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Original Focaccia Pugliese with Semolina Flour and Potatoes

Calories: 414.33|Fat: 10.34|Carbohydrates: 69.45|Protein: 10.45 | 3 hours 20 minutes
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Easy Focaccia Pugliese Recipe with a crisp chewy crust, airy soft center, and amazing tomatoes and olives topping.
focaccia pugliese
This Semolina Focaccia Pugliese is the snack for excellence in Bari made of a soft flatbread with a crispy and golden crust and topped with cherry tomatoes, olives, and aromatic oregano.
This has been a huge discovery on a visit to the city of Bari in Puglia.  Surprisingly, the essential ingredients of the Barese Focaccia are simply boiled potato and durum wheat semolina. – Caroline

Why You’ll Like It

  • Snack for excellence in Bari. Rooted in Italian baking tradition, this yeast bread captures the essence of rustic Mediterranean flavors.
  • Perfect for Any Occasion: It’s also a very convenient takeaway snack to eat at the beach, for city walks, and for picnics often accompanied by the tastiest mortadella.
  • Versatile and Flavorful: Unlike its pizza counterpart, focaccia shines with its simplicity yet bursts with flavor. Infused with olive oil and adorned with Mediterranean toppings like herbs, garlic, olives, tomatoes, each slice is a flavorful experience that lingers in your mouth, leaving a lasting impression.
  • All-Day, Every Day: This bread is the ultimate multitasker. It’s not just a sidekick to your meal; it’s the star of the show. Serve it as an appetizer, dunk it in soup, load it up with your Parma Ham or Mortadella, or simply enjoy it on its own – the possibilities are endless! There’s never a wrong time to indulge in it. You’ll find it freshly baked in the mornings and often enjoyed as a lunchtime favorite by school kids everywhere. Wrapped in oiled paper, it stays soft and delicious until the midday break.
  • In short:
    • Shines with its simplicity.
    • All Day, Every Day.
    • Not Just a Sidekick.
    • Unforgettable Taste.

Tips & Tricks for the Perfect Focaccia Pugliese

Noteworthily, every family from Bari would have their own special mix, using some secret ingredients passed from generations making the dough unique and difficult to copy. The secret ingredient can be as simple as a pinch of sugar or a particular spice.
  1. The Marriage Between Pizza and Bread:
  2. Use Best Ingredients: Opt for high-quality ingredients, such as ripe juicy cherry tomatoes and premium olives, preferably from Puglia, the region where Focaccia Pugliese originates. Instead of fresh tomatoes, you can use peeled tomatoes with a little preserving liquid.
  3. Marriage Between Pizza and Bread: Focaccia should have a balance between the thinness and lightness of pizza and the slightly fluffy and crusty texture of bread. The size of your tray or oven dish is crucial for achieving the proper consistency. Using a too small tray will result in a very thick focaccia, which may lead to a bland taste as the oil and tomato flavors get lost. Conversely, using a too large tray will result more in a pizza rather the desired soft base for the tomatoes and olives.
  4. Using a New Pan?: If the pan is new it must be treated previously, i.e. greased and heated in the oven.
  5. Follow the Recipe Carefully: While making Focaccia Pugliese may not be a quick meal, following the recipe diligently is essential. Despite the wait involved, the end result will be worth it.
Focaccia Pugliese with tomatoes and olives

Ingredient Substitutions & Variations

The Focaccia Pugliese  comes in many flavors. Here, we use potatoes and semolina flour for the dough, but there’s no one-size-fits-all recipe:
  1. Swap semolina flour with 00 flour.
  2. Skip the potatoes, adjusting water to 300ml for 500g of flour
  3. Bari’s focaccia comes in many versions. Here, we toss in potatoes and semolina flour for the dough, but hey, there’s no one-size-fits-all recipe!
  4. Swap the maple syrup with 10g sugar.  In most of my recipes, I try to use as little as possible refined sugar though sometimes it’s really difficult to do this when it comes to baking.

Storage & Make Ahead Suggestions

  • Leftovers: You can store any leftover focaccia for a few days in the fridge, or if you want to keep it for longer, pop it in the freezer.
  • Reheating Tip: To get that freshly baked taste back, just warm it up in a preheated oven until it’s nice and crispy.
  • Without freezing: You can typically prepare focaccia dough ahead of time and let it rest in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before baking. This resting period allows the flavors to develop more fully and it will save you time and hassle!
  • Freezing: If you want to save some dough for later, simply freeze it after it rises. Just make sure to punch it down, coat it with olive oil, and pop it in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thawing: When you’re ready to use the dough, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight. Once it’s thawed, let the dough rest for about 30 minutes on the counter to get it back to room temperature. Shape the dough onto your baking sheet and continue with the recipe as usual.

How to Serve Focaccia Pugliese

I love to leave the standard Bari toppings for this Italian focaccia bread:

  • Bari olives
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Oregano
  • Drizzle of olive oil from the region of Puglia

However, it can also be topped or piled up like a sandwich with rocket leaves, tomatoes, mozzarella di Bufala, mortadella, or any other meat/cheese vegan alternatives.

focaccia pugliese sandwich with mortadella

Health Info

  • Calories: 414.33
  • Sugar: 2.69
  • Sodium: 486.57
  • Fat: 10.34
  • Carbohydrates: 69.45
  • Fiber: 4.5
  • Protein: 10.45
focaccia pugliese

Focaccia Pugliese (Focaccia Barese)

Author Caroline Sciberras
Servings 6
Calories 414.33
Prep Time 3 hours
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 20 minutes
Fat: 10.34|Carbohydrates: 69.45|Protein: 10.45


Easy Focaccia Pugliese Recipe with a crisp chewy crust, airy soft center, and amazing tomatoes and olives topping.


  • 2 32cm diameter baking sheet or two half sheet baking pans.


For the dough (2 32cm Focacias)

  • 300 g Flour 00
  • 200 g Durum wheat semolina
  • 350 ml Water
  • 100 g Potato
  • 50 ml Olive oil
  • 1 g Salt
  • 1 tsp Maple Syrup or Molasses

To Season

  • 400 g Cherry tomatoes
  • 20 Olives
  • 5 g Salt
  • 5 g Oregano


  • Boil a medium potato, drain, and while still hot, reduce it to a puree using a masher.
  • In a large bowl combine and sift the flour and semolina. Then add the yeast dissolved in luke warm water, the mashed potatoes and the maple syrup (or molasses). Mix by hand or using a mixer.
  • Add the salt and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and knead until you have a smooth dough without lumps adjusting with water if necessary (You can add a little more flour if the dough is too sticky)
  • Put the dough to rise into a bowl, arrange the dough and let rise for about 1½ to 2 hours. If you’re going to use two different baking trays then divide immediately into two bowls. Leave in a warm place covered with plastic wrap. The volume of the dough should double the volume
  • Grease two baking trays with olive oil, lay the leavened dough and with your fingertips enlarge giving the desired thickness. (32cm) Bake in a preheated oven at 250 degrees for 20 minutes.
  • Season with cherry tomatoes washed and divided in half, oregano and olives if you like. Sprinkle the focaccia with salt and another drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and let it rise again in the pan for 20 or 30 mins.
  • Bake the Bari focaccia in a preheated oven at 220° C static for about 20 minutes. For 5 minutes place the pan under the grill to obtain a nice browning.
  • Enjoy it alone or with cold cuts and cheeses to taste.

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