Apulian Focaccia, Focaccia Pugliese or Focaccia Barese in Italian, is a focaccia typical of Puglia region, South of Italy.
Its dough is soft and pliable with a special consistency achieved through the use of durum-wheat semolina flour and a boiled mashed potato in the dough.
It’s usually garnished with cherry tomatoes, oregano and black olives.
Serves: 6 | Preparation : 30 mins + 2 h to rise | Cooking : about 25 to 30 mins
- Italian 00 flour (or All Purpose Flour / Plain Flour ) : 300 g
- Durum wheat semolina flour: 200 g
- Lukewarm water: 300 ml (100 ml to use to dissolve the yeast)
- Cherry tomatoes: 300 g
- Pitted olives, black or green: 100 g
- 2 Small yellow potatoes or 1 medium-sized potato
- 10 g fresh brewer’s yeast – alternatively 1 teaspoon dry brewer’s yeast to activate (4 g)
- Salt: 15 g (2 teaspoons + a pinch)
- Caster sugar: 6 g (1 teaspoon)
- Dried oregano: to taste
- EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil: approx. 4 tablespoons for the dough and 1 tablespoon for the garnish
Peel the potatoes and boil them in unsalted water until soft. Mash the potatoes in a bowl with a fork or use a potato masher.
Mix the 00 flour and semolina flour in a large bowl; make a hole in the centre of the flour and add the boiled mashed potatoes.
Dissolve the fresh brewer’s yeast in 100 ml warm water together with the sugar. The water should be neither hot nor cold. The former will kill the yeast and the latter will not activate it at all.
Add the water with the freshly dissolved yeast to the dough and start kneading.
As you knead the dough, gradually add the oil, the remaining water (200 ml) until you have a soft dough with a slightly sticky surface.
Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let the dough rest for at least 2 hours or until doubled in size. Let it rest in a warm, not cold room, at most you can preheat the oven to a not too high temperature (160°C/ Gas 3/ F 325) for a few minutes, then turn it off and put the bowl with the dough in it.
Preheat the oven to 180°C / Gas 4 / F 350.
Roll out the dough on a lightly greased baking tray (round or rectangular), distributing it evenly: according to tradition, this step should only be completed by hand, never with a rolling pin. Your fingertips will then help to create the characteristic dimples where the oil collects.
Scatter evenly the cherry tomatoes over focaccia, pressing them gently into the dough to make them adhere to its surface. Add a generous sprinkling of dried oregano, a few grains of coarse salt and just a drizzle of oil. Add slices of white or red onion if you like.
Bake in a static oven about 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown. Serve.