Sauerkraut and Potato Focaccia

Starter:

1/2 Cup All Purpose Flour

1/2 Cup Barley Flour

1/4 Teaspoon Dry Active Yeast

1/2 Cup Water

Dough:

2 Cups All Purpose Flour

1/2 Cup Rye Flour

1/2 Cup Whole Wheat Flour

2 Tablespoons Dark Brown Sugar, Firmly Packed

1 Teaspoon Salt

1 3/4 Teaspoons Dry Active Yeast

2 Cups Sauerkraut, Drained

3/4 Cups Water

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

Topping:

1 Pound Red-Skinned Potatoes

1/2 Medium Red Onion, Thinly Sliced

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

Kosher Salt or Coarse Sea Salt

The day or night before hand, mix together all of the ingredients for the starter in a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and leave out in a warm place at least overnight, or for 8 - 24 hours. The longer amount of time is better for developing flavor in the bread, but a minimum of 8 hours with certainly suffice.

Once the starter has sat for as much time as you're willing to give it, start working on the main dough by combining the flours. Take your drained sauerkraut, squeeze out as much extra liquid as possible, and toss it in the flour to coat. Add this mixture, along with the remaining dough ingredients into the bowl of starter. Mix thoroughly, and install the bread hook attachment in your stand mixer once the dough has come together. Allow the machine to knead on a slow speed for about 10 minutes. This makes for a fairly loose, sticky dough, so don't panic if it seems fairly wet.

Transfer the dough into a lightly-grease, clean bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees, and lightly grease a 10 x 15-inch jellyroll pan.

Punch down the risen dough gently, and scrape it out onto your prepared pan. Use your finger tips to press it out evenly into the jellyroll shape, leaving nooks and crannies as you go. Set aside while you prepare the topping.

A mandoline will make the process go faster, but you can also use a very sharp knife (and a decent dose of patience). Slice the potatoes to approximately 2 mm in thickness, and then slice the onions just slightly thicker since they will cook faster. Toss both in the olive oil until thoroughly coated, and apply the topping in an even layer over the unbaked focaccia, trying not to overlap slices of potatoes. Sprinkle lightly with salt.

Slide your loaf into the oven, and bake for 25 - 30 minutes, until golden brown all over, the potatoes are fork-tender, and the onions are slightly crispy around the edges. Let cool before slicing.

©Hannah Kaminsky http://www.bittersweetblog.com