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“la fcazz”! This is in typical dialect slang, the translation of her majesty the focaccia, the Bari one though. You should know that in the city of Bari, the capital of Puglia, people eat focaccia at various times during the day: early in the morning, during the lunch break accompanied by cheese or cold cuts, together with an aperitif or even as an alternative to bread during dinner. It is important to emphasise that the characteristics of focaccia vary from area to area in Apulia, in terms of preparation, ingredients and baking. Bari’s focaccia is, for instance, totally different from what you can find in the Itria Valley or Salento, but it can certainly be named the undisputed queen in Puglia.

Recent research has shown that focaccia barese originated as a travelling food for fishermen and wayfarers and may even have been created according to the time that bakers took during the night to prepare the other products. While waiting, in fact, they would simply bake minute portions of unleavened dough directly on the base of the oven. It is also said that in ancient times, peoples such as the Phoenicians, Carthaginians and Greeks cooked doughs made from barley, rye and millet flours over the fire. The term focaccia originates precisely from the Latin word “focus” (baked on the hearth).

Back to us, curiosity drives us to tell you the tricks and secrets of focaccia barese, its qualities and characteristics in terms of crunchiness, softness and lightness. It is amazing how, when talking to Bari bakers and the people of Bari themselves, and you can do the same through our Street Food Tour in the city of Bari, the absolute strong point is indicated in its simplicity due essentially to the use of a very small number of original Apulian ingredients, of quality and not processed.

As a basic reference there is the exclusive use of “type 0” or “type 1” flour. However, the real difference between focaccia barese and the others is hidden in the slow and meticulous preparation and processing of the dough. In fact, a residual part of the dough is used (water and semolina flour that has been left to rest for a long time and which accounts for about 18% of the total quantity), which acts as a yeast and which surpasses the mother yeast itself both in terms of quality and digestibility and of which only a small quantity is therefore used. Also very important are the leavening times and the correct dosage of all the ingredients in the original recipe for focaccia barese, which affect the normal resting process and which can therefore, if used improperly, generate the same defects as other focaccia such as bloating or heartburn problems.

As accessory raw materials, olive oil is preferred but not “extra-virgin“, which is much more famous and present in many Apulian recipes. The non-extra-virgin version, in fact, allows for greater softness at the end of cooking, never allowing it to toast, and above all guarantees respect for the Bari focaccia’s condition of excellence: that is, the famous golden appearance that also helps a lot in terms of crunchiness. As for the tomatoes, the choice falls on the “pachino” type, sweeter and juicier with tasty seeds and thin rind. While the olives should be pitted but without any particular type.

Here, then, are the ingredients and recipe for preparing the famous focaccia barese, queen of Apulian specialities.

Focaccia barese ingredients

For 1 kg of focaccia:

  • 1 kg “type 0” or “type 1” flour
  • 550 cl water
  • 90 cl olive oil
  • 35 g salt
  • 10 g sugar
  • Tomatoes and olives (to taste)
  • 250 g carry-over dough or leftover dough (water and semolina flour)

Preparation of focaccia barese original recipe

  1. As far as preparing the dough for the focaccia barese is concerned, take the flour and pour it into the kneading machine or a bowl, together with the leftover dough or paste.
  2. Slowly and while mixing, first add the water and then the oil. Immediately afterwards also the sugar and salt. Knead until a homogeneous, yet soft mass is achieved.
  3. At this point, take a baking tray and sprinkle it with oil. Once the dough has risen (proportionally consider doubling the mass and about 3 hours), proceed with spreading the dough with the fingers of your hand until it is completely distributed over the entire baking tin.
  4. Traditionally, according to the original recipe for focaccia barese, break up the tomatoes with your hands and press them into the dough, then add the olives. Add salt at the end.
  5. Bake at 240 degrees for about 30 minutes.

Simplicity yes, but also care and attention to detail, his real speciality. What do you think?
Now you just have to try your hand at preparing the focaccia barese, using the ingredients and the original recipe, and join us in Puglia to test whether the original is better than yours!