Focaccia Barese: The Best Focaccia, traditional Bari Style

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Focaccia Barese is one of the simplest and best Italian Focaccia Breads. Learn more about the Bary Style Focaccia and how to bake it at home.

When thinking about Apulian cuisine and street food, there is one snack that comes to my mind first, the Focaccia Barese. The Bari Style Focaccia is eaten by Italians and tourists alike all day long. As a mid-morning snack, for dinner or just as a quick snack on the way.

Bari, the capital of the Puglia region on Italy’s heel, is not only well known for its outstanding Focaccia Bread. It is also known for Orecchiette Pasta, Taralli and many other things.

There are several versions of Focaccia Bread all over the country and from different regions of Italy. But the Focaccia Barese is well known as one of the best Focacce in the world, if not the best one. I’ve visited Bari 3 times now to enjoy the superb Focaccia from Panificio Santa Rita, which became my favourite. Another fantastic one is the Focaccia from the famous Panificio Fiore. And after trying other Focaccia in Rome, Milano and many other Italian cities, I’ve to admit that the Focaccia Barese is the best Focaccia I’ve ever had. Or at least it is in my opinion.

I’ve already covered how to make the best possible Focaccia Bread at home with different toppings, including a Focaccia Recipe Video. But this article is all about the Focaccia Barese, why this Focaccia is so good, all about their origin as well as a traditional Recipe on how to make Focaccia Barese at home.


Bari Style Focaccia – Table of contents


Best Focaccia Barese

What is the origin of Focaccia Barese?

The origin of the Focaccia Barese, which can be found all over the Apulian region and especially Bari itself, dates back to ancient times.

In Altamura, the bread capital of Apulia, the modern version of focaccia Barese probably originated. This is because flatter types of bread have been ideal to be baked in the warm-up phase of the wood-burning ovens. When the heat was still a little too low to bake the famous bread of this town.

For centuries, the recipe of the Focaccia Barese was then handed down in the Families from generation to generation.

A traditional Barese recipe and typical Focaccia Barese consists of ripe plum tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil from the region, olives, oregano and sea salt.

Why is Focaccia Bread so good?

Focaccia bread is delicious and famous for many reasons. Focaccia is not only super easy to snack at different times of the day, it is also super easy to combine with other ingredients. This could be some Focaccia Bread together with an Antipasti plate. Or cut in half and filled with yummy prosciutto crudo ham, cheese or other things. A Focaccia Barese, due to the larger amount of tomatoes and olives on top of the focaccia, is therefore mostly eaten and enjoyed on its own. 

What makes a Focaccia that good in the first place, is the soft inner of the bread combined with a crunchy and oily crust. The quality Italian olive oil serves as a flavour enhancer. The Oil combines the fruity-acidic flavours such as from tomatoes, with ripe umami tastes from olives. All rounded up with some nice flakes of sea salt and tasty dried Oregano.

That’s what makes Focaccia so popular. Not to mention that it can be eaten anywhere and at any time of day.

Best Italian Focaccia Bari

Ingredients you need for a traditional Focaccia Barese

For an authentic Focaccia Barese, you’ll need only 4 ingredients. This is apart from the Focaccia dough, which is explained how to make down below or explained in detail in my Poolish Focaccia Guide.

  • Ripe Tomatoes
    For a Focaccia Barese, often ripe plum Tomatoes like the San Marzano Tomatoes are used. They are then squeezed out and put on the Focaccia.
  • Olives
    You can use a mix of green and black olives if you like. I always like to use unpitted Olives, cause they’ll have more taste. Just be sure to warm your guests and friends, before enjoying the Focaccia.
  • Sea Salt
    A nice sprinkle of medium-ground and flaky sea salt will enhance the flavours of the Focaccia.
  • Oregano
    Some good quality dried Oregano on top for the extra fresh and pizza-like aroma.

How to make Bari Style Focaccia – Step by Step

If you want to make Focaccia Bread with several Toppings, I got you covered in my detailed Poolish Focaccia Guide. In this recipe, I’m just covering how to make a Focaccia Barese the most traditional way.

For a Focaccia in the size of a round 30-35cm Baking Sheet, you’ll need about 400-500 grams / 14-18 ounces of ready fermented focaccia dough.

In the first place, a Focaccia is still a bread. So the dough and bread itself have an important role here. To get a Focaccia dough with a great flavour profile and texture, we make Focaccia dough using Poolish (pre-fermented dough).

​Making the Poolish (the day before)

The day before you want to make your Focaccia, it’s time to prepare the Poolish. You can take the right amounts of ingredients from the recipe below.

  • In a medium-sized bowl, mix lukewarm water with honey and dry yeast.
  • Add the 1:1 amount of 00 white flour (or all-purpose flour) in relation to the water.
  • Mix well together, close with a lid or some plastic foil and keep at room temperature for 1 hour. Then put into the fridge overnight.
focaccia recipe poolish dough

​Preparing the Focaccia Dough

About 1.5-2 hours before you want to bake the Focaccia, prepare the Focaccia dough as described below:

  • In a medium-sized bowl, mix 00 white flour (or plain flour) with the salt.
  • Add the Poolish as well as the olive oil.
  • Knead together for several minutes until you have a soft dough ball. Cover the bowl with some foil and let the dough ferment at a warm place / at room temperature for about 1 hour.
  • Grease a round baking sheet of about 30-35cm with some olive oil, and with your fingers press in the fermented dough. Your fingers will create little craters on the top of the dough.
  • Now you need a drizzle of olive oil on top of the dough, so the oil will run into the small holes.
Focaccia dough preparation

​Topping up and baking the Focaccia Barese

  • Top up the Focaccia with the tomatoes and olives and drizzle some sea salt and oregano.
  • Let the Focaccia rest for 30-60 minutes at room temperature before baking, so the dough can still rise a little.
  • Bake the Focaccia in the preheated oven at max temperature / about 250° Celsius for 10-15 minutes or until golden on top. The Focaccia will even turn out better when you put the baking tray on a preheated pizza-stone in the oven, so there will be more heat from the bottom.

Enjoy your freshly made Bary Style Focaccia warm or cold, with friends and family, and witness the lovely flavours from this famous Apulian snack! Buon Appetito!

FAQ’s for Focaccia Barese / Focaccia Bread

Do Italians eat Focaccia for breakfast?

Yes, Focaccia is even sometimes eaten for breakfast, especially in Liguria. Often it’s a plain focaccia which you can combine with a Cappuccino or morning coffee. However, focaccia is mostly eaten at lunch or as a snack during the day.

Does Focaccia have to rise twice?

It is an advantage that the dough can rise twice. The first time during the main fermentation is after kneading it together with the Poolish or making the dough from scratch. The second rise will be after the dough is pressed into the baking sheet.

What’s the difference between Focaccia and Schiacciata?

Compared to Focaccia, Schiacciata is an even flatter bread with a crispier crust. Schiacciata bread is more often used for Sandwiches like Panini, where there is not too much bread compared to the filled-in ingredients.

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Focaccia Barese, Traditional Bari Style Focaccia Recipe

Learn how to make the worlds best Focaccia the traditional way, the Focaccia Barese from the Apulian region of southern Italy.
Servings 4 servings
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Poolish fermentation 18 hours
Total Time 18 hours 12 minutes

Equipment

Ingredients

Poolish (pre-fermented dough)

Focaccia Dough

Toppings

  • 400 g ripe plum tomatoes San Marzano or others
  • 2 dl olive oil
  • 1 handful green unpited olives unpitted
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 1 pinch dried oregano

Instructions

Making the Poolish (min. 24h before)

  • In a medium size bowl, mix the lukewarm water with the dry yeast and honey. Add the flour and give it a good mix. Cover with a lid or some plastic foil and let it rest for about 1 hour at room temperature. Then put into the fridge for at least 18 hours or overnight.
    300 g 00 Flour (white flour), 300 lukewarm water, 10 g honey, 10 g dry yeast
    focaccia recipe poolish dough

Preparing the Tomatoes

  • With your fingers, squeeze the tomatoes in a bowl, add a little salt and mix and squeeze together well. Let the tomatoes rest until they are used for the topping of the Focaccia.

Preparing the Focaccia Dough

  • In a large bowl, mix together flour and salt. Add the Poolish and knead together for a while until you get a soft dough ball. Grease the bowl with some olive oil and put in the dough ball, cover with some foil and let the dough rise for about 1-1.5 hours.
    130 g 00 Flour (white flour), 12 g salt
    Focaccia dough preparation
  • Press the dough into the round baking sheet using your fingers. Let the dough rest for about 20-30 minutes so he can rise a bit and cover the whole baking sheet. With your fingers, create little craters in the flat Focaccia dough. Use some olive oil so the dough will not stick to your fingers.
    400 g ripe plum tomatoes, 1 handful green unpited olives, 1 pinch sea salt, 1 pinch dried oregano
  • drizzle the olive oil over the dough and spread with your hands.
    2 dl olive oil

Adding the Toppings

  • Add the tomatoes over the Focaccia. Also add the olives and press them into the dough. At the end, sprinkle some good sea salt and dried oregano. Cover the baking sheet with some foil and let the dough rest at room temperature for another 30 minutes.

Baking the Focaccia Barese

  • Bake the Focaccia at maximum heat of your home oven (around 220-250° Celsius) for about 10-15 minutes or until golden. You get even better results when putting the baking tray on a preheated pizza-stone.
  • Take the Focaccia out of the oven and let it cool down a little. Enjoy your freshly made Focaccia Barese slightly warm or cold. Enjoy and Buon Appetito!
Author: Fabian
Cost: 8
dish: Beilage, Bread, Snack, Vegetarian
Cuisine: Italian, Italienisch
Keyword: Focaccia, Focaccia Barese, Italian Bread

Nutrition

Serving: 300g

Did you make this Focaccia Recipe?

If so, I’m more than happy to hear what you think about it and how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below tag @flavorthoughts on Instagram and hashtag it #flavorthoughts. You can also follow me on YouTube for the newest Recipe Videos,  as well as Pinterest and TikTok.

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