I was inspired to make this Potato & Halloumi Focaccia after watching an episode of The Great British Bake Off. A contestant named Beca made a Potato, Spelt and Gorgonzola Foccacia that looked delicious. As you can see I've made a few changes, the biggest being that I've used halloumi and used regular flour rather than spelt. I've also mixed in rosemary and thyme as I think they're the perfect herbs to compliment potatoes! It's an easy recipe to put together and would be great as a side dish at a buffet or summer BBQ. It's also good dipped in oil and balsamic vinegar - I love doing this with fresh bread!
Ingredient Tips & Equipment Information
- Strong bread flour is the best option for bread as it is high in protein which assists in the forming of gluten - a protein that creates the rise in bread, as well as creating the lovely bread texture that we all know and love. You can also make this recipe with regular plain flour, the bread may just rise a little less.
- A good quality olive oil is the best kind of oil to use for focaccia, but you can also use vegetable oil or another plain oil that doesn't have a strong taste like canola or sunflower oil. If you do want to add some extra flavour to your bread you could try an infused oil, like garlic for example.
- The water should be lukewarm or tepid, this essentially means room temperature water which is around 18C to 23C. It's important not to use hot water that's above 30C as this will most likely kill the yeast and your bread will not rise.
- If you are kneading the dough in your stand mixer, pop it into the bowl of your mixer and set it on a low speed with the dough hook attachment. Leave it to knead for 8-10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and supple, and comes away from the side of the bowl.
- For more information on bread making, including a guide on how to knead by hand and lots of tips and tricks, check out my White Bread Loaf recipe.
- Although I provide cup measurements, I highly recommend weighing your ingredients out using digital kitchen scales*. It is the most accurate way to measure ingredients and will ensure the best results. Digital scales are very low cost and can be purchased for around £12 ($16.50) .
- For teaspoon (tsp) and tablespoon (tbsp) measurements, please use measuring spoons* and not the type of spoons you eat with. Again this will ensure accuracy and provide the best results.
For the full recipe with measurements, head to the recipe card at the end of this post.
How to make Potato & Halloumi Focaccia
Start by boiling the two lots of potatoes - one for the dough and one for the topping. Once they are cool, mash the ones for the dough up with some olive oil, set the ones for the topping aside to cool. In a mixing bowl, mix strong white bread flour, dried yeast, salt, rosemary and thyme together. Then added the mashed potato and mix it in.
Use some of the water the potatoes were boiled in (or tap water if you forget to reserve it!) to bring the mixture together into a dough. Then either knead by hand, or use a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook to knead it for 10 minutes.
Put the dough in a bowl and cover with cling film or a tea towel, leave it to rise for 1 hour. Once it's doubled in size, tip it into a greased baking tray and spread it out. Cover it with the chopped up potatoes, sliced halloumi and sprinkled more herbs on and some salt. Bake on 200C Fan/425F/Gas Mark 7 for 25 minutes, until lovely and golden brown, then leave to cool on a rack.
How do you know when the focaccia has risen enough?
Depending on the temperature of your room, it will take slightly different times for the dough to complete it's first prove (rise). Aim for 1 hour in a 21C room, then check the dough by giving it a poke with your finger. If the dough springs back easily, it needs more time. If it doesn't spring back at all, it's over proved. If it springs back about halfway, it's just right! If you're not sure, it's always better to have sightly under proved bread, than over proved bread.
What size tin do you need to make focaccia?
I used a Wilton tin which is 33.7 x 23.5 cm (13.25 x 9.25 inches). If you have a tin that is slightly bigger or slightly smaller this will be ok, just don't use a tin that is dramatically bigger or smaller. Remember that using a bigger tin will mean the focaccia needs slightly less time to bake, and a smaller tin will mean it needs slightly more time to bake.
How long does focaccia last and can it be frozen?
The focaccia will keep well for 2-4 days, however it really is best eaten within 1-2 days. It should be stored in an airtight container in a cool place. You can freeze it for up to three months, wrap it well in cling film or freeze it in a tupperware container. It's best to freeze it in slices then you can defrost it as you need it.
Who is this recipe suitable for?
This recipe is suitable for vegetarians. To make this focaccia vegan and dairy free, you will need to swap the halloumi for a dairy free cheese or omit it entirely. It is also an egg free recipe.
Can this recipe be made gluten free?
If you are coeliac or are wanting to bake bread for someone who is, I would advise that you look for a specifically gluten free bread recipe. It is much easier to follow an already gluten free bread recipe, than try to adapt one. I am not familiar with gluten free bread baking, and I have no experience with baking gluten free bread. I recommend starting with this Gluten Free Bread recipe from The Gluten Free Alchemist.
What type of yeast should you use to make this focaccia?
The best type of yeast to use for this recipe is fast action yeast (also know as instant yeast) it is sold in sachets that weigh 7g each. It does not need dissolving in water before use. The great thing about this type of yeast is that you can just add it straight into the flour. It is my personal favourite kind of yeast for homemade bread baking, and the type I recommend for this recipe. However if you want to use fresh yeast, you will need 8g fresh yeast. Or if you want to use active dry yeast, you will need 9g of active dried yeast.
What can you serve with focaccia?
- Olive oil and balsamic vinegar dip
- Pesto (check it's vegetarian suitable if you're serving to vegetarians)
- Slice it in half and use it as a fancy sandwich bread
- As part of a buffet, tapas night or a mezze board
- Use it in place of garlic bread and serve wedges of focaccia alongside pasta or a risotto
If you have any questions about this recipe, or if something went wrong and you need help, please use the comment form below and I will get back to you. You can also get in touch with me on my Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. I'd love to hear from you!
Recommended equipment & ingredients*
- Baking tray
- Stand mixer with dough hook
- Mixing bowls
- Kitchen scales
- Fast action yeast
- Cooling rack
- Dough scraper
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More Focaccia recipes...
Potato & Halloumi Focaccia
For the dough
- 350 g Potatoes
- 3 tbsp Olive oil
- 300 g Strong white bread flour
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 Sachet dried yeast (7g)
- 1 tbsp Dried rosemary
- 1 tbsp Dried thyme
- 130-150 ml Water Reserved from cooking the potatoes
For the topping
- 220 g Potatoes
- 100 g Halloumi
- ½ tsp Dried rosemary
- ½ tsp Dried thyme
- Large pinch of Coarse sea salt
- Peel and chop the potatoes for the dough and boil for 25-30 minutes until soft, drain them into a colander over a bowl to reserve the cooking water
- Chop the potatoes for the topping (I left the skin on but you can remove it if you prefer) and parboil for 10 minutes, set aside to cool down
- Mash the potatoes for the dough up with the olive oil and allow to cool
- In a large mixing bowl stir together the flour, yeast, rosemary, thyme and salt. (Make sure not to pour the yeast and salt directly onto each other)
- Add the mashed potato into the bowl and mix in
- Measure out the cooking water and add it bit by bit until a dough forms - you may not need all of the water or you may need a little more
- Knead by hand (put olive oil on your hands and work surface if the dough is sticky), or knead in a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, for 10 minutes
- Place into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with cling film, leave in a warm place to rise for 1 hour
- While you're waiting, chop up the parboiled potatoes into small wedges and the halloumi into small cubes
- Tip the dough out onto a lipped baking tray greased with olive oil and spread it out using your fingers. I used a Wilton Non-Stick Cookie Pan which is 33.7 x 23.5 cm (13.25 x 9.25 inches)
- Arrange the halloumi and potato wedges on top, then sprinkle over the extra herbs and salt
- Leave to rise for 30 minutes, and pre-heat your oven to 200C Fan/425F/Gas Mark 7
- Bake for 25 minutes until golden
- Allow to cool, slice and serve, or serve warm. Store any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 2 days. It also freezes well
If you like this, check out more of my Bread recipes!
You can find Beca's recipe here.