The most high-tech kitchenware in my kitchen is a humble hand-held mixer, so you bet, I used to make meringue by a balloon whisk, my highest record is beating 9 egg whites *panting*. So far bread and pizza still rely on my bare hands (and my mood, plus the weather). You should feel difficult in kneading this dough in the first times as it's rather wet, but it worths all the effort after you see how moist it comes out. I got the recipe from In Nonna's Kitchen (nonna means grandmother in Italian). This book has no single food photos except some nonna's storys and their recipes, I've made some of them many times, this focaccia is one of them :)Ingredients 2 medium starchy potatoes * (abt 1 pound); 1 cup milk, lukewarm; 2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast dissolved in 1/4 cup water; 3 cups high gluten flour; 2 tsps sea salt; spoonfuls of oregano + thyme + sage; 6 Tbps olive oil, plus 2 Tbps for geasing the pan and 1 or 2 Tbps for drizzling over the top; 1 1/2 to 2 tsps coarse sea salt
* if your potatoes are rather moist, after mashed, let them sit in the fridge overnight, uncover.
- Boil the potatoes until they're cooked, immediately drain, peel, and mash them with fork, being careful to eliminate any lumps. Cool to room temp.
- Mix the flour, potatoes, 2 tsps fine sea salt, and the chopped herb together, add in dissolved yeast liquid, olive oil, and milk (add 80% first, decide on the rest after the dough forms). Knead until the dough smooth, soft and elastic. Set it in an oiled bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled.
- Brush olive oil on a 10.5 x 15.5-inch baking pan (dark coated yields for browner crust) with 2-inch sides. Place the dough (don't knead... so as to save air bubbles inside) in the pan and gently press it out to the edges. With your hands moistened in oil, dimple the top. Cover and let rise until half-doubled. Sprinkle coarse salt and a little more olive oil over the top.
- At least 30 mins before you plan to bake, preheat the oven to 400F (200C). Bake until the top and the underside are golden, abt 25 mins.