- Cuisine: Italian, Mediterranean, Southern Italian
- Course: Breakfast, Entree, Pasta & Rice, Soup
- Skill Level: Moderate
- Yield : 2 to 3 loaves
- Servings : 8-12
- Prep Time : 20m
- Cook Time : 20m
- Ready In : 3:00 h
This information is per serving.
Calories from Fat35
Serving:1/4 loaf (80g)
Focaccia Barese (Bari Focaccia) from the Southern Italian state of Apulia (Pulia) is nothing like the flat, chew, bread served by many Italian-American restaurants or available in stores throughout the United States. Some stores carry Bari style focaccia, but like most American made foods it neither looks nor tastes like the real thing.
Italian focaccia, like most Italian foods, varies by region and even city or town. Many cooks immigrated from Naples bringing Napolitana style cooking to the United States and other countries.
When I informed a cousin that Americans dip pieces of focaccia in olive oil, he asked, “Why do Americans dip focaccia in olive oil, it already has olive oil?” The Bari-style focaccia is made with fresh or canned tomatoes or tomato sauce and drizzled with lots of olive oil.
Unlike many American focaccias, Focaccia Barese has a light, fluffy texture closer to American sliced breads than to traditional Italian breads. The other difference is the thickness. While many American made focaccias are thin (1″ or less), Focaccia Barese can be 2 to 3 inches thick. It looks more like a thick cheese pizza than flat bread.
Focaccia dates back to ancient Rome, and was the forerunner of the modern pizza. Most Italian-American restaurants serve a thin, plain, flatbread focaccia you can dip in olive oil with fresh ground black pepper and/or balsamic vinegar.
This recipe for Focaccia Barese uses my basic stand mixer bread dough, but you can use other yeast bread doughs including doughs made with potato. The recipe makes 2 to 3 loaves. Thin loaves (about 1-inch baked) are ideal for sandwiches and thicker loaves for serving with meals.
With or Without Potatoes?
Focaccia Barese can be made with or without potatoes. Unlike flour and yeast, potatoes are/were seasonal in Italy. If potatoes are not available doesn’t mean you cannot make focaccia. My mother made focaccia on a weekly basis without potatoes. Unfortunately, she passed away before I could ask her why. I know my grandmother added potatoes to baked chicken just like my mother.
If you want to try this recipe with potatoes, you can add 1/2 to one cup (30 to 60 g) of instant potato flakes or 1 cup (150 g) of cooked mashed potatoes (without milk and butter). You can leave the amount of flour the same for thick focaccia or reduce the flour by 1/4 to 1/2 cup (30 to 60 g).
Nutritional information is based on making 2 loaves.
- Fresh tomato is very low in calories and sodium. Use as much as you want in this recipe.
- Baking pans can be round or square. You can also make one large Focaccia using a 12 x 18 baking sheet.
- Leftovers can be frozen for up to six months.
Other Yeast Bread Recipes
- 1 recipe Basic Bread Dough or Basic Whole Wheat Dough
- 1 large (100 g) Roma or other tomato, chopped
- 1 garlic clove minced (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon (1 g) dried oregano
- 2-3 teaspoons (10-15 ml) extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt or medium sea salt
- Non-stick cooking spray
- Olive oil for drizzling if desired
Method of Preparation
In a small bowl, combine tomato, garlic, oregano and oil. Set aside until Step 4.
Coat 2 or 3 9-inch cake pans, depending on desired thickness with cooking spray. After dough has doubled in bulk the first time, divide it between the pans. Press dough into the pan for uniform thickness.
Using your thumb and index fingers, pinch dough to form small pockets for tomato pieces. Press a piece of tomato into each pocket. Drizzle with olive oil or liquid from the marinated tomato if desired. Cover and place pans in a warm area away from drafts 30 to 60 minutes or until doubled in bulk.
Preheat oven to 400°F (205°C). Bake 20 minutes or until golden brown. Check thin focaccia after 15 minutes to prevent over baking.
Remove focaccia from oven and immediately remove from pans onto a wire rake to cool. Cool 10 to 15 minutes before cutting. Enjoy warm or cold.