Focaccia Barese is one of the most appreciated and typical dishes of the Apulia region. Precisely from Bari, it’s characterized by a very soft dough topped with cherry tomatoes, olives, oregano and olive oil.
Thick, with a crisp edge, slightly greasy and a very soft texture, Focaccia Barese is a real speciality without comparison! Unlike her sister from Genoa, it is characterized by tomatoes inserted in the dough and oregano rain, all seasoned with olives. Also the Focaccia Barese is higher than the focaccia from Genoa (around 3 cm) and does not need the addition of brine. Aren’t you already hungry? Then check out where to find it in Berlin!
A hint of history
This recipe was probably born in Altamura, or according to others in Laterza, to exploit the initial heat of the wood-burning oven, while expecting it to reach the ideal temperature to bake durum wheat bread. In the past, people brought baking sheets of pasta or meat, as well as bread forms to be baked in stove common ovens. The owners did not sell products, but a service: cooking. How incredible is this?
Do you know that there are delicious variations to the original? In particular three variants:
- focaccia with fresh cherry tomatoes and/or black olives from Bari;
- potatoes’s focaccia, where the whole surface is covered with about 5 mm thick potato slices;
- white focaccia topped with salt and rosemary.
Did you know the differences? Which one do you prefer? Well, we understand if you are undecided as all three are really irresistible! It means that to choose our favorite, we will have to hurry and taste them all!
And if you feel like trying something totally new and revolutionary, know that today the focaccia has undergone several transformations through the addition of other ingredients placed on its surface: peppers, eggplant, onions and other types of vegetables. It’s always amazing, no matter what you put on top!
A funny and proud story behind its fame
The legend of the focaccia from Bari owes its popularity in recent years thanks to a true story. A few years ago the American giant McDonald’s opened a fast food restaurant in the small town of Altamura in the same street where there was a baker, owned by Matteo Di Gesù, who sold the famous southern focaccia. It’s incredible because the baker made the American giant close its doors, forcing him to escape, and he remains especially famous for his statement: “the uniqueness of flavors wins over the reproducibility of the menus”. Well, he had a point, didn’t he? As food lovers, we know how essential unique taste and quality are! And there is another curiosity about this anecdote: the director Nico Cirasola dedicated the documentary “Focaccia blues” to Matteo Di Gesù and his incredible story.
Today, Focaccia Barese is very important in the Apulian city. It often replaces lunch, accompanies dinners or is tasted at any time of the day to have a delicious snack.
Do you feel like going to Apulia now? I betcha!
The original recipe
For the dough
- 200 grams of flour ‘0
- 200 grams of hard wheat semolina
- 100 grams of flour manitoba
- 300 grams of water at mild temperature
- 150 grams of whole potatoes
- 15 grams of salt
- 2 ½ tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons of dried brewer’s yeast (4 gr)
- 500 grams of cherry tomatoes
- 15 – 20 black olives
- extra virgin olive oil
- dried oregano
Mix all the flours together and remember to save 95 grams from later, add yeast and 100 grams of water, to form a soft yeast. Cover with a film and let it rise for about 2 hours. In the meantime boil and mash the potatoes to obtain a puree. Let them cool completely and add them to the dough. Mix the it until it is soft and the liquids are not completely absorbed, then add the oil, spoon after spoon. Sprinkle the dough, with the hands dirty with flour fold it twice a portafoglio. The dough at this point should have taken shape so put it in a bowl, cover it with a film and let it rise for about 3 hours.
When the dough is ready to be put in the pan, roll out in a slightly oiled baking pan tapping with your fingertips, enlarging the dough well. At this point let rise for another 30 minutes. Meanwhile cut the tomatoes in half, season them all together in a bowl with salt, oil and oregano.And decorate your focaccia with them and the olives, fll well and add a bit of cherry juice for an extra flavor. A little bit of oil, oregano and a pinch of salt on the top and let rise for at least 1 h and a half. The focaccia is then ready to be cooked in the oven (200 degrees) for about 25 minutes.
P.S. A little tip: if you put onions under the dough in the oven, the flavor of the focaccia will be even crazier!
It takes a bit of time but every second is worth it and it is a great way to spend a wintery Sunday!
So now, what are you waiting for to make your own tasty version? Get to work and you won’t regret it!