Winter has certainly arrived! The temperatures are heading into the single digits the day I am writing up this recipe, and will drop below zero tomorrow. Apparently, a polar wave is coming through the Midwest bringing life-threatening cold temperatures. Sounds lovely, doesn’t it? After getting six to eight inches of snow yesterday, freezing temperatures are not something I look forward to. My biggest concern is for my chickens, and I plan to lock them in their coop later today as the temperatures drop. Everyone tells me that the chickens will be fine, but never having chickens in this kind of weather, I can’t help but worry about them.
We have slowly been exploring the restaurant scene in Detroit as it seems every other month a new, exciting restaurant is opening downtown where there is a revitalization going on. I have been to SheWolf twice so far, and we are trying out San Morello which just opened up in the new Shinola Hotel later this week for my Birthday. We really enjoyed SheWolf’s menu and found the pasta dishes in particular very authentic. Best of all for me, the pasta portions are small, and there are a lot of small plates for sharing. I enjoy trying out a lot of different dishes and prefer doing that than ordering one large entree!
SheWolf mills their own flour to make the pasta and bread in-house, and use a variety of grains in both. They offer two different types of focaccia, and we really enjoyed the mixed grain potato and rosemary one. I asked our waitress what kind of flour that they use in the focaccia because it was apparently a mixed grain and contained some whole grain flour. The bread maker said that they used the flour leftover from making their pasta, so it changed daily but that it often included spelt and hard wheat flours. The focaccia at SheWolf is not so much a flatbread but is served in thick slices with a warm Gorgonzola Dolce spread. The focaccia is topped with thin slices of tiny potatoes and bits of fresh rosemary, and when you spread the cheese onto slices of the warm bread, it just melts into it. The crust is nice and chewy while the crumb is very tender which is just how I like all of my Italian bread. I knew that I had to try and replicate this bread at home!
It took two attempts to create thick focaccia similar to the one that we enjoyed at SheWolf. For my first attempt, I used a white spelt flour along with a whole grain spelt flour. I used the sliced potatoes on top and made a similar cheese spread. The bread was delicious, but it just didn’t have that chewy crust that I was looking for. As well, I found that the potato slices fell off when I sliced it. For my next attempt, I used a whole grain spelt flour that we milled ourselves along with white bread flour. I also added in some mashed potatoes to keep the interior of the bread tender. I baked my focaccia in a 13 x 10-inch cake pan to get the height I was after, and for this focaccia I used small diced potatoes that I first roasted in the oven for the topping along with fresh rosemary. This version had the chew I was looking for, but the crumb was tender. The potatoes stayed put when I sliced the focaccia, and the family thoroughly enjoyed the warm focaccia served warm slathered with the creamy Gorgonzola topping.
Deborah Mele 2019
For The Potatoes:
- 2 Medium Potatoes, Peeled & Cut Into 1/2 Inch Dice
- 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 Teaspoon Finely Chopped Fresh Rosemary
For The Focaccia:
- 3 Cups Whole Grain Spelt Flour
- 3 Cups Bread Flour
- 1 1/2 Cups Mashed Potatoes
- 1 Teaspoon Fine Sea Salt
- 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil Plus More For Topping
- Warm Water
- 3 Sprigs Fresh Rosemary
- 3 Tablespoons Coarse Sea Salt
- To Serve:
- Gorgonzola Dolce
- Preheat oven to 400 Degrees F.
- In a bowl, toss together the diced potatoes, olive oil, salt, and rosemary.
- Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, then spread the potatoes over the baking sheet.
- Bake for 10 minutes, turn over with a spatula, then bake another 10 minutes or until fork tender and lightly browned.
- In a large bowl, stir together the two flours and sea salt.
- Add the olive oil, mashed potatoes, and 1 1/2 cups warm water.
- Stir the mixture, adding addicting water as needed to bring the mixture together.
- Dump the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead by hand until the dough is smooth, about 5 to 6 minutes.
- Place the dough into a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot in the kitchen until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
- Literally grease the bottom and sides of a 13 x 10 inch cake pan.
- Punch down the dough, then spread into the cake pan.
- Allow the dough to rise a second time, then press your fingertips across the top to create dimples.
- Scatter the potatoes over the top of the dough.
- Pull the rosemary sprigs apart into two to three spears and press them evenly over the top of the dough.
- Sprinkle the top of the dough with sea salt, then drizzle the top of the focaccia liberally with the extra virgin olive oil.
- Bake the focaccia in a preheated 400 degrees F. oven for 20 minutes.
- Turn the pan around, and bake another 15 to 20 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into the center registers 190 degrees F.
- Remove the focaccia from the oven, and cool to just barely warm.
- Slice, and serve warm with Gorgonzola spread.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 2 squares
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 289Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 1932mgCarbohydrates: 44gFiber: 3gSugar: 1gProtein: 8g