Potato Herbed Focaccia with Caramelized Shallots – video

Do you think superheroes get together for Thanksgiving? I wonder if Bruce Wayne shows up at Peter Parker’s house with the bread?  Does Robin get to sit at the adult table with Batman, or is he shunned to the kid’s table?  I bet Diana Prince has to come as Wonder Woman just so that the dinner can actually get to the table on time … and I wonder if she uses her lasso on unruly guests, like the Hulk?  Poor Cat Woman, I bet they have to lock her up so she won’t eat the turkey.  I had my first Thanksgiving meal of the season with my own set of super heroes this week, a close group of friends, food bloggers.    Like superheroes,  food bloggers have an “online alter-ego” that sometimes bleeds into real life. For instance,  there is  The Shiksa,  Sippity,  La Fuji Mama, and me … Geez Louise!  This meal, although Shockingly Delicious, wasn’t about our individual super powers in the kitchen, but more about coming together as our alter-egos, as “friends,” to break bread and share Thanksgiving stories.  I left my swing skirt and heels in the closet,  The Black Girl left the chef whites at home and The Food Fanatic?  Well … she seems to be in  character 24 hours a day. Thank you Patti, for opening up your lair to all of us and being such a gracious hostess, it proved to be Worth the Whisk, and I hope Larry approved.

I’m so excited to share that our Blogger  Thanksgiving  Dinner was featured in this week’s Los Angeles Times Food section. 



Potato Herbed Focaccia with Caramelized Shallots

Makes 1 – ½ sheet pan loaf


1 ¼ cup of warm water (110-115 degrees)

1 Tablespoon of white granulated sugar

3 (1/4 oz) packages of active dry yeast


5 cups of all-purpose flour (a little extra for dusting your surface)

1 Idaho Russet potato (8-10 oz) baked, peeled, and run through a potato ricer or mashed completely with a fork.

½ cup warm water

4 teaspoons of kosher salt

½ cup of good quality, mild tasting olive oil


8-10 ounces of shallots- peeled and cut thinly

1 Tablespoon of butter

1 teaspoon of olive oil

1/2  teaspoon of kosher salt

1 teaspoon of brown sugar

1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar


1-2 teaspoons of olive oil for coating sheet pan

2 Tablespoons of ground cornmeal

¼ cup good quality, mild tasting olive oil

1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary – finely chopped

2 teaspoons of fresh thyme leaves- removed from stems


  • Heat 1 ¼ cup of water to 110-115 degrees.
  • In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with dough hook, stir together the warm water and the sugar.
  • Sprinkle the dry yeast over the top of the water, stir to combine, and let sit untouched for 10 minutes. This is called proofing the yeast.
  • Meanwhile, warm your remaining ½ cup of water and dissolve the 4 teaspoons of salt into it.
  • After 10 minutes the yeast will begin to bubble and appear foamy.
  • Add in the riced potato and turn the mixer onto low.
  • Slowly begin to add in the 5 cups of flour, cup by cup.
  • Once the flour has all been added, slowly stream in the remaining salted water and olive oil.
  • Turn the mixer up to a medium speed and allow the dough hook to knead the dough for 10 minutes, stopping every 2-3 minutes to scrape the dough from the hook.
  • The dough should be sticky at first then smooth and elastic as it continues to come together.

*If the dough appears to be too sticky after 5 minutes, add in more flour in Tablespoon increments. 

*If the dough appears to be too dry after 5 minutes, add in more water in Tablespoon increments.

  • After 10 minutes, remove the dough from the mixing bowl and place onto a lightly floured surface.
  • Knead the dough once or twice to form into a smooth ball.
  • Place the dough ball into a large bowl that has been lightly oiled.
  • Cover the top of the bowl with plastic wrap, and sit someplace warm for 1 hour.
  • Meanwhile, heat a large sauté pan over medium heat.
  • Add in the butter and olive oil.
  • Once the butter is melted, add in the sliced shallots and sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon of salt.
  • Stir the shallots to combine and turn down the heat to low/medium heat.
  • Shallots will become translucent, if they are browning too quickly – turn down your heat.
  • Once shallots are translucent and soft, add in 1 teaspoon of brown sugar and 1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar- stir to combine.
  • Reduce the heat to low and continue to cook shallots for about 15-20 minutes .
  • Remove from the heat and set aside.
  • After 1 hour the dough should have doubled in size.
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees and place your rack in the bottom third of the oven.
  • Prepare a ½ sheet pan (rimmed cookie sheet 13×18 inches) by lightly oiling the bottom & sides with 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil, and then sprinkle the cornmeal onto the bottom of the baking sheet.
  • Remove the punched down dough from the bowl and place onto the prepared baking sheet.
  • With your fingers and palms of your hands gently press down into the dough, spreading the dough evenly to fit the pan. Start in the middle and move the dough to the outward edges.
  • Lightly cover the dough with plastic wrap and allow rising again for 15 minutes.
  • Remove the plastic wrap and sprinkle dough with rosemary, thyme, and caramelized shallots.
  • Using the tips of your fingers, make dents over the surface of the dough, pushing the herbs and shallots into the dough.
  • Evenly drizzle the remaining ¼ cup of olive oil over the surface of the dough.
  • Place into the preheated 400 degree on the oven, and bake for 15-20 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and cool the sheet pan over a wire rack.
  • Cut and serve.





19 comments… add one
  • Chef Debbi November 14, 2011, 4:01 am

    Do I foresee a spring wedding perhaps? Lovely focaccia!

    • cheflouisemellor November 14, 2011, 4:19 am

      Ahhhh Debbi, it’s complicated…

  • Lana November 14, 2011, 4:08 pm

    Beautiful focaccia, Louise! I have made it many times, but never with potato dough, which means I get to try something new!
    That Thanksgiving menu looks divine and I know that you had a fabulous dinner. Looking forward to browsing all the blogs I missed since I left for Serbia in July:)

    • ChefLouiseMellor November 15, 2011, 8:39 pm

      Lana, USA misses you… Enjoy your holidays.

  • sippitysup November 14, 2011, 9:55 pm

    So well written you super hot super hero! GREG

  • Kim Bee November 14, 2011, 10:59 pm

    New fan courtesy of Tori. Found you over there and linked over. I love your writing style. And the recipe is wonderful. Totally super hero worthy! Have a fantastic week!

    • ChefLouiseMellor November 15, 2011, 8:38 pm

      Kim Bee, thanks for coming over- I just met Tori, she is lovely!

  • Fuji Mama November 15, 2011, 8:47 pm

    I LOVED this bread and so did my girls!! Thank goodness for amazing super heroes like you! And thank goodness for your friendship. What a blessing you are!

    • ChefLouiseMellor November 17, 2011, 5:43 pm

      love your avatar picture, so cute- gotta figure out where I do that?

  • Renee Fontes November 17, 2011, 12:58 am

    The directions look hard, but you make it look easy. Your pictures are beautiful!.

    • ChefLouiseMellor November 17, 2011, 5:42 pm

      Thanks Renee, it is really easy- I was inspired by Debbi’s bread.

  • Lentil Breakdown November 27, 2011, 2:03 am

    Thanks for the blow-by-blow focaccia account! That’s an interesting recipe, and you made it fun to watch, too!

  • Meagan December 15, 2011, 9:05 pm

    This looks delectable. I can’t wait to try this recipe soon. Maybe with a creamy soup recipe!

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