About Bari-style Focaccia

Bari-style Focaccia or Focaccia Barese is a flat oven-baked bread with tomatoes and olives. Its dough includes potatoes for extra softness and taste and it’s garnished with oregano. It’s similar in style to pizza.

It’s an incredible comforting and fulfilling food. Soft inside, with a crispy crust.

The focaccia is a cheap recipe due to the simplicity of its ingredients.

The original recipe involves the use of olive baresane (Bari olives). Since it’s practically impossible for the majority of people to use this olive variety (also in Italy), any type of green olive will work well.

Bari-style focaccia ingredients: flours, potato, tomatoes, olives, yeast, oil, oregano.

Origin of Bari-style Focaccia

Its name derives from the city of Bari, the capital of the Apulia (Puglia) region. It was created in Altamura town (in the Province of Bari).

You can find it in almost every bakery in the provinces of Bari, Barletta-Andria-Trani, Taranto, Gargano and, in general, in the Foggia region.

If you’re interested in Apulian food, also check our recipe for Apulian Panzerotti. They are delicious savoury turnovers filled with tomato and mozzarella.

Round Bari-style focaccia with tomatoes and olives, placed on a wooden cutting board.

When Focaccia Beat McDonald’s

In 2001 McDonald’s opened its first restaurant in Altamura. A few months later, Luca di Gesù opened its bakery next to the American business.

After only one year, the McDonald’s restaurant had to close due to the lack of customers. The competition with the Apulian bakery played an important role in the failure.

If you want to know more about this particular story, check the New York Times article.

Round Bari-style focaccia with tomatoes and olives, placed on a wooden cutting board. 2 slices are cut.

3 Traditional Apulian Focaccia Styles

In Apulia, there are 3 traditional ways to prepare focaccia:

  • Tomatoes and/or Olives Focaccia – the focaccia par excellance
  • Potato Focaccia – with potato slices on its surface
  • Focaccia Bianca (White Focaccia) – with corse salt and rosmary

Bari-style Focaccia / Apulian Focaccia

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Resting Time 2 hours
Total Time 3 hours
Servings 4 people


  • pot
  • fork
  • bowl
  • round baking tray (32cm/12.6in ø)
  • glass/cup


  • 170 g all purpose flour (6.17 oz)
  • 130 g reground semolina flour (4.4 oz)
  • 180 ml water (6.08 fluid oz)
  • 85 g potato – dry weight (2.7 oz)
  • 10 g fresh yeast (0.35 oz)
  • 350 g tomatoes (12.34 oz)
  • 10/15 green olives
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • oregano
  • salt


Prepare the Dough

  • Cook the potato in boiling water. Drain and mash it. Then let it cool down.
  • Dissolve the yeast in some water (from the total 180 ml/6.08 fluid oz), with a scant teaspoon of sugar.
  • In the bowl, combine the 2 flours with the mashed potato and the yeast mixture.
  • While mixing and kneading with your hands, gradually add the remaining water.
  • Finally add the salt and 1 Tbsp of olive oil, continuing to knead until all the ingredients are well absorbed and the dough is elastic. It should be soft and slightly sticky.
  • Let it rise for 2 hours in a warm place.

Add Condiment and Bake

  • Preheat the oven at 230° C/446° F. Oil the baking pan with 2 generous Tbsp of olive oil.
  • Transfer the dough into the baking pan and stretch it out over the surface. 
  • Oil the surface of the dough and add the tomatoes. We suggest you break them up with your hands, for a more rustic result.
  • Add the olives, some salt and some oregano.
  • Bake for 30 minutes in static mode until the surface is golden brown.


4-5 days in a Tupperware.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian, Vegan
Keyword: cheap, olives, tomato

Get in Touch!

If you try this recipe, don’t forget to tag @myitalianvegan on socials. We would love to see the result!

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