This is yet another of our favourite Italian focaccia, which is called Barese due to its provenance, the city of Bari. This traditional type of bread is usually drowned in olive oil, and I can tell you from now that we aren’t going to use it because it is not really needed to get stunning results. This recipe calls for a very singular ingredient in bread making, one that will make the final crumb of this delicacy incredibly soft and pillowy. Want to know what it is? You can either read the ingredients list (which is the cheat’s way) or watch our video on how to prepare this bread (which is the recommended way).
- Sift all the flour into a bow and add in the mashed potatoes. You can use a potato ricer to mash the potatoes or crush them with a fork.
- Add in the salt and start mixing the ingredients into the flour.
- Add in all the water and mix the ingredients by hand until you obtain a rough dough. Transfer the dough onto a working surface and knead it by hand for 5 minutes.
- Once finished, place the dough back into a bowl, dust it with some flour, cover it with cling film and place it in a warm place to rise for 90 minutes.
- For the topping for the focaccia, start by cutting the tomatoes into small pieces and place them into a bowl. Add in the salt, the oregano and the pepper, and stir well to combine the ingredients. Leave the tomatoes to marinate until needed.
- Once the rising time has elapsed, dust the kneading surface with some flour, remove the dough from the bowl with a spatula, and transfer it onto the surface. Gently stretch the dough by hand to obtain a flat shape and then fold the dough into thirds like a letter; left side end folded first, then the right end over that. Then, fold the dough in thirds once again, but this time top to bottom instead of side to side.
- Form a sort of smooth ball by grabbing the edges and gently tucking them under the ball, turning as you smooth and round the ball. If the process is unclear, we recommend to watch our video below for a visual reference.
- Place the dough back into the bowl, dust it again with some flour, cover it with cling film, and let the dough rise for an additional 30 minutes.
- Once the time has elapsed, transfer the dough into a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper dusted with flour and gently stretch it into a rectangular shape. The tray we used was 35 by 25 centimeters, or 14 by 10 inches.
- Poke the dough all over with your fingertips to create the traditional focaccia dimples. Take the marinated tomatoes and press them into the focaccia without being too precise, as you want to achieve a rustic final look. Drizzle the juices released by the tomatoes randomly over the dough to add extra flavor, and sprinkle some salt as well, if desired.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C (390°F). Cover the tray with a kitchen towel and leave the dough to rise for the last 30 minutes.
- Once the time has elapsed, remove the towel and bake the focaccia for 20 minutes, making sure to rotate the tray half way through the cooking time to allow for even browning and cooking.
- The instant yeast can be substituted with 12g (0.4oz) of fresh yeast. If using fresh yeast, dissolve it into the water before adding it to the other ingredients.
Preparation Time: 2h 50m
Cooking Time: 20m
Total Time: 3h 10m
Cooking Temperature: 200°C - 390°F
Storage Times: It is at its best during the first day. It can also be frozen and it will last for at least 2 months without loss of flavor. To reheat the focaccia, wrap it into aluminium foil and place it into a preheated oven at 100°C - 210°F for 10-15 minutes.