The main ingredients of Focaccia Barese are simple, but the simplicity is what makes this bread shine. Made with semolina flour, potatoes, cherry tomatoes, and juicy olives, it makes a great pair with any Italian meal. This focaccia has a chewy dough and a crispy crust, and is usually topped with oregano for an authentic Italian flavour. It is traditionally made in a round steel pan before baking in a wood-fired oven, but great Focaccia Barese can be made from home using a pizza pan or regular tin.
Here's a simple recipe to make traditional and great-quality Focaccia Barese.
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 100g of plain flour
- 100g of semolina flour
- 50g of strong bread flour
- 5g fresh yeast
- 150ml water
- 75g of potatoes (peeled and cubed)
- 250g cherry tomatoes
- 10 black olives (or more for olive lovers!)
- Dried oregano
- Black pepper
- Combine the three types of flour in a bowl, mixing thoroughly. Then, take 50g of the flour mixture and place into a separate bowl.
- In another bowl, dissolve the yeast in 50ml water, using a whisk. Then pour it over the 50g flour mix and stir to combine. Wrap the bowl in cling film and leave in a proving cupboard (or any warm and dry place) for at least 2 hours.
- As you wait for the bread to prove, boil the cubed potatoes until soft. Then drain and mash until fine.
- After 2 hours, the bread should have double inside, with bubbles dotting the surface. This is the starter.
- Now take the starter and add it to the rest of the flour mix. Then pour over the remaining water (little portions at a time) and fold it through the mixture. Next, add the mashed potatoes and knead until ready (at this point, it could be preferable to use an electric mixer).
- Now add a tablespoon of oil and a handful of salt and knead in. The dough will still be slightly sticky, so continue to knead until it appears smooth and elastic. This should take around ten minutes.
- When the dough is ready, dust a large work surface with flour and transfer the dough to it. Scatter more flour over the dough, flatten it, and fold it in half. Do this again with the longer side before shaping the dough into a ball and placing it, folded side down, into a large bowl. Leave the dough to prove for another 3 hours.
- Take the tin you will be using to bake the Focaccia and grease it with a generous amount of olive oil (you can also add grease-proof paper at this point if you wish). Then add the dough to the tin or Focaccia pan and spread it to the edges with your fingers. Cover with a kitchen towel and prove for 30 minutes.
- Slice the cherry tomatoes in half and season them with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place them all over the focaccia with the olives. Finally, sprinkle over some more olive oil and dried oregano. Leave to rest for another hour.
- Now it’s finally time to bake the dough! Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6. Place the focaccia in the middle of the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, until deeply golden.
- Remove from the oven, allow to cool, and eat!