What Is Bari Style Pizza? Clearing The Confusion

Bari is an Italian city in Puglia, Italy on the Adriatic coast of southern Italy. It’s known for many different dishes including several kinds of baked goods like Bari style pizza and focaccia.

In general, Bari style pizza refers to a style of focaccia bread, also known as focaccia Barese in Italian, native to the city of Bari in Puglia, Italy. Focaccia Barese is recognized as the oldest style of focaccia bread and features a puffy crust topped with tomatoes, olives and various seasonings. Bari style pizza can also refer to a thin crust style of pizza commonly found in pizzerias around Bari.

Let’s go over what the differences are between Bari style pizza and focaccia Barese, then I’ll give you a general idea of how to make each one.

bari style pizza focaccia barese What Is Bari Style Pizza? Clearing The Confusion
Traditional focaccia Barese, sometimes called Bari style pizza in English.

Bari Style Pizza Is A Kind Of Focaccia Bread From Bari, Italy

Many of you will have already tried or seen focaccia bread in your local supermarket. It’s usually flat, square and about a couple of inches thick.

Focaccia Barese, sometimes referred to as Bari style pizza in English, is a special kind of focaccia bread that is known for being the “original” Italian focaccia bread. Focaccia Barese is unique among focaccia breads for its addition of mashed potatoes in the dough which gives it a light and fresh flavor. It’s common to find this style of focaccia topped with fresh tomatoes, salt, oregano and olives.

If you’re an English speaker, you might be thinking this has nothing to do with pizza at all. And you’re right, focaccia barese is indeed a type of focaccia and not a pizza in any sense that a modern person would consider focaccia pizza. However, this style of focaccia, with its circular shape, tomato toppings and triangle slices, is certainly a precursor to modern pizza. This is perhaps why most English translations refer to focaccia Barese as “Bari style pizza”.

Bari Style Pizza Also Refers To A Thin Crust Pizza Style From Bari, Italy

Another reason why “Bari style pizza” is a confusing terminology is because the city of Bari, in Puglia, Italy, also features a somewhat unique style of thin crust pizza as well as focaccia Barese.

Bari style pizza is a kind of thin crust pizza very similar to Neapolitan style pizza in nearby Naples. Both Bari and Neapolitan style pizza features a fresh fermented crust, fresh mozzarella and San Marzano tomatoes. The major difference between Bari style pizza and Neapolitan style pizza is that Bari style has a much thinner crust with the toppings distributed right to the edges of the crust.

This style of pizza can be found in many of the pizzerias in and around the city of Bari, especially near its historic harbor. The contrast between Bari style pizza and Neapolitan style pizza is immediately obvious as compared to the big, puffy “canotto” crust of most pizza found in Naples, even though the taste and ingredients are quite similar.

American pizza lovers might find Bari style pizza visually very similar to “Bar style” pizza since both are small, thin pizzas with sauce and cheese right up to the edges of the crust. Coincidentally, both of these pizza styles share a similar name but are actually quite different in taste and ingredients. Bari style pizza is much lighter and fresher compared to the heavier and greasier bar style pizza in the northeastern US.

This style of pizza has recently been introduced to a wider audience by Youtube pizza master Vito Iacopelli.

Bari Style Pizza Dough Recipe

Focaccia Barese Recipe

Focaccia Barese is not too different from other focaccia recipes except for the addition of mashed potatoes to the dough. This really helps to make the focaccia moist and fluffy and adds the savoriness of the finished product. Not all Focaccia Barese recipes include potatoes, though, but it can be equally delicious with and without.

The following is a simple method makes 1 large traditional focaccia Barese (without potatoes).

How To Make Focaccia Barese:

  1. Follow this 70% hydration pizza dough recipe to make 500g of dough.
  2. The next day, ball the dough and place it into an olive oiled medium-sized pan.
  3. Cover the dough pan and let the dough proof for 1.5 hours.
  4. With olive oiled fingers, gently press the dough out to fill the pan.
  5. Break a few soft, ripened san Roma style tomatoes into pieces and press them gently into the dough. Be sure to leave more than 50% of the dough uncovered so it can rise.
  6. Add a generous amount of oregano, a sprinkling of course sea salt.
  7. You can optionally add olives.
  8. Cover the pan again and let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  9. Pre-heat oven to 450F.
  10. Watch the focaccia closely as it bakes for about 15-20 minutes. It’s finished when the bubbles on top are lightly golden-brown color.
This video shows a great example of focaccia Barese made by Bari native Vito Iacopelli.

Thin Crust Bari Style Pizza Dough Recipe

Bari style pizza is very similar in terms of ingredients to Neapolitan style pizza but very different in preparation. Bari style pizza is made by flattening a half-sized ball of pizza dough with a rolling pin and topping it edge to edge without leaving a crust.

How To Make Bari Style Pizza:

  1. Start by making this 70% hydration pizza dough recipe.
  2. Split the dough into four 125g pieces and ball them up.
  3. Leave 1 ball out to proof at room temperature and store the rest in the fridge.
  4. Approximately 1 hour later, use a rolling pin and ample flour to flatten the dough into a 10 inch disc.
  5. Top the dough with tomato sauce, grated parmesan cheese and fresh mozzarella right up to the edges. Drizzle with olive oil.
  6. Bake the pizza on a hot stone until the cheese is bubbling
A great example of Bari style vs Neapolitan style pizza.

What The Difference Between Neapolitan Pizza And Regular Pizza?

Neapolitan pizza is a special kind of pizza made in Naples, Italy. In general, Neapolitan pizza is made in made in either the Margherita or Marinara format and contains San Marzano tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella cheese and fresh basil. Neapolitan style pizza was the primary influence for New York style pizza when it was brought to American by Italian immigrants.

What Is Special About Neapolitan Pizza?

Neapolitan pizza is special because it’s considered to be the original style of pizza that influenced all others. The most famous Neapolitan pizza was the one made for Queen Margherita in the colors of the Italian flag with red tomatoes, green basil and white cheese. This style of pizza has been known as pizza Margherita ever since.

What Is The Traditional Italian Pizza?

In general, Neapolitan pizza is considered the most traditional style of Italian pizza. This style of pizza orginated in Naples, Italy and is widely considered to have spread to other Italian cities, as well as overseas to America, during and after World War II.

What Is The Best Italian Pizza?

The best Italian pizza is usually determined by what region of Italy you’re from, but most people consider Roman and Neapolitan style pizza to be the best. Two very well known pizzerias in Italy serving these styles are Bonci in Rome and L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele in Naples.

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