Black Pepper and Chive Potato Focaccia for the Irish

potato focaccia

For some, like my family, March is a crazy month.

If you’re not Irish, you’d say, “Well, what’s the big deal about March?” If you are, then “Sláinte!” is probably your word of choice for every party, parade and meeting of the bagpipes (with Guinness in hand of course).

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black pepper and chive potato focaccia

St. Patrick’s Day All Year Long

I married into a deeply Irish-American family. They have an immense community of fellow Irish men, women and children who attend every gathering (which typically happens at the pub). From the beginning, I learned that St. Patrick’s Day is not just celebrated on March 17th. That took this Polish girl by surprise. Oh no, we party with the Irish all year! The culmination of the celebrations come in February and March when every church, hall and gymnasium is packed with the Irish on a weekly basis.

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black pepper and chive potato focaccia

Therefore, (like the good Irish-in-law that I am) I’ve upped my game with the Irish recipes. I still have some work to do on my Corned Beef and I can’t quite get my Soda Bread as moist as Pam Johnson’s but your girl can cook a potato.

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Potato Foccacia

black pepper and chive potato focaccia

Black Pepper and Chive Potato Focaccia

So, I thought Potato Focaccia would be a perfect option for the dinner table on St. Patrick’s Day. You begin by adding riced or grated cooked potatoes to an olive oil based dough. This adds starch and moisture to make the bread extra springy. We throw in fresh chives for savoriness and cracked black pepper for a little spice. Then, you bathe the dough in olive oil when it goes into the pan to rest for it’s final rise.

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black pepper and chive potato focaccia

Once it reaches peak fluffiness, you press the Potato Focaccia dough to make pock marks and a mixture of water and salt is poured over the holes. This adds pockets of salt to the bread and prevents it from rising too much. Into the oven it goes to get it’s beautifully deep golden color and then it’s brushed with a final layer of olive oil to keep that crispy crunchy crust. When it comes out of the oven, it smells like a big savory, crunchy potato chip. Just try not to burn yourself when you can’t help but grab a “too-hot” piece!

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black pepper and chive potato focaccia

A Good Irish-American Girl

I know focaccia is an Italian bread and olive oil is not typically used in Irish dishes but if I didn’t add in my own spin, I wouldn’t truly be Irish-American! Need some desserts too? Try these Mini Chocolate Cupcakes but instead of coffee, pour in some Guinness and color the buttercream green to get that Irish feel. Like something more tart? Sub out the lemons for key limes in this Lemon Curd recipe to make Key Lime Pie.

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black pepper and chive potato focaccia


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potato focaccia

Black Pepper and Chive Potato Focaccia

  • Author: Melissa-Smith
  • Prep Time: 3 hours
  • Cook Time: 30-40 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours and 40 minutes
  • Yield: 1 thick 12″ round or 2 thinner 12″ rounds 1x


This recipe is perfect to serve as a side with dinner, plain with a dab of butter or sliced in half for a sandwich. It has a very moist interior with a crispy, crunchy crust.


  • 2 1/2 cups warm water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil plus more for drizzling, about 1/2 cup
  • 2 teaspoons dry yeast
  • 1# 11 ounces bread flour
  • 8 ounces cooked, riced or grated potatoes, with skins on (about 2 russet potatoes)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives, plus batons for garnish


  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the hook attachment, combine the water and yeast and let sit about five minutes to activate. Add the olive oil and whisk to combine.
  2. Add in the flour and mix on low until combined.
  3. Next, add the potatoes, salt, black pepper and chives and mix on medium to medium high speed until gluten forms (about 15 minutes). The dough will go from looking broken to smooth quickly so be sure to watch to ensure over mixing. The tell tale sign of readiness is when the dough starts to pull completely away from the sides of the bowl while being mixed.
  4. With wet hands, pull the dough out and create a smooth top. Place the dough in a well oiled bowl and cover to let rise.
  5. When the dough has doubled in size, heavily drizzle a 12″ round cast iron pan or sheet tray with olive oil. This will ensure the dough doesn’t stick, so don’t be shy.
  6. Place the dough into the pan and gently stretch to fill the pan completely. Be gentle as to not lose the air you’ve added from the rising process. Let the dough rest another 30-45 minutes until fluffy.
  7. While the dough rests preheat the oven to 375F. In a small bowl mix 1/2 cup of warm water with 3 tablespoons of salt and stir until the salt is dissolved.
  8. Once the dough is fluffy, make pock marks in the dough using your first 3 fingers. Be sure to press all the way to the bottom of the pan, creating an impressive mark. Sprinkle the entire dough with salt water, filling the holes. Garnish with the chive batons.
  9. Bake for 30-40 minutes until deeply golden brown.
  10. Remove from the oven and immediately remove the focaccia from the pan and place onto a wire rack to cool. Brush with more olive oil to coat.
  11. Let cool about 20 minutes and slice to serve.


The key to this dough is to mix it just right – too soon and you won’t have enough structure but too late the dough will be too soft to handle. As soon as the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, you know it’s ready!

Keywords: bread, focaccia, potato, Irish recipe, St. Patrick’s Day, yeast dough, potato dough, olive oil, olive oil bread, crunchy, moist

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