Make Ahead

Italian Snacking Bread

June 13, 2013
3 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Makes one 9- by 13-inch loaf
Author Notes

This is a version of Focaccia alla Barese, an Italian flatbread topped with anchovies, olives, and onions. Mine is a softer, moister bread due to the addition of egg and a quicker rise. Cut it in small pieces and pack it for a ride or simply enjoy it on the deck with a lovely glass of wine. (And for those of you who think you don't like anchovies, you'll probably never even realize that they're there!) —inpatskitchen

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: Coming in at fifty-three Community Picks and four contest wins, inpatskitchen is a champion Food52 heavyweight. 
WHAT: A soft bread with a salty topping that’ll have you coming back for seconds.
HOW: Mix up a quick focaccia dough, top it with sautéed onions, anchovies, and olives, and bake until golden brown. Cut into small pieces and start snacking.
WHY WE LOVE IT: This focaccia has it covered in both the texture and the flavor departments: soft, buttery bread with crispy edges and a savory, oniony topping. The only place where this bread falls short? It doesn’t come with a ticket to Italy.  —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • For the bread:
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (100 to 120° F)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 to 3 cups bread flour
  • For the topping and baking:
  • one 2-ounce tin of anchovies packed in oil
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 very large sweet onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 25 to 30 oil-cured black olives, pitted and roughly chopped
  1. For the bread:
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the yeast with the warm water and let the mixture rest for about 5 minutes. Stir in the egg, oregano, basil, olive oil, and salt.
  3. Start by slowly stirring 2 cups of the flour into the liquid mixture, then add more as needed to form a soft yet somewhat sticky dough. Cover and let rest for about 20 minutes.
  4. After the 20-minute rest, turn the dough out into an oiled 9- by 13-inch baking pan. Since the dough is sticky, use wet hands to press it into the pan evenly. Let this rest while you make the topping.
  1. For the topping and baking:
  2. Drain the oil from the anchovies into a large sauté pan and add the tablespoon of olive oil. Turn the heat to medium, add the onions, and sauté.
  3. Once the onions have barely started to soften, mince the anchovies and add them to the pan. Continue to sauté until the onions just barely begin caramelize and the anchovies "disappear." Stir in the chopped olives and let the mixture cool.
  4. Once cooled, spread the onion, anchovy, and olive mixture over the bread dough and let rise another 30 minutes or so.
  5. Heat your oven to 400° F and bake the bread for 25 to 30 minutes until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and let rest in the pan for about 10 minutes. Use 2 spatulas to lift from the pan and let the bread cool to room temperature. Cut into small pieces to serve.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Lady SparklePants
    Lady SparklePants
  • Rosalind Paaswell
    Rosalind Paaswell
  • I_Fortuna
  • Jen
  • creamtea

Recipe by: inpatskitchen

I think I get my love for food and cooking from my mom, who was an amazing cook. She would start baking and freezing a month before Christmas in order to host our huge open house on Christmas afternoon. I watched and I this day I try not to procrastinate when it comes to entertaining. My cooking style is pretty much all over the place, although I'm definitely partial to Greek and Italian cuisine. Oh yes, throw a little Cajun in there too!

49 Reviews

Nancy November 30, 2020
Delicious! Also, the bread baked with a lovely crunchy crust! Variations:
I made this in a 12" cast iron frying pan (same area as the 9x13") and it fitted beautifully.
Used tuna instead of anchovy, as that's what I had.
Last, I cut the pie in wedges for breakfast; could also work at lunch.
inpatskitchen November 30, 2020
Thank you Nancy! Love your variation ideas!!!
Lady S. July 3, 2018
Pretty good! I'm not an anchovy lover but I still thought this was overall great... but I could definitely taste the fish. I think the next time I make it I'm gonna switch up the toppings. The bread is delicious! Super moist and tasty. And I love the olives and onions. Im open for suggestions as far as what I can sub for the anchovies. I know they add a very unique flavor...
Thanks for sharing this recipe!
inpatskitchen July 3, 2018
Thanks so much Lady SparklePants! Maybe some sun dried tomatoes or capers for the salty punch?
Rosalind P. February 12, 2018
PLEASE, PLEASE, infinite number of PLEASE...provide measurements in weights. You know even better than us amateurs what a difference it makes. Yes, everyone says that most Americans use volume (how do they know?) but even if that's true, more and more us are using weights. And keep the volume measurements there. Just do both. And since it is a great privilege for your contributors to be presented on Food52, couldn't you, politely, require them to provide weights? I can say without hyperbole that using weights turned me from an utter baking failure to a proud and usually successful one. So PLEASE?????
Nancy October 4, 2018
Dang! Simply Google it. It's no problem.
Rprp October 4, 2018
Thanks for this suggestion. Converting every ingredient before or during the process. Would you believe I've actually done that. Different solution is to just provide the weights. Easier for everyone maybe?
Linda D. February 8, 2018
I prepared this dish for my guests last night with trepidation. I do not like anchovies but decided to trust the assurances that the consumer would never even realize they were there. And that was so! What a simple, delicious, and savory snack bread! If I remember to keep a tin of anchovies in the pantry (the bread flour is there, along with the container of Kalamati olives in the fridge) a savory snacking bread is always only two hours away. Thank you!
inpatskitchen February 8, 2018
Oh I'm so happy you gave this a try! Anchovies are a "secret" ingredient in so many recipes. Thank YOU for your kind words!
Janet December 29, 2017
My Barese grandmother made using pizza dough that was stretched fairly thin and scallions rather than sweet onion. She made it more like a calzone with lots of filling--scallions, olives, and anchovies. We all called it onion pie.
inpatskitchen December 29, 2017
That sounds wonderful!!!
Merle's G. November 15, 2015
Followed the recipe with the exception of using 2 teaspoons Italian seasonings in lieu of oregano and basil. My sweet onion was ginormous and I used 30 olives. Was concerned I had too much topping to get a final rise. But no problem, at all! Delicious. I actually prefer it the next day, flavors mellowed and melded. I reheated a slab in the toaster oven, convection at 375 degrees for about 7 minutes. Paired with seckle pears, mortadella, Manchego and a glass of dry rose for a lovely Sunday lunch. Life is good! Thanks for a great recipe!
inpatskitchen November 15, 2015
Thank YOU Merle's Girl! Your lunch sounds lovely and you're right...Life is good!
Nancy November 9, 2015
Late to the game. Just saw this on the feature about a dozen breads to serve at Thanksgiving (2015). Looks great - looking forward to making it.
inpatskitchen November 9, 2015
Thanks Nancy! Hope you enjoy!
Sarah February 27, 2015
Thank you for the tip! I will post my result when I get this (hopefully amazing) masterpiece all done.
whmcdevitt February 27, 2015
it should be fine. i'd cook the bread first so it's crispy on top first then add more olives and the mozzarella cheese....let me know how it works out.
Sarah February 27, 2015
Thank you for your prompt response too btw! #dinnerpartylifesaver
Sarah February 27, 2015
I'm currently making this and was thinking of fresh mozzarella. Thoughts?
Mushka November 20, 2014
This recipe sounds delicious!
Can I freeze the bread once it's already baked?
inpatskitchen November 20, 2014
Thanks Mushka! Not sure about freezing since I've never done it. Maybe some others will chime in.
Gisele73 November 4, 2014
This was delicious and easy. It took a little while, with all the rising and resting and cooling, and I cut a few corners on those things, but it was not a lot of work and came out great. This would be an excellent appetizer. It's a little light to be an entree.
inpatskitchen November 5, 2014
So happy you enjoyed! Thanks so much!
I_Fortuna June 22, 2014
I have never had to use egg when making a dough like this. What really makes mine special is proofing it for 12 to 14 hours. This breaks down the gluten and makes it more friendly to the digestive track. The dough can be rolled or gravity stretched to make it nice and thin. Depending on how hot the oven is preheated to, it can come out crispy or more soft. I heat mine to 500 degrees and brush the surface of the bread with olive oil. This keeps the bread or dough from burning although I like a little carbon (pronounced car-bone) on my breads.
Next time I make a bread, I am going to try and use a combo of chickpea flour and almond flour. Since I will be using only a little wheat flour, I will cut back on the yeast. There will not be a need for a significant proofing time as well.
inpatskitchen June 22, 2014
Your thoughts are well taken. When I was making this I was thinking of a softer bread, therefore the egg. Certainly it would be wonderful using your method. Thanks!
I_Fortuna June 22, 2014
Thanks for your kind words. We are diabetic so I have to really get creative in the kitchen in order to assure a balance in our carb intake. I noticed that when I proofed the dough longer it has less of a health impact. I like the use of egg, it is a good added protein for us too. Thanks for your recipe too!
inpatskitchen June 22, 2014
Would love to see some of your recipes! Please post!
I_Fortuna June 24, 2014
Hi there, sorry for the delay in answering your post. I appreciate the invitation, however, I am not sure what you are looking for exactly. We eat very simply, primarily just easily prepared proteins, fruits and veggies. I make homemade Mexican food but am forbidden to give out the recipes LOL Hubby does not even have them and I had to deny the neighbors so I don't know what I can contribute.
I have accumulated a lot of nutritional information that has limited my recipe collection as well. Let me know if you are looking for anything in particular and I will help if I can. : )
inpatskitchen June 25, 2014
I was just hoping you might share with the community but I certainly understand if that's not possible.
Jen June 22, 2014
This looks wonderful! We're going to make it next week at the beach. We have folks who don't like olives (boo) so we'll try capers on one and grapes on the other.
inpatskitchen June 22, 2014
Thanks so much Footnotes! Capers and grapes sound wonderful!!
whmcdevitt June 22, 2014
couldn't you use pizza dough to make a faster version?
inpatskitchen June 22, 2014
I'm assuming you mean a pre made pizza dough...sure you can but the bread itself won't be as soft because of the lack of egg. Go for it!
creamtea June 18, 2014
Congratulations, Pat! Sounds delicious! F52 champion!
Kukla June 18, 2014
Congratulations Pat on the Wildcard win!!! This is a kind of bread which I am sure would quickly disappear right from the pan in our home.
inpatskitchen June 18, 2014
Thank you disappears mighty quickly at our house!
ChefJune June 18, 2014
How could anything with onions and anchovies be bad? reminds me of Pissaladière when it's made with a yeast dough. Provence used to be part of Italy, and vice versa...
inpatskitchen June 18, 2014
Yes... so similar!
GiGi26 June 18, 2014 proofreading is perfect AFTER I post :)
GiGi26 June 18, 2014
Congratulations on your WILD CARD PICK!! It looks beautiful and sound sinfully yummy!! know I could live on BREAD!