Bari-style Focaccia BreadVIEW ALL POSTS
The focaccia is the snack of excellence. There is no time of day when you can not eat it. Read how we cook it and try it yourself!
Bari-style Focaccia Bread
- 334 calories per serving
- Difficulty: medium
- Preparation: 50 min
- Cooking: 20 min
- Cost: low
- Note: +8-12 hours of rest
The focaccia is the snack of excellence. There is no time of day when it is more appropriate to eat it, in fact in the city bakeries it is ready from the first hour of the morning, and the scent that emanates spreads through the streets. It is used to replace lunch or dinner but is eaten at any other time of the day, and it is not uncommon to meet people who enjoy it quietly on the street, forced to be careful because, at every bite, you run the risk of tomatoes falling and staining your clothes. The boys take it to school, wrapped in oiled paper, to have a snack during the break or when they skip lessons.
On the beach, it becomes the meal of a long day spent under an umbrella. It is the meal that is consumed during football matches in the company of friends, accompanied, in this case, by the inevitable mortadella. In short, from early morning until late in the evening, the focaccia follows the day. It is difficult to describe every taste sensation that the Bari focaccia conveys, the only way to understand what we say is to visit a bakery in Bari and buy it as soon as it comes out of the oven.
Or try this recipe described here in great detail.
Ingredients for the mixture:
- Mother yeast ¾ cup + 3 tbsp
- Flour 1 cups + ¾ cup + 2 tbsp
- Durum wheat 1 cups + 3 tbsp
- Water 1 cups + ¼ cup + 3 tbsp
- Potatoes 7 oz
- Extra virgin olive oil 3 tbsp + 2 tsp
- Salt up to 2 tsp
- Cherry tomatoes 14 oz
- Pickled olives 20
- Oregano to taste
- Extra virgin olive oil to taste
- Salt to taste
For oiling up the mixture and the tray:
- Extra virgin olive oil to taste
How to prepare the focaccia barese
To prepare the Bari focaccia, start by boiling a potato, then peel it and mash it. Then pour the soft wheat flour and the re-milled durum wheat into a bowl of a mixer. If you do not have a blender, pour into a bowl and then knead by hand.
Add the mashed potato, salt, and the mother yeast in a single piece; remember, the mother yeast will have to be refreshed for at least 4 hours.
Sprinkle some water and operate the mixer at low speed, adding the rest of the water. If you find yourself working in a warm environment, we recommend adding very cold water, otherwise, it can be at room temperature; in all, you will need a cup and a half. Finally, add the oil, which will serve to give the product elasticity and crispness. After the first 5 minutes, increase the speed of the mixer and continue kneading for 15 minutes: you will need to press the dough until it detaches well from the bowl and is completely smooth and elastic, i.e., when it starts to "crackle," the noise that makes the dough when it fills with bubbles. If you notice that the mixture is struggling to come off, you can add a pinch of flour to the edges of the bowl to facilitate the operation. Be careful not to add too much flour to avoid hardening the dough too much.
Once the dough is ready, remove it from the mixer hook. Oil the work surface, which must not be made of wood; otherwise, the oil will leave an indelible stain, and arrange the dough, turning it over to grease it on both sides. Work it just enough to form two balls of about the same size.
Take a medium-sized tray and oil it, helping yourself with a brush to sprinkle better. It is important that the tray is not too large to allow the two balls to be close together. The proximity will enable them to grow better. Then place the dough balls in the oiled tray. It is the rest phase: leave the dough at room temperature, without covering it, for about 8-12 hours. If you find yourself in an environment that exceeds 68F, your dough will rise in 8 hours; if, on the other hand, your environment will be less hot, it may take up to 12 hours. After this time, you will notice that your dough will have risen and will have formed a light crust on the surface. To find out if the dough has expanded correctly and has not collapsed, you will need to do a test: lightly squeeze the surface with a finger, the mixture will have to return to its initial shape because it is sufficiently elastic.
Now that your dough is ready, you can roll it out and season the focaccia: take a baking pan and oil it, spreading the oil throughout the pan with your hands or a brush. Place a ball of dough in the center, turning it upside down to grease it on both sides, and press it with your fingers to spread it until it covers the entire surface of the pan.
Once the dough is spread, break the cherry tomatoes in half with your hands to drain all the juice and seeds and place them facing down, until the entire surface of the focaccia is filled. Now put the olives, oil again, add a pinch of salt, and dried oregano. Cook your focaccia in a static (or ventilated) preheated oven at maximum power for 20 minutes. The ideal would be 520F, but if your oven does not reach this temperature, just set it to maximum power, usually 480F. If you have a refractory stone, place it on the low shelf of the oven and preheat for at least 40 minutes. Once baked, the focaccia must be crispy. If you can, serve the warm focaccia, but you can enjoy it at any time of the day!
Putting potatoes in the dough will allow you to keep the Bari focaccia longer, holding the fragrance almost intact. Bari focaccia can be kept at room temperature for 3-4 days. If you have rested the two dough balls, but for any reason, you do not want, or you cannot cook the second immediately, you can keep it in the refrigerator until the next use for a maximum of 2 days. Before rolling out the dough, however, it must be tempered at room temperature for at least 3-4 hours. If, on the other hand, you do not have time to wait for the rising times, you can immediately keep the dough in the fridge for a couple of days at most. Before using it, it must be left to rise at room temperature for at least 12 hours.
You can also prepare Bari focaccia with brewer's yeast: in this case, use fresh brewer's yeast (or dehydrated brewer's yeast) and dissolve in water. Once the dough is formed, let it rise at room temperature for 2-3 hours. The mixture can also be used to prepare other types of focaccia or bread. To season the Bari focaccia, you can also choose onions and capers: an unforgettable delicacy!
Bari focaccia should be tasted hot, and, in its simplicity, it manages to express, with each bite, many different flavors, depending on where you bite it. A central bite almost certainly meets the tomato and, sometimes, an olive (watch out for the core!). If you eat the edge (which must be a little scorched), the flavor will be different. If the teeth sink into a more humid area, we will have a still different feeling, and if we happen to crush some seeds of the tomato itself, that taste will change again. And then there is the bottom, infused with olive oil, crispy in the best way.