Bread & Pizza Italian Regional Recipes Starters

Apulian Focaccia

Apulian focaccia is a flatbread that one doesn’t easily forget: its dough is soft and pliable, and should never be too chewy. Its special consistency is achieved through the use of durum-wheat semolina and potatoes, alongside white flour.

We love garnishing it with tomatoes, but as every wide-spread tradition it can be prepared in lots of different variants. Try topping it with olives and we can guarantee the final result will still be absolutely scrumptious.


Serves: 6 | Preparation time: 30 mins + 2 h to rise | Cooking time: 25-30 mins

  • Italian 00 white flour / All-Purpose flour: 300 g
  • Durum-wheat semolina flour: 200 g
  • Water: 300 ml
  • Cherry tomatoes: 300 g or whole pitted olives, green or black: 100 g
  • Potatoes, small sized: 2 – or even 1 medium sized
  • Dried yeast: 30 g
  • Salt: 15 g
  • Sugar: 6 g
  • Oregano, dried: to taste
  • Extra virgin olive oil: about 4 tbsp for the dough and to taste for garnishing

Method

Peel the potatoes and boil them in unsalted water until they’re soft and cooked through. Crush the potatoes in a bowl.

Mix the Italian 00 white flour and the semolina flour together in a large bowl; create a hole in the centre of the flour and pour in the crushed potatoes.
Dissolve the yeast in 100 ml of water, making sure that it is lukewarm. If the water is too hot or too cold, it will not activate the yeast, and your focaccia will not rise.

Add the yeast to the dough and start kneading it.

Whilst kneading the dough, gradually add the oil, the salt, the sugar and the remaining water to the mixture. Your dough should be very soft and slightly wet, with a particularly sticky surface.

Cover the bowl with a damp kitchen cloth and leave the dough to rest for at least two hours. The dough must not be put to rest in the fridge, but rather in a place with a constant mild temperature; it should rise to double its size.

Pre-heat the oven at 180°C.

Spread out the dough on a greased baking tray, distributing it evenly: according to the tradition, this step is completed only using one’s hands, and never a rolling pin. The tip of the fingers will help create the characteristic dimples where the oil collects in little puddles.  

Distribute the cherry tomatoes on top of the focaccia, gently pushing them into the dough to ensure they adhere to its surface. Add a generous sprinkle of dried oregano, some salt grains and just a drizzle of oil.

Bake the focaccia at 180°C for 25 to 30 minutes and you’re ready to serve! 

Tip: Instead of tomatoes or olives, a nice mix of aromatic herbs can also be the perfect finish for a simpler focaccia; just be careful not to add too much salt, as there is already some in the dough.

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