How I love Apulian focaccia!
It’s my favourite one, maybe because it’s very close to my family traditions and it brings me a lot of nice memories.
My parents are from Bari and, since I was a child, I used to have a snack with this leavened product that my grannies or my mum prepared, according to the moment.
Since he is retired, my dad became the main producer of this Bari focaccia.
He’s very good at making it so, during the last year, we have been eating more frequently this delicious baked product.
Needless to say that nobody minds this happening!
All my family loves good cooking and good eating, that’s mainly a way to meet, stay with and share happy times.
Apulian or Bari focaccia is not always offered as a snack: frequently it is joyfully served for lunch or for dinner. It is cut into slices when still warm and generously filled with “mortadella” or other cold cuts and cheeses (recommended provolone cheese).
Here you have the recipe with my little changes for making a dough with an indirect method, using a very little quantity of brewer’s yeast to obtain a more light and easy to digest focaccia.
Apulian or Bari focaccia recipe
- 100 gr of strong flour, like manitoba flour (13% of protein)
- 110 ml of water
- 4 gr of brewer’s yeast
- 250 gr double-milled durum wheat flour
- 150 gr of strong flour, like manitoba flour (13% of protein)
- Around 200 ml of water
- 50 ml virgin olive oil
- 12 gr of salt
- 1 medium size potato (around 150 gr)
- 500 gr of sweet and ripes little tomatoes
- Virgin Olive Oil as required
- Salt as required
For the poolish
For the dough
For the topping
NB: the quantity of water recommended in my ingredients is approximate because it depends on absorption power of your flour and also on humidity that your potato can hold.
You have to consider that at the begginin the dough will be sticky and at the end will result very fluffy.
First, make your poolish: put the flour in a glass or in a bowl, add crumbled yeast and water at room temperature or a little warmer (max 30°C).
Mix with a fork until you get a thick batter without lumps.
Cover with a little dish and put it in a sheltered place from light and airstreams until it redoubles its volume (around two hours depending on the temperature).
In the meanwhile, rinse the potato and boil it with the skin.
Peel and mash your potato still hot and let it cool at room temperature.
When the poolish will be ready and will have redoubled its volume, you can proceed and make the dough.
Dough by hand
Put the flour in a big bowl, make the fountain of flour and put in the centre your poolish and your mashed potato.
Drizzle about half of your water and start kneading with your fingers.
Put the flour from the borders towards the centre of the fountain as much as you need to absorb your liquid.
Then add salt, the remaining water and lastly your virgin olive oil little by little.
When all the ingredients are finished knead in the bowl, pull and beat the mass until it gets smooth, elastic and it gets off the borders.
Dough with stand mixer
Put the flour in the bowl, but keep 4 teaspoons aside.
Add the poolish and the mashed potato.
Put the stand mixer with the hook on at low speed drizzling about half of the water, then add salt and, as always drizzling, the water remaining.
Now you can add half virgin olive oil and then half of flour kept outside, let absorb and add the remaining virgin olive oil and the last part of the flour.
When the dough has absorbed all the liquids and gets uniform, start switching the stand mixer between two minutes on low speed and two minutes on medium speed until the dough wraps around the hook and detaches from the bowl.
During the kneading process, stop the stand mixer two or three times to turn the dough upside down in the bowl helping with a silicone shovel.
As I told you before, at the end of the kneading process, you will obtain a very fluffy and a little sticky dough.
Don’t worry even if it doesn’t detach completely from the sides of the bowl, what is important is to obtain a smooth and elastic dough.
Rising and baking
Now put the dough down on a well-floured board and fold the dough according to the 2° technique (see here), then round it and put it in a bowl greased with virgin olive oil.
Drape a piece of plastic wrap over it and let it rise in a sheltered place from light and airstreams until it redoubles its volume (2-3 hours depending on the temperature that must be not over 28-30°C).
Once redoubled the volume, detach carefully the dough from the sides of the bowl and put it down on a well-floured board, sprinkle lightly the surface with some flour and flatten it gently with your hands to obtain a rectangle form one centimeter high.
Fold the dough according with the 1° technique (see here), flatten gently again with your hands and slice into two pieces.
Repeat 1° technique folding for each shape, putting in the centre the sliced side of the dough.
Grease with virgin olive oil your baking trays (you can also use baking paper, but you have to grease it anyway) and put the dough pieces in the middle of them.
Pour some virgin olive oil on the dough surface and gently press it with your hands to cover the bottom of your baking tray.
Rinse, dry and slice in two parts your little tomatoes, press each part flattening lightly (make this above your “focaccias” to let tomato juice drips on them).
Put your half little tomatoes dunking them in the dough of your Bari focaccia.
After this, moisten the surface with some other virgin olive oil and sprinkle with salt and oregano.
Drape your baking trays with plastic wrap or cover them with wet and squeezed rags.
Let your “focaccias” rise for about an hour in a warm place (max 28-30°C).
When rising is completed, place a rack at medium height in to your oven and heat it at 250° C in conventional mood.
When the oven has reached the right temperature, bake one of your Apulian focaccia putting the baking tray on the bottom of the oven, then low the heat at 240°C.
After about 12 minutes of baking, move the baking tray from the bottom to the rack and go on baking until the Apulian focaccia surface gets well colored.
Take your Bari focaccia out of the oven, heat again the oven at 250° and bake the other one in the same way.
Serve your Apulian focaccia still warm if possible.