A specialty of southern Italy, Focaccia Barese is a typical dish characteristic of the Bari region of Puglia. Its secret is in the dough, which includes boiled potatoes and gives the "fcazz" a unique soft, springy texture and a beautiful aroma. Inspired by the delicious focaccia we enjoyed at our recent Massimo Bruno supper club dinner featuring his Mamma's traditional Pugliese cuisine, we decided to try our hand at this Barese original, with impressive results.
00-type flour, mashed potato, yeast and water rises after 2-3 hours
The dough is stretched into a greased baking sheet with halved cherry tomatoes,
dried oregano, sea salt and drizzled with olive oil
Baked at 475°F for 20-25 minutes until the surface has browned
and the tomatoes have caramelized
2 cups 00-type flour
2 large potatoes, boiled and peeled
1 oz brewer's yeast
1 tsp sea salt, plus more to taste
1 cup lukewarm water
10 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tbsp dried oregano
Extra virgin olive oil
Let the boiled potatoes cool before peeling, and set them aside. Place the flour in a large mixing bowl, and using a ricer, add the potatoes.
Dissolve brewer's yeast in the lukewarm water and add that to the mix as well. Fold in a small pinch of sea salt and begin kneading to obtain a sticky, firm ball.
Wrap in cling film and leave the dough to rise for 2 hours in a warm, dry place.
Preheat the oven at 475°F. Use some olive oil to generously grease a large baking pan and stretch the dough to fill it evenly. Press the halved tomatoes into the dough, cut side down, add a good dusting of oregano and lashings of sea salt. Drizzle the surface with more olive oil and bake in the hot oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the surface appears evenly browned and tomatoes are caramelized.