BAKING CENTRAL REVISITED | 

An added touch to picnic lunch

There's a picnic in your future, you know it. Maybe this weekend. Maybe next. Be prepared with homemade focaccia, which can be made early in the day and served as an appetizer or alongside grilled meats. Need more ideas? Go to startribune.com/bakingcentral.

KIM ODE

No-Knead Focaccia

Makes 2 (9-inch) rounds or 1 (13- by 18-inch) rectangle.

Note: From Kim Ode.

1 russet or Yukon Gold potato, to measure 1 cup when peeled and cut in small chunks

• 2 1/2 c. cool water

• 4 c. bread flour

• 2 1/2 tsp. (1 pkg.) instant yeast

• 1 tsp. sugar

• 3/4 tsp. salt

• 1 tbsp., plus 1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil, divided

Toppings: Choose among fresh herbs, peppadew peppers, cherry tomatoes, caramelized onions, pitted olives, etc.

• Coarse salt, to taste

Directions

Bring potatoes and 2 1/2 cups water to boil in a small saucepan. Cook until the potato chunks fall apart when pierced with a fork.

Strain out potatoes but reserve water. Mash potatoes, then recombine with the water to make a smooth mixture.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, yeast, sugar and salt. Add the cooled potato purée and mix until you have a wet, sticky dough. This takes only about 30 seconds. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit undisturbed until the dough triples in size, about 2 to 3 hours.

Lightly oil a 13- by 18-inch rimmed baking sheet, or 2 (9- to 10-inch) round pans with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Scrape the dough into the pan(s). Dipping your fingers in remaining 1/4 cup olive oil, use your hands to gently pull and press dough to the pan edges. Drizzle remaining oil and use your fingertips to press down all over the dough to create dimples on the surface. Press desired toppings well into the dough in an attractive pattern.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free spot until it reaches the edges of the pan, about 45 minutes. Sprinkle with coarse salt, to taste.

Bake on center rack of oven for 30 to 45 minutes until golden brown. Remove pan from oven and let it rest a few minutes on a wire rack before removing the focaccia from the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature.