Green olives add a touch of color to this fluffy focaccia bread that’s great for sandwich bread, enjoying with soups or just eating as is.
Focaccia bread is a lovely, thick and chewy bread with a nice crust. Some people throw herbs in it, roasted peppers and sun dried tomatoes, all sorts of things. Focaccia bread can hold it all.
My first experience making my own focaccia was during the #SeriousSandwich Cookalong for Emeril Lagasse’s new book, Kicked-Up Sandwiches. Emeril’s recipe is for herbed focaccia and tasted just as good as it looked. Emeril asks for leftover mashed potatoes in his recipe, and I’ve loosely based this green olive focaccia recipe from his.
We had leftover creamy garlic mashed potatoes from the beer braised short ribs we made. While everything in Indiana is frozen at this moment due to being under 12 inches of snow with temperatures in the negative teens, my hands wouldn’t be grasping any rosemary unless I bought it from the grocery store… that I currently can’t get to.
But green olives? I have a jar full of those. A salty, colorful kick is exactly what I wanted for my focaccia recipe.
Now, you don’t see green olives all over this bread because, while I like green olives, I’m not obsessed with them. They are here to bring flavor and color to the bread, but not overpower every bite with salty, green pieces. I still wanted this to taste like bread. If you love green olives more than I do, add more.
Bread is not difficult to make, it is just time to consume. A total of three hours solely for rising is needed for this bread, so make it on a weekend, a day off, or a day when you are snowed in (like me).
You also need leftover mashed potatoes, so this bread truly takes some planning. But if you’re willing to put in the effort, the bread will reward you. This bread will be fluffy and delicious a few days after baking… if it lasts in your house for that long!
Green Olive Focaccia
Takes at least 3 hours to rise
- 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (one package)
- 1 tsp white granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- 3/4 tsp salt + more for topping
- 5 cups all purpose flour + more for dusting and kneading
- 3 tbsp + 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup leftover mashed potatoes
- 3/4 cup + 2 tbsp chopped green olives
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, add yeast, sugar and warm water. Stir gently, then let sit in a warm, draft-free place for five minutes until foamy.
- Add the 3/4 teaspoon salt, 5 cups of flour, 3 tbsp olive oil and mashed potatoes to the bowl. Using the dough hook, mix on low speed for 3 minutes or until dough pulls away from the bowl and has a soft sheen to it, or a nice, smooth surface.
- Place a little flour on a work surface to knead the dough with your hands for for 2-3 minutes, turning it into a ball.
- Add a little olive oil or olive oil spray to a large bowl. Place the dough ball into the oiled bowl and turn it around a few times, getting the oil onto all parts of the dough.
- Cut a piece of plastic wrap and place it onto the dough ball, pushing it up against the crease where the ball meets the bowl.
- Place a towel over the bowl and set the dough in a warm, draft free place for one hour. (This happened to be on my bed in my bedroom).
- The dough should double in size after that first hour.
- Remove the towel and plastic wrap, punch the dough down, then put the plastic wrap back on and drape with the towel. Let rise for another hour or until the dough doubles in size.
- Prepare a surface for rolling out the dough with flour.
- Add the 3/4 cup chopped green olives to the dough, kneading them gently. Remove the dough from the bowl and onto your floured surface.
- Knead for one minute, mixing the green olives into the dough. Roll out into a large square that fits your baking sheet.
- The dough should be about 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch thick. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper, then place the rolled out dough onto the baking sheet.
- Place plastic wrap onto the rolled out dough and set in a warm, draft free place for one hour so it can rise one last time.
- Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
- Remove the plastic wrap from the bread. Gently press your fingers into the bread, creating rows of little dimples.
- Drizzle the additional 2 tablespoons of olive oil on top of the bread.
- Sprinkle the 2 tablespoons of chopped green olives on the bread, distributing evenly, and then sprinkle with a little more salt.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned throughout. Cool, then slice and enjoy.