See the magic that happens when a little potato is added to focaccia dough for an amazingly light and fluffy focaccia bread. Focaccia barese is topped with oil-marinated tomatoes and olives for a rustic focaccia bread recipe you’ll want to make on repeat.

black skillet of baked focaccia barese topped with tomatoes, black olives and rosemary

In college, I studied abroad and being almost 100% Italian, I spent many weeks traveling in Italy. On a visit to Bari, I tried authentic focaccia barese for the first time. And I had no idea that cooked potato in the dough was what made it so special and unique.

Focaccia barese is some of the lightest, most fluffy focaccia bread — albeit a little different than a traditional focaccia bread recipe.

Other easy Italian recipes like this you’ll ♥️: Use focaccia bread to make a panzanella salad. Like this fresh and bright pepper and tomato panzanella salad or this spicy and sweet peach panzanella. Or dip some focaccia bread in an authentic Italian red sauce or white balsamic dressing…so good!

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Ingredient spotlight: potato in focaccia

white bowl with mashed yellow potato in it being mashed with a masher.
Mashed up cooked potato is the secret ingredient in focaccia barese.

The secret ingredient to a light and fluffy focaccia bread is a soft potato which adds a light and fluffy texture. For this recipe, we first steamed and then mashed a Yukon Gold potato before adding it to the focaccia dough recipe.

Ingredients and equipment needed

glass bowl with semolina and double zero flour on a scale with flour bags behind it
“00” flour and semolina come together for fluffy focaccia barese.

Flour blend for focaccia

A 2:1 ratio of “00” pizza flour and semolina flour blended makes a crisp focaccia barese dough. And the addition of the potato lightens up the inside bringing the light crumb focaccia barese is known for.

Other key ingredients:

  • Instant yeast. Saf Instant Yeast is my go-to brand and to keep it fresh longer, I store it in the freezer.
  • High quality olive oil. Tuscan olive oil is my favorite. Look for a brand like Costco’s Kirkland Extra-virgin Olive oil Toscano with olives sourced from one country, and sometimes even one olive grove.

Cook’s tools

  1. A a trustworthy kitchen scale is a baker’s BFF. This recipe uses grams for the weight of measure and the precise measurements achieved by using a scale will produce the best results.
  2. Either a special steel focaccia pan similar to a pizza pan or a 12″ cast iron skillet works beautifully and makes a really crispy crust and heats evenly.

How to make fluffy focaccia barese

mixing bowl with flour and cooked potato
Mixer with flours, instant yeast and yellow potato.
mixing bowl with flour, water, bubbling yeast and cooked potato.
A bit of water gets added into the mixer.
white bowl of potato focaccia dough rising.
After dough is mixed with water and salt and placed in bowl to rise.
cast iron skillet with focaccia barese dough and a hand dimpling the dough.
Add to cast iron skillet and add dimples with oiled hands.
cast iron skillet with unbaked focaccia dough with tomatoes, olives and rosemary drizzled with olive oil.
Top and let the dough rise with the toppings on it.
baked focaccia with potato topped with cherry tomatoes, black olives and rosemary sprigs on a wooden cutting board.
Bake until golden brown…try and resist a piece.
  • On low, mix the dry ingredients in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
  • Add the potato and a little water and mix again. Finish with the remaining water and salt and mix again. Add in the olive oil and mix the dough until a ball comes together.
  • Move the dough to an oiled bowl and cover with some plastic wrap and a clean dish towel to rise for 2 hours.
  • After the dough has doubled in size, transfer to a well-oiled cast iron skillet and make dimples with your fingertips. Top with mixture of tomatoes, olive oil, and garlic. Dot on black olives.
  • Allow to rise again for another hour and before baking, sprinkle with flaky salt.
  • Bake until the tomatoes are charred and the focaccia is brown, crispy on the edges and the center is fluffy.

Pro Tip

Wet your fingertips with oil or some water before pressing your fingertips in the focaccia dough. This will avoid the dough sticking to your hands.


Toppings for focaccia barese

mixture of tomatoes, oil, garlic and salt for focaccia topping
Cherry tomatoes, garlic and olive oil…a classic focaccia barese topping!

The traditional topping is a combination of olive oil, garlic, cherry tomatoes and briny olives. Or you can top with any of these (or any of your favorites):

  • roasted garlic
  • fresh rosemary sprigs
  • dried oregano and/or dried thyme
  • small wedged pieces of sweet onion

Tips for focaccia success

cooked piece of focaccia with tomato, rosemary and black olives on a wooden board.
Proof that homemade focaccia is gorgeous
  • For best results, allow the potato to cool to room temperature before mixing into the dough.
  • The dough will be very wet as you pour into the skillet. Don’t try to add additional flour as this will affect the texture.
  • Sprinkle on the flaky salt right before baking instead of during the second rise.

Storage and make ahead

Make ahead

Make the dough earlier in the day to serve the same day.

Store

In the baking pan, covered with plastic wrap once completely cooled.

Freeze

Can be frozen for up to 3 months. Bring to room temperature or heat in a 350˚ oven until warmed through.


Made this recipe?

I’d love it if you’d share your review and leave a star rating and comment!


black skillet of baked focaccia barese topped with tomatoes, black olives and rosemary
5 from 1 vote

Focaccia Barese with Potato

See the magic that happens when a little potato is added to focaccia dough for an amazingly light and fluffy focaccia bread. Focaccia barese is topped with oil-marinated tomatoes and olives for a rustic focaccia bread recipe you'll want to make on repeat.
Prep Time:10 minutes
Cook Time:30 minutes
Rise Time:3 hours
Total Time:3 hours 40 minutes

Equipment

Ingredients
 

Topping:

Instructions

  • Mix the flours, yeast and sugar together in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Turn the mixer on low and give a few spins to combine. Add the potato and ½ of the water together and mix on low. Add the rest of the water along with the salt and mix.
    500 grams of flour between “00” and semolina flour, 1 packet instant yeast, 12.5 grams sugar, 1 Yukon Gold potato, 400 grams water, 12.5 grams kosher salt
  • Add in the olive oil and mix the dough until a ball comes together.
    55 grams olive oil
  • Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl and cover for 2 hours.
  • Remove the dough to an oiled cast iron skillet (12” preferred”” and allow to rise again for 1 hour.
  • Mix tomatoes, a healthy drizzle of olive oil the black olives and allow to sit while the dough rises.
    Olive oil, Cherry tomatoes, Black olives
  • Preheat oven to 400˚.
  • Using your fingers, make dimples in the dough. Spoon over tomatoes and olives and sprinkle with rosemary and salt.
    Rosemary, Flaky salt
  • Bake at 425˚ for 25-30 minutes or until charred and golden brown. Cut into wedges and serve.

Notes

Tips
Wet your fingertips with oil or some water before pressing your fingertips in the focaccia dough. This will avoid the dough sticking to your hands.
Course: bread
Cuisine: Italian
Author: Lori Murphy
Did you make this recipe? Tag @josieandnina or tag #josieandnina!
5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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2 Comments

    1. Hi Jane! The cups and tablespoons are available in the recipe card to the right of the metric measurements. I include the metric measurement because it provides for a more successful result.