Make yourself a focaccia barese, the best comfort food ever
Before coming in Puglia to spend your holidays, start your trip making yourself the delicious focaccia barese.
I’ll give you suggestions, tips and tricks to make and eat the most tasty focaccia barese as well as locals do.
Then we’re going to talk about tradition and local culture, because for us, “baresi” (native people from Bari), a piece of focaccia is the best comfort food ever!
Well, it’s not the only one, but probably the most easy to get every day!
Local and genuine ingredients for a tasty result
Puglia is a very long region, located in Southern Italy. Actually it’s the heel of Italy and it’s a Mediterranean Land.
There’s a rich culture and tradition of street food, obviously made with local products due to the Puglia position and climate.
In Bari focaccia is kinda a bread, seasoned with tomatoes, olives, virgin olive oil and oregano. It’s made up of poor, very simple and local ingredients.
The recipe I’ll going to give you is made by two of the greatest Apulian food bloggers Fables de Sucre. I started follow them some years ago and every recipe on this blog is perfect, tested and fantastic.
Before talking about the recipe I want to tell you briefly what the focaccia means for me and how and when the Apulians eat it.
My story turning around a focaccia
When I was a kid I used to spend some time with my granny who lived in Bari city. Normally I walked with her and my elder sister through the streets of the city and very often she bought us a piece of focaccia from one of the many bakeries.
Obviously me and my sister were waiting for that, for us it was a gift, doubtless. So, from my early life, the rest of my days were marked by the smell and taste of focaccia.
Yeah, I know it’s funny, but the smell which comes from a baked focaccia it’s magical.
When I started cooking, the first thing I baked was a focaccia barese and learn how to make it, was a stoke of luck for me.
As I said before, the memory of the smell of focaccia often made my day absolutely better. So, chiefly when I was abroad and sad or melancholic about leaving my family and my land, I baked focaccia and ran into my comfort zone.
Probably you’ve never tasted a piece of Focaccia, but try to imagine do get a bite of something crispy but fluffy inside, delightfully tasty and flavored with baked tomatoes, olives and oregano.
Making it yourself you’ll try this feeling. It’s something very close to the perfect smell of the just baked bread with addition of oregano, which gives a plus to everything.
Culture and tradition behind focaccia barese
Usually in the land of Bari people eat focaccia as a snack in the middle of the day, during a party cut in many and little pieces or by the sea in a relaxing day on the beach.
Sometimes people eat it even as a main meal during lunch or dinner when they need to run into a comfort zone.
When you’ll bake it or when you’ll be in Puglia, remember there are many sorts of focaccia.
You can eat it basic, normally seasoned with tomatoes, olives and oregano, or you can also stuff it with other delicious Italian typical product.
In Puglia sometimes we love to stuff focaccia with some slices of Mortadella and Provolone cheese or Mozzarella, but also with many other kind of ham. Moreover, at various time in our life we use focaccia as a bread eating a proper meal.
Would you like to taste it?
Well, let’s bake Focaccia using the recipe of Fables de Sucre and enjoy!
Focaccia barese recipe
Ingredients (36 cm round pizza pan or baking pan):
- 500 gr durum flour or fine ground semolina
- 350 gr water room temperature
- 10 gr fresh yeast
- 8 gr white sugar
- 13 gr salt
- 25 gr extra-virgin olive oil (EVO)
- 5-6 red vine tomatoes, crushed, without seeds
- fistful of black or green olives (I used the local ones)
- q.s. oregano
- q.s. coarse salt
In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, crumbled yeast and half of water. Gradually stir in the remaining water, then add salt. Stir in EVO oil in two times, mixing well after each adding.
When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a surface and knead until smooth and elastic.
Shape the dough into a ball, lightly oil a large bowl and place the dough in it. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place (max 30°) until double in volume, about 3-4 hours.
Heavily grease a pizza pan with EVO oil and place the dough in it. Use your fingers to gentle stretch the dough into the pan, then cover with plastic wrap and let rise again in a warm place until double, about 1 hour and a half.
Before baking, brush dough top with EVO oil, arrange tomatoes and olives over the dough and sparkle with salt and oregano.
Bake at 220° for 20 minutes in preheated convection oven, until the crust begins to golden brown. Serve still hot.
Watch the video and pics we made last weekend when I made a focaccia for dinner. I didn’t use the the proper baking pan and my tomatoes were a bit over cooked, but, actually it was still a great focaccia. Some snags of being a baker and I’m really not a skilled baker!
After baked we stuffed some slices with Mortadella and Provolone cheese and eat it for dinner combined with a glass of beer!
Despite my little baking problems, my partner Roberto and my parents appreciated it, therefore, it was a successful result for me.
Do you already have watering in your mouth?
Don’t mind about technical stuff, just put your hands into the dough and enjoy your typical focaccia barese in your own home.
Later, absolutely come to visit Puglia and taste the original one!
This article was written four hands, by myself and my sister who translated the Fables de Sucre’s recipe. We’re very far from each other. Writing this article was a way to feel together in a childhood memory for us!
Anyway in the whole Puglia there are many different ways to make a focaccia, this was the recipe we make in the land of Bari and next time we’ll talk about the other variations of focaccia.
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Thanks for reading!