Friday, October 16, 2015

Sweet 16: Schiacciata (Flat Bread)

Oh my gosh, Hi you guys!  It has been so long! As one would expect, grad school has been keeping me very busy, and most of my 'free time' is still going to slowly getting things unpacked. (I finally hung up some art this past week!)

In terms of school, I have two big research projects, regular course-work, and I'm in the middle of designing/building a show. But I'm not here to talk about that today. Instead, because I've been craving it for weeks now, I decided to make some bread tonight. And I figured I'd share what I could with you (which means a recipe and pictures).

This bread is from Tuscany, Italy and I have been searching for years for a good recipe. Surprisingly hard to find! This past summer I came across this book in a consignment/antique shop in Ballard, WA, and there it was, the perfect simple recipe. Of course I bought the book so I could try it out and lo and behold I finally had some good schiacciata for the first time in seven years!

Italy The Beautiful Cookbook  Lorenzo De Medici  Be warned, there are multiple versions of this book. They do not all have this recipe in them.
Now, the recipe in this book is very brief with pretty limited instructions, so what I'm sharing here is what I have learned after making this a few times.

First off, you'll need:
1 envelope dry yeast (1/4 oz)
1/2 cup tepid (luke warm) water
4 cups flour
3 Tbsp. olive oil (the better the better!)
1 large fresh rosemary sprig (although dried totally works too)
coarse salt

The first step is to dissolve the yeast in the tepid water. Stir it in a bit and let it sit for about 10 minutes.  In the meantime, pile up the 4 cups of flour on a board or work surface. If you want to avoid a potential mess, put it in a large but shallow bowl. Make a well in the middle of the flour. Pour in the dissolved yeast and water and carefully (seriously though, have a towel handy if you aren't using a bowl) mix it into the flour with your hands.

Add more water a bit at a time until you get a soft dough. (I usually end up using about 1 cup of extra water.) Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it is soft and elastic.

Eventually it will go from this...

to this.
Roll it into a ball and put it in a lightly floured bowl in a warm place.

Then tuck it in.

After a while it will have just about doubled in size. This time can vary, so check it occasionally.

At this point, if you haven't already, preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Knead the dough lightly and then roll out to about 3/8ths of an inch on a lightly floured baking sheet. Let it rise again for about half an hour. Then poke some holes in it with your finger tips.

Brush the top with 3 Tablespoons of olive oil. Sprinkle salt and rosemary all over it. Then bake it for 13-15 minutes until it is golden around the edges.



Now what are you waiting for! Eat it! This bread is great warm straight from the oven, but also pretty awesome at room temp.  You can also play around with toppings. I've made mine with big green olives before, that was pretty tasty.

Totally kid approved by the way (it's bread, what'd you expect?)

Happy baking!

And now back to the regularly scheduled programming of homework and research.