Traditional Focaccia Barese, with potatoes in the dough is a type of focaccia from Puglia, in Southern Italy. It is not too tall, soft in the middle, with a nice crunch on the edges. It is typically dressed with cherry tomatoes and black or green olives on top.
Traditional focaccia barese
"Barese" means "from Bari", that is the town in Southeast Italy where the focaccia was first born. Nonetheless it is very popular all over Italy. To be considered focaccia barese it has to follow some requirements, among which having semolina in the dough and being not too tall. Bake it in a 12-inch pizza pan and it will come perfectly soft in the middle, with crispy edges, and tasty from the tomatoes and olives on top.
Italy has so many different types of focaccia. We also like one typical of the North of Italy: focaccia genovese.
All in all, the dough is simple and comes together easily either in a stand mixer or in a bowl. In order of appearance, here are the ingredients you will need to make a traditional focaccia barese:
- dry yeast (or fresh yeast)
- all-purpose flour
- semolina flour (semola rimacinata, in Italian)
- yellow flesh potato, peeled, boiled, mashed, and cooled
- a good quality evo oil
For the topping:
- ripe cherry tomatoes
- pitted black or green olives (Baresane if you can find them, I used Taggiasche olives)
- a good quality evo oil
- salt & pepper
- While the dough is rising, covered in an oiled bowl, prepare the topping. Wash, and cut the ripe tomatoes in half. Place them in a bowl, add the olives, dress with evo oil, salt, pepper, and a pinch of oregano. Let sit to release the juices and soften.
- Before placing the tomatoes, cut side down, and the olives on the surface of the pizza, squish the tomato halves a bit, then arrange them all over the pizza pressing to let them sink in the dough. Then, add the juices from the tomatoes, and drizzle more oil all over. Sprinkle with oregano. Let sit for 30 more minutes.
Time to bake!
- Preheat the oven to 220°C /425°F. Place the racks one on the lower shelf and one on the middle.
- Place the focaccia first on the lower rack and cook it for 8-10 minutes. This will create a lovely crust at the bottom and on the edges.
- After that, move the focaccia to the middle rack and cook for an additional 8-10 minutes or until golden all over. If the top needs more color, turn on the grill for a minute or less, checking that it doesn't burn.
Traditional focaccia barese is great as a snack, or part of an appetizer or bread platter. Also, cut into wedges can be packed for a picnic. It is good either warm or cold. In Italy, it is considered a street food, mostly sold at panificio (bakery) or homebaked with love.
How to store it
This focaccia keeps well for a couple of days, staying soft because of the addition of the potatoes. Wrap it in plastic, and store in the bread basket. Or place in a ziplock bag and freeze it to enjoy later. To reheat it, place in a warm oven and it will get as good as fresly baked.Print