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Pillowy soft and crusty focaccia topped with thin-sliced potatoes, Italian pancetta and creamy blue cheese.
Looking for your next go-to appetizer?
Here you go — a homemade focaccia bread covered with a layer of potatoes, crisp chunks of pancetta and creamy blue cheese crumbles.
I love to serve warm slices of this savory focaccia as a snack or simple supper dish, along with glasses of fruity red wine or rosé.
Potato focaccia or potato pizza?
You could call this focaccia the cousin of Italian potato pizza, and what could be better than that?
Two of our favorite carbs in one is a win-win, for sure.
Plus, the combo of potato and blue cheese is a match made in food heaven.
The somewhat neutral flavor of potatoes is perfect contrasted with blue cheese.
Blue cheese has an unmatched complexity of tastes ranging from salty-sweet to creamy-rich, making it one of our favorite ingredients.
The texture of many blue cheeses is rich and creamy, with that gorgeous blue veining that makes blue cheese such a standout on the cheese board.
Is focaccia similar to pizza?
While the two Italian breads are very similar, there are a few differences between pizza and focaccia.
They’re both a type of yeasted flatbread, usually topped with combinations of cheese, meats and vegetables.
But focaccia is typically a softer, thicker bread compared to chewy pizza crusts, and it’s baked at lower temperature.
If you’ve never tried making homemade focaccia, this recipe is a really good one to start with.
It’s easy to make without much fuss, and turns out tender and tasty, with a nice airy texture and beautiful golden color.
Easy focaccia recipe
But this one is absolutely my new favorite for a few reasons:
It’s quick to make and the texture is perfectly soft and chewy at the same time, with a touch of sweetness.
I love to make slow-rise bread and pizza doughs, but they do take longer to develop and build flavor because they ferment at cooler temperatures (like in your refrigerator).
Because this dough only needs about 2 hours to rise at warm room temperature you can make this fit into a same-day situation.
Each slice is yeasty soft, with puffy texture and nice big air holes.
How to make focaccia dough:
The dough is super easy to make.It’s a simple mixture of all-purpose flour, yeast, salt and honey mixed with olive oil and water.
I recommend using a stand mixer to make the dough in literally minutes.
But, of course you can totally go old-school and use your hands to make it.
Just be sure to knead the dough on a floured surface, because it’s a bit stickier than a standard bread dough.
After the dough comes together into a smooth, soft ball, put it into an oiled bowl, cover and let it rise until doubled in bulk.
The amount of instant yeast and honey in this recipe help the fermentation happen fairly quickly.
Transfer the dough to a large sheet pan and gradually stretch it out so that it reaches the corners of the pan.
Cover the dough with the thinly sliced yellow potatoes, red onion, pre-cooked pancetta cubes and thyme and bake.
As soon as the focaccia is baked (20-25 minutes at 425F) simply sprinkle the blue cheese crumbles over the top.
The heat of the crust will instantly melt the cheese to just the right soft and gooey texture.
Potato Focaccia with Blue Cheese
- 3 cups (455 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon (15 g) rapid-rise instant yeast
- 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) honey
- 4 tablespoons (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil, plus more for pan
- 1-¼ cups (60 ml) water
- 4 ounces (125 g) cubed pancetta
- 1 large Yukon Gold potato, 9-10 ounces
- ½ cup (80 g) thinly sliced red onion
- ½ teaspoon crushed red chili flakes
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme
- 4 ounces (125 g) crumbled blue cheese
- Extra-virgin olive oil
Make the dough:
- Put the flour, yeast and salt in a the work bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Stir about 30 seconds until combined. Add the honey, olive oil and water, then increase the speed to medium-high. Mix until the dough forms a smooth ball. It will feel soft and a little sticky.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to rise until doubled in bulk – this should take about 2 hours at warm room temperature.
- Drizzle a little olive oil over the bottom of a large rimmed sheet pan (13 x 18-inches). Use your hands to gently stretch the dough. Let it rest and relax every few minutes when it starts to resist, until the dough finally reaches the corners of the pan.
Make the topping:
- Preheat the oven to 425 (220 C) degrees.
- Spread the pancetta in one layer in a small ovenproof skillet (such as cast iron). Bake the pancetta 10-12 minutes, until the fat is rendered and the cubes are beginning to crisp. Remove to a paper-towel lined plate.
- Slice the potato into very thin slices (about 1/8-inch thick), using a mandoline if you have one or else a very sharp knife. Shingle the slices over the top of the focaccia until they cover the dough.
- Sprinkle the onion, red chili and pancetta over the potatoes. Strip the leaves off the thyme stems and scatter over all. Drizzle with a little olive oil.
- Bake the focaccia until the edges are golden brown, 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately top with the blue cheese. Slice into squares and serve.
Karen’s Notes and Tips
- The focaccia will keep for 1-2 days (wrapped)at room temperature.
- To reheat, wrap in foil and place in a 325 degree oven about 15 minutes.
This post has been sponsored by Salemville® . All thoughts and opinions are my own.