Potatoes in the dough too! It looks stunning. I wish we’d found some foccacia now…

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    Reply Deb June 23, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    Wow! This looks divine! I make focaccia all the time (use as a pizza crust, too) and love to sprinkle on some Himalayan pink salt from Sustainable Sourcing (check their website! ) – well, it’s good on just about anything actually! Thanks for sharing an excellent recipe–looks like a keeper….

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    Reply christopher June 24, 2011 at 3:31 am

    That looks so good, wish I could tear a cut off the screen and eat it for lunch. Love slow roasted massive groups of tomatoes at this time of the year.

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    Reply Claire June 24, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    Looks delicious. I’ve never baked bread with potato in it, will be giving your recipe a go very soon. We had the best focaccia I’ve ever tasted in Tuscany a few weeks back. The recipes I’ve baked don’t come anywhere close.

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    Reply Gibbo June 26, 2011 at 8:21 am

    Read this on Thursday, showed to the OH (big “yes please”) and made it Saturday. Is fantastic, and very easy! We ate chunks dipped in chilli oil, and oil and balsamic. Had to substitute feta for the ricotta due to unavailability – but it still worked. Thanks for the recipe – it’s a keeper! 🙂

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    Reply shayma June 29, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    this is a carb-lovers dream bread. sweet tommies, creamy cheese, lots of bready goodness. utterly fantastic. and with lots of gorgeous, chilled Falanghina. x shayma

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    Reply Benedict Sycamore January 6, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    Yet again, thank you. Perfect focaccia recipe on the net, for sure.
    I spent a lot of time in Italy as a child, and some of that was spent in Apulia… Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.
    Keep up the good work.

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen January 6, 2012 at 6:04 pm

      Cheers Benedict! Happy New Year!

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