This potato-rosemary bread is like a thick focaccia, sprinkled with olive oil and coarse salt. It is one of my favorite breads to make and eat. I first made this bread in a cooking class in 1992 at Tante Marie’s Cooking School in San Francisco. It begins with a biga, which is the Italian word used to describe a starter made from flour, water and a small amount of yeast. It is left to ferment for about 12 hours (or overnight) at room temperature. The biga gives strength to the bread and by producing a second fermentation it gives the bread a natural flavor and wonderful aroma. The actual bread is made the next day and once shaped and risen it takes only 20 minutes to bake. You will definitely want to add this to your bread repertoire.
- 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast or active dry yeast
- 1 cup warm water
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 14 ounces boiled potatoes riced (mashed)
- 4 ounces Biga
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary finely chopped
- 28 ounces bread flour
- rice flour for dusting
- Corn meal for dusting
For sprinkling on top
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
Make Biga at least one day ahead.
- Add the yeast to the water and mix. Add the flour and mix for 2 to 3 minutes or until combined. Dough will be stiff.
- Put in dough-rising bowl or medium size bowl and cover. Leave out at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours. The starter should triple in volume and be wet and sticky. If not using right away cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Thirty minutes prior to baking place a pizza stone in the oven and preheat to 450°F. Cut out or fold 2 pieces of parchment paper to fit the pizza stone.
- In a large bowl soften the yeast in the water. Add the potatoes, Biga, olive oil, salt, rosemary and all but 1 cup of the flour. If using a Kitchen Aid mixer, knead with the dough hook for 4 minutes adding remaining flour as needed, until you get a soft, smooth dough. By hand knead 8 to 10 minutes. Turn dough out onto a board sprinkled with rice flour to bring together, adding flour only as necessary. The dough will be very soft.
- Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and let rise until doubled in volume, about 1 hour. Once raised, divide the dough in half and shape into two discs about 1 1/2-inches high. Sprinkle parchment paper with cornmeal and place discs on parchment paper. Sprinkle with rice flour, cover with a damp towel and let rise for 45 minutes.
- Dimple the loaves with your finger tips and sprinkle with olive oil and salt. Place the loaves (with the parchment) on the pre-heated baking stone and bake for 20 minutes or until nicely browned. Let cool before cutting. Enjoy!