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.
Walk the streets of Bari, Italy in the region of Puglia and odds are you'll find someone selling focaccia barese. It truly is some of the lightest, most fluffy focaccia bread — a little different than a traditional focaccia bread recipe. And it's all thanks to an unlikely ingredient: potato.
In college, I studied abroad and being almost 100% Italian, I spent a lot of time traveling in Italy. And on a visit to Bari, I experienced authentic focaccia barese. And I had no idea that some cooked potato was what made it so special and unique.
⇢ 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!
Ingredient spotlight: potato in focaccia
The secret ingredient to a light and fluffy focaccia bread is 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.
What you'll need
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:
Best tool for amazing focaccia bread
When it comes to baking bread, cookies or anything else, 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.
How to make fluffy focaccia barese
- 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.
Toppings for focaccia barese
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
FAQ's and tips for focaccia success
Storage and make ahead
Make the dough earlier in the day to serve the same day.
In the baking pan, covered with plastic wrap once completely cooled.
Can be frozen for up to 3 months. Bring to room temperature or heat in a 350˚ oven until warmed through.
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Focaccia Barese with Potato
- 500 grams of flour between “00” and semolina flour, approximately 3 cups plus 2 Tablespoons; 2:1 ratio of semolina to double 00
- 1 packet instant yeast , 7 grams; 2 ¼ teaspoons
- 12.5 grams sugar, 1 Tablespoon
- 1 Yukon Gold potato, peeled, cooked and mashed; about 15 grams or 5.5 oz.
- 12.5 grams kosher salt, 1 Tablespoon
- 400 grams water , about 1 ⅔ cup
- 55 grams olive oil, ¼ cup; plus more for tomatoes
- 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.