Pull Apart Herb Focaccia Rolls

This is a recipe I came up with on a snowy day when I was not able to leave the house but wanted some fresh bread to go with soup. It is similar to the fig and raspberry focaccia recipe I have previously posted but uses instant mashed potatoes (a good food storage item that I always have on hand for emergencies when I am out of fresh potatoes.) This is a wet dough, closer to a batter and requires no kneading, just a good size bowl and a spoon. You drop the batter into the prepared pan and then once baked, you pull the rolls apart. They are not uniform but make lovely, pillowy soft, flavorful herb focaccia style rolls. You can also make a dairy free version using margarine and almond milk.

Pull Apart Herb Focaccia Rolls
1 Tbsp. instant yeast
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 c. very warm water
2-3/4 c. water
1/4 c. butter or dairy free margarine
1 c. milk or almond milk
1 (6.4 oz) pkg. instant mashed potatoes
1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil
1-1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1-1/2 c. mashed potatoes (made from the instant packet)
3 c. 00 or regular flour

Herb Olive Oil Topping
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. dried marjoram
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
pinch of dried basil

In a large bowl combine yeast, sugar and 1 c. warm water. Whisk and let sit 10 minutes until foamy. While the yeast is sitting, combine in a sauce pan 2-3/4 c. water with butter. Bring to a boil on medium high heat. Add milk then remove from the burner and whisk in instant mashed potatoes. Let sit for 1 minute or two to thicken and hydrate. Measure out 1-1/2 c. mashed potatoes for the dough and save the rest for another use. To the yeast mixture add olive oil and salt and whisk to combine. Add 1-1/2 c. prepared mashed potatoes. Whisk until well mixed. Add 1 c. flour and use a spoon to incorporate. Add 1-1/2 c. more flour. It will be very sticky. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour. Then stir in 1/2 c. more flour. It will still be very wet. Spray a metal 9×13 pan and fit a piece of parchment into the pan. Drop by soup spoonfuls into the prepared pan. You want 20-24 scoops of dough to form the rolls. They should be right next to each other. No need for space in between individual rolls. It will seem very gloppy but that is OK. Cover with a tea towel and let rise 45 minutes. Combine the herb olive oil ingredients and stir to dissolve salt somewhat. Brush tops of the rolls with herb olive oil and bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes until risen and light. Remove to a rack and let sit 10 minutes then pull apart to serve. Makes 20-24 rolls.

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