If you ever travel to Bari, the main city in Puglia (Italy’s heel), right from the airport you will be welcomed by the flavor of their signature dish, the focaccia barese (i.e. from Bari). Even the wall at the bar will make you super clear what is the gastronomic product that better identifies with the city, with a poetic description of the focaccia barese recipe.
Focaccia barese is everywhere in Puglia. Every single bakery, every food shop, but also every beach will sell their own version of this delicious focaccia. The traditional focaccia barese recipe has countless customizations, from thinner to thicker, with or without potatoes, but all of them share some cornerstones:
- they are cooked in the oven in a typical iron pan, that must be cleaned only with oil (never water!). This pan is the only one that will allow the focaccia to be super crispy outside. I have found online only this one (it seems it’s pretty impossible to find it abroad..), identical to the one I own!
- high-quality EVO oil is key to the taste of this delicious focaccia. Always use the best one you can find! After some searches, I foudn this one for you:
- cherry tomatoes are the best one for this preparation
- the contrast between the crispiness of the crust and the soft inside is what makes this focaccia something you will never forget!
You will love your focaccia barese in any moment of the day. People from Bari eat it as a snack, for dinner, and often bring it to one of the wonderful beaches that are everywhere in Puglia (don’t you believe me? here a nice summary).
But now, time to share with you my focaccia barese recipe. It’s not difficult, believe me!
- 1 Large bowl to prepare the dough
- 1 iron pan (40 cm in diameter). the most important tool in this recipe!
- 1 spoon
- 1 pot to cook the potatoes
- 300 gr "00" flour It's the most refined flour. A general purpose will go fine
- 200 gr remilled semolina flour
- 150 gr mashed potatoes
- 400 ml water
- 15 gr salt (dough)
- 3 gr active dry yeast
- 2 tbsp EVO oil (dough)
- q.s. cherry tomatoes enough to cover the focaccia surface
- q.s. olives
- q.s. oregano
- q.s. salt (topping)
- q.s. EVO oil (topping)
- Start boiling the potatoes, peeling and mashing them, same as you would do to prepare mashed potatoes. Let me them cool down to ambient temperature.
- In a bowl, start mixing the flours with the yeast. I usually use active dry yeast, but fresh yeast will work the same. In that case, I would use about 10 gr.
- Time for the mashed potatoes to come in! Be sure they are not warm, not a good thing for the yeast.
- Now add the water. You can add it all at once, it will work anyway! Mix with your hands or with a fork… I usually start with the fork and complete with my hands to work the dough.
- No focaccia will be a focaccia without EVO oil. Choose a good one, it is an important ingredient, giving the right texture and taste to your focaccia barese!
- When the dough has absorbed the EVO oil, time to add the salt. Always keep on mixing.
- You should get to an unfinished dough like the one in the picture. It is still rough, just cover it with a plastic film and let it rest for 15 minutes.
- After the first rest, do what we call "fare le pieghe". It's better explained in the video, lol. This will give strength to the gluten network. This will be done twice. The schema is: 15 minuts rest – folding – 15 minutes rest – folding – 15 minutes rest.
- After this, take your iron pan and grease it with plentiful EVO oil. Stretch the dough to make it fill the pan and…
- … let it rest for 2.5 – 3 hours until it doubles. What you will get is a wonderfully risen dough like this. Isn't it a Beauty? 🙂
- Time to be messy now! Break the cherry tomatoes and put them as a topping. Don't spread all the juices on you, the focaccia needs them!
- Now add oregano and salt according to taste (but don't be shy with oregano!), some EVO oil again and eventually fill all the blanks with olives. It's something your children will love doing, if you want. The final result is the focaccia ready for the oven…
- … that should be hot (the hotter the better). After a few attempts, my best results have been with 280 °C, for about 30-35 minutes. The final result is something that if you try once… it won't be the last! Buon appetito 🙂
Let me know in the comments if you will try this recipe. Personally I believe focaccia barese is the best focaccia that you will find in Italy… can’t wait to read if you agree!
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