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    Potato and Thyme Focaccia

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    Potato and Thyme Focaccia

    The original idea for this loaf came from a recipe by Tamasin Day-Lewis. It is very filling so makes an ideal picnic bread – there’s no need for extra cheese here. Wrap the whole loaves in foil before leaving the house, then tear off hearty hunks when you find a good picnic spot.

    • Preparation time: 15 minutes, plus 10 minutes kneading and 1 hour 20 minutes rising
    • Cooking time: 60 minutes
    • Total time: 1 hour 15 minutes, plus 10 minutes kneading and 1 hour 20 minutes rising 60 minutes 15 minutes

    Serves: 10

    Ingredients

    • 500g strong white flour
    • 7g dried easy-blend yeast
    • 1½ tsp salt
    • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 4 thyme sprigs, leaves stripped from the stalks
    • 400g small waxy potatoes
    • 150g melting cheese (such as Ossau Iraty), grated
    • 100g crème fraîche

    Method

    1. Put the flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl and add up to 320ml warm water with 1 tbsp olive oil and a good pinch of thyme leaves; stir until a rough dough forms. Work with your hands to mix thoroughly until soft and uniform – the sides of the bowl should be left clean. Wetter is better with bread dough but if it seems too sticky add a little more flour; if it seems dry, add a splash of water. Turn onto a work surface and knead for 10 minutes until very smooth and elastic. Oil a clean bowl and sit the dough in it. Cover with oiled clingfilm and leave in a warm place for 1 hour, until doubled in size.
    2. Meanwhile, cover the potatoes with water in a pan, add a pinch of salt and bring to the boil. Simmer for 10 minutes, until nearly tender. Cool under cold water and drain. Slice into fine discs and transfer to a bowl.
    3. Knock the dough back with a punch and divide in half. Shape into two flat, round loaves and space out on a large, oiled baking sheet. Cover loosely with the oiled clingfilm and leave to rise for 20 minutes.
    4. Heat the oven to 190°C/gas 5. Add the grated cheese and remaining thyme leaves to the sliced potatoes and mix well. Use your fingers to make deep dimples all over the loaves; top with the potato mixture and teaspoonfuls of the crème fraîche. Season and drizzle with the remaining 1 tbsp oil. Bake for about 50 minutes, until golden.

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