Schiacciata con Olio e Rosmarino (Italian Flat Bread with EVOO and Rosemary)

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You may call it schiacciata, pizza bianca or focaccia toscana, but the fact remains that, if you grew up in Italy or you have holidayed there at some point in your life, this would have been part of your daily ritual, offered to you as a snack, merenda, by your mamma, nonna or a friendly neighbour. Italian gulp it down with exceptional gusto in its plain incarnation or accompanied by a few slices of prosciutto or a squashed tomato. Comes September, married with ripe, bursting figs, heralding the end of summer and making the thought of going back to school a little more bearable!                                                                                                           Schiacciata is an intrinsic part of an Italian upbringing and it is more often than not confused with its more notable cousin, Focaccia. Although the two bare an obvious resemblance, they differ greatly in texture. Schiacciata ditches the soft, chewy texture in place of an irresistible crispy crust, each bite so satisfying you will find yourself licking your finger in between morsels, oblivious of social niceties and table manners. Such ineffably light crunch is the result a long, slow fermentation of the dough. It is easy enough to make, but be sure to start this recipe a day ahead or even three, for that matter. The schiacciata here pictured is the offspring of a batch of dough that had been resting in the fridge for that long, the baked product turning out wondrously crunchy and savoury.

INGREDIENTS. serves 4

3 1/2 cups  00 type flour (or plain)

1/2 cup  wholemeal flour

1 teaspoon of dry yeast

1-1/4 cup  lukewarm water

1/2 teaspoon of sugar

2 teaspoons of salt flakes+ more for sprinkling on top

Extra-virgin olive oil, to grease the bowl and to drizzle on top.

Rosemary sprigs

Cheese, figs, salami to serve

HOW TO

1. Dissolve yeast and sugar in water. Stand for 5 minutes or until frothy.

2. Place flour in a large mixing  bowl, add the yeasted water and mix for 1-2 minutes, then tip the dough onto a floured surface, add the salt and knead vigorously for 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Shape it into a ball. A standing mixer fitted with a dough hook will make short work of this. As all flours tend to differ slightly, you may have to add a little more water of a little more flour in order to have the perfect dough. You want a soft, pliable dough, but not too sticky.

3. Rest the dough in an oiled bowl, covered with a tea-towel for 30 minutes, then lift it out, place it back onto a floured surface, stretch it with your hands and fold it into three and then back into a ball. Put the dough back in the bowl to rest for another 30 minutes, then stretch and fold again. As tedious as this process sounds, this is paramount for obtaining a light, crispy and easy to digest base.

4. After the second stretch-and-fold, place the dough in a large oiled container fitted with  lid (like a Tupperware one). Place in the fridge (with the lid on) and slow-prove for a minimum of 6 hours, up to 4 days.

5. When you are ready to make you pizza, take the dough out of the fridge and place it in an oiled bowl and cover it with a tea-towel. Rest at room temperature for 30-45 minutes.

6. Preheat you oven to 200 C (395 F). If using a pizza stone, put in the oven now to heat up. Roll the dough onto a a sheet of baking paper to 1/2 cm  (0,2 inches) thick. Drizzle with EVOO, salt flakes and rosemary and slide onto the hot pizza stone or onto a baking tray. If using a pizza stone, slide off the baking paper after 15 minutes to allow the bottom of the crust to go crispy. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden and crunchy. Serve hot, warm or cold with your favorite antipasto snacks.

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20 thoughts on “Schiacciata con Olio e Rosmarino (Italian Flat Bread with EVOO and Rosemary)

  1. Thank you for this recipe…I am going to make the Focaccia Toscana. And you’ve photographed this tasty looking focaccia with one of my all time favorite foods…..fresh figs! Perfect!

  2. I’m very grateful for this recipe as I have always been afraid to try Focaccia dough. I make pizza dough, but never dough for Focaccia. Your instructions make it sound so easy and fun. I’m going to try it this weekend for our Sunday family dinner.

  3. I’ve been reading you for a while now.and gave this a go yesterday. First I have to say I’m a very inexperienced baker. I’m living in the San Francisco Bay Area California USA. I just finally found 00 flour locally, but I am curious as to “wholemeal” flour? For my first run I used King Arthur’s Bread flour, and Semolina flour in it’s place for my first attempt. Any suggestions as to what to look for in a flour to take the place of this? I’m guessing this is why I had a very hard time with my Heavy Duty Kitchen Aide mixer and a dough hook. It was kinda like an out of balance washing machine. I’m not sure if it is the motor getting old or the density of the dough I made. The bowl was almost deforming as the dough was kneaded, and actually kicked the bowl out a couple times. I ended up just doing it by hand. Tonight I will be doing the actual baking. Crossing my fingers. Having a great time – Thanks

    • Hi Marcello, thanks for your kind words. Wholemeal flour is the same as whole wheat flour, derived by grinding the whole grain of wheat. Spelt of barley flour is a great alternative. Semolina can work too, but you would have to up the water quality to help it form a smooth dough. I hope tho shleps and that your schiacciata turned out well!

      • Wow! That is exactly what I ended up doing. I added water to get it to the right consistency. I’ve gone shopping again last night and ended up getting the right flour for a second shot at this. It turned out pretty good for my first attempt. I was very surprised how much I ended up making after rolling it out. I think I could have even rolled it thinner than I did. Thank you again. I can’t wait to do it again.

  4. Well…first recipe I tried off your website and i’m hooked. This Italian Tuscan Flatbread turned out perfect!!….never put bread in the fridge as the recipe said too, but it was really delish!! I LOVE authentic Italian recipes…., like my Nonna used to make!!! Mille Grazie!!!

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