Made with a no-knead unique dough featuring mashed potato, flour and semolina, this Puglian focaccia could become your favourite baked bread.
Focaccia, in all its versions, is popular in the north as it is in the south, with the crunchy 'fugassa' in Liguria and 'schiacciata' in Tuscany. The southern version from Bari has a crispy outer crust and is light and soft inside. Tomatoes and olives are almost always pressed into its luscious dimples - although the quantities listed below are simply a guide. The combination of plain wheat flour, semolina and cooked potato creates a unique dough that doesn’t even need to be kneaded!
Makes 1 large focaccia | 75 minutes + 2 hours proving
1 medium potato, peeled
2 teaspoons dried yeast
large pinch of sugar
200g (1½ cups) plain (all purpose) flour
300g (scant 2 cups) fine semolina
2 teaspoons salt
¼ cup olive oil
Topping 1: Olive and Tomato
100g (approx) cherry or mini Roma tomatoes, halved
100g (approx) black olives, pitted
½ teaspoon dried oregano
olive oil to drizzle
Topping 2: Olive and Rosemary
150g (approx) olive mix, pitted (choose various colours and varieties)
small bunches of fresh rosemary leaves
olive oil to drizzle
In a pan of boiling water, cook the potato until very soft. Mash well.
Combine ⅓ cup of warm water, yeast and sugar in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside for 5 minutes to activate.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, semolina, mashed potato and salt. Add the liquid yeast and oil. Pour in 200-250ml of water, a little at a time, and combine until you have a sticky, wet dough.
Transfer the dough to a well-oiled round oven tray approximately 30-35cm in diameter. If you don’t have a round tray, any shape is fine. Cover with a towel and allow to rise for 2 hours in a warm, draught-free place.
Preheat a fan-forced oven to 200C.
Top the focaccia by pushing the tomatoes and olives into the surface of the dough. Scatter over the oregano and salt. Generously drizzle with oil. Or in the same way, garnish with Topping 2.
Bake in a preheated oven for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown. Best enjoyed warm from the oven.
Recipe from A Vegan Summer in Southern Italy