The delicious focaccia barese is one of the many typical dishes of the Apulian cuisine., a symbol of Bari and its street food. Enjoy it with us!
A wonderful mid-morning snack or a tasty and delicious appetiser before lunch or dinner: this is focaccia barese, the street food queen in Bari and Apulia. The focaccia is never missing from the table or through the streets: at any time of day, in any part of the city, you will always find someone eating a steaming, fragrant, soft but at the same time crunchy piece of focaccia.
Focaccia barese is one of the versions of focaccia that can be found all over Italy. You can find it in all the bakeries in Bari and its province, but it is worth mentioning at least the oldest bakery of the city in 2019 won the award for the best focaccia in Italy, as proclaimed by the food themed park FICO Eataly World.
Focaccia barese: the origins of an icon of Bari
Focaccia barese is a typical dish of Apulian cuisine, in particular of the city of Bari. Aesthetically it appears as a type of flattened bread, very similar to a pizza, with a soft consistency on the inside and crunchy on the outside thanks to the generous use of olive oil in its preparation, a very precious ingredient that characterizes this recipe and the food tradition of Apulia.
The exact origins of focaccia barese are not easily traceable but they certainly date back to ancient times - some believe that the Phoenicians were the first to introduce this food in its original form - and are closely linked to the tradition of bread-making, a historical and renowned professional art in this region. Most likely the modern focaccia was originated in Altamura, the capital of bread in Apulia and beyond, in particular from the need to fully exploit the heat of the wood-burning ovens in the first phase when the temperature is still too low to cook the very famous bread of this town, but perfect for cooking thinner and flatter portions of dough simply seasoned with olive oil, salt and spices such as oregano and rosemary. This simple but tasty seasoning was enriched later with other fantastic ingredients, especially tomatoes and olives, today considered essential for an authentic focaccia barese.
Over the centuries the recipe for focaccia barese has been handed down from generation to generation and has undergone several influences, especially moving from city to city in the Apulian territory, while maintaining authenticity and delicacy. It is no coincidence that today focaccia is widely loved and widespread, a must-have product in local bakeries and restaurants capable of bringing a smile with its unique scent and obviously its extraordinary taste: a real passport that best expresses the flavor of Bari and Apulia and will make you fall in love with the Heel of Italy.
How to cook focaccia barese: ingredients, procedures and variants
The recipe of focaccia barese has a simple preparation including a few ingredients, but witht he highest quality and freshness, and the use of a focaccia pan possibly made of iron. And speaking of ingredients and quality, let's see what's gonna be needed to cook traditional focaccia barese of average dimension, around 30cm:
For the dough, 200 g of durum wheat semolina flour; 300g of 00 basic flour; 10g of brewer's yeast; 350ml of water; salt and sugar;
For the seasoning, 500g of sauce tomatoes; 200g of cherry tomatoes; 50 g of baresane olives (green); olive oil; oregano.
Let's now see the procedures to cook focaccia barese step by step. Pour the mix of flours into a bowl, while in another bowl dissolve the brewer's yeast by adding 50ml of water and mixing with a teaspoon; then pour the water and yeast solution into the flour and start kneading with your hands, gradually adding a bit of salt and sugar and the remaining water to mix until you obtain a homogeneous dough; at this point, transfer that to a table and keep on kneading it until it turns smooth and compact, giving it a spherical shape, sprinkle a little flour on the surface and cover it with a cloth, leaving it rising for about an hour
In the meantime, it's time to prepare the seasoning, washing well the sauce tomatoes and breaking them by hand into a bowl, while for the cherry tomatoes simply cut them in half; when the dough has risen, grease the pan with plenty of olive oil on the bottom and edges, transfer the dough inside and press it gently with your hands to widen it and spread it over the entire surface, creating grooves with your fingers; season the focaccia by generously distributing the crushed tomatoes and arranging the chopped cherry tomatoes, also adding the pitted olives, salt, a shower of fresh oregano and a drizzle of olive oil; let it rise like this for an hour and a half, letting the focaccia getting flavor with all its ingredients, then bake it in the oven at 250° for about 20 minutes and take out your delicious focaccia barese!
There are obviously many variants of focaccia barese that interpret local or simply personal tastes. Some prefer to add half a crumbled boiled potato to the dough, thus giving the focaccia a softer and richer flavor final consistency, or there are those who prefer to use potatoes and rosemary as an alternative condiment to the classic tomato, olives and oregano; or again, others love to enjoy the maximum simplicity of the white focaccia barese only seasoned with oil, salt and aromatic herbs.
How to taste focaccia barese
To best enjoy focaccia barese you have to eat it hot, very hot, risking of burning your own the palate with tomatoes. In fact, some prefer to remove them just because they are too hot; but many, however, will quarrel to have the piece with the olive, the most delicious and tasty. But you know, a slice of focaccia barese needs a great companion to express its best qualities: accompanied by a good beer is the best, but the most greedy one appreciate it even more with a slice of mortadella or by adding on top some fresh cheese.
Focaccia barese like a local: the street food tour in Bari
How to order focaccia in Bari? Let's take a look at the focaccia's units of measurement according to Bari dialect. The whole focaccia is called a 'wheel', because it is circular in shape, usually shared by several people. The 'stezz' is the actual portion, which can be ordered by weight, but will always be less than a quarter of a wheel. For the hungriest there is the 'half wheel', half of a focaccia. Whether it's a half wheel or just a small piece, never leave Bari without tasting focaccia, it's like a love affair without kisses.
You're craving for this amazing food, isn't it? So we have a surprise for you to give your travel to Apulia an extraordinary flavor: savor the city of Bari by visiting its iconic places in a street food tour discovering focaccia barese, panzerotti and many other delicacies, click the button below!
Explore Apulia biting focaccia: Polignano a Mare
Focaccia barese is certainly a symbol of the taste of Bari, a democratic icon - considering its cheap price accessible to everyone - of the pleasure and above all the happiness of enjoying delicious food while walking around to discover the city. But focaccia is so special that it can be found literally everywhere in the province of Bari, ready to tempt the palates of tourists (and not only) looking for fantastic adventures to experience in Puglia. Our suggestion is to take a trip to the wonderful Polignano a Mare, a pearl of the Adriatic with its unique beauty, where between one bite and another of your piece of focaccia you can visit this splendid coastal town and enjoy a relaxing boat tour along its amazing cliff, a sight that will make your eyes in awe. Do you want to leave right away?
Do you prefer land rather than sea? Don't worry, in the province of Bari there is another magical place where you can certainly enjoy a delicious piece of focaccia barese and join an exciting experience to make your trip to Apulia unforgettable: follow us discovering Alberobello, the fantastic land of trulli where it is a must to lose yourself in the enchantment of these historic stone houses and its streets immersed in the colors and scents of the flowers and nature of Murge.