Here is the delightful Schiacciata. This is a simple Tuscan loaf served deliciously warm from the oven and dripping in olive oil.
- 2 ½ tsps. (1 envelope) active dry yeast
- 2 ½ cups flour – plain
- 5 tbs extra virgin olive oil – for drizzling
- ½ cup lukewarm water(110ºF)
- ½ tsp sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ cup cold water
- coarse salt – for sprinkling
- In a small bowl sprinkle the yeast over the lukewarm water and gently stir. Stir in the sugar and let the mixture stand until creamy, about 5 minutes.
- In a large bowl, mound the flour and make a well in the center. Pour the yeast mixture into the well. Add the salt and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil to the well. Stir in a circular motion, slowly incorporating the dry ingredients.
- When roughly half of the flour has been incorporated, add the cold water. Continue working the ingredients until the mixture forms a cohesive ball.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until it becomes smooth and elastic, about 10-15 minutes.
- Turn to coat with oil, cover with a damp cloth and set in a warm place to rise until the dough has doubled in size and volume, about 1 ½ – 2 hours.
- Lightly oil a 10 ½ X 13-inch baking pan.
- Punch the dough down and return it to a floured surface and knead again for a few minutes. It will be very elastic, springing back when you press down on it with 2 fingers.
- Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface, shaping it to the size of the baking pan.
- Transfer the dough to the pan, set in a warm place and let it rest for about 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400ºF.
- Dimple the surface of the dough with your fingers spacing about 1 ½ inches apart. Pour the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil over the surface and sprinkle with coarse salt.
- Bake until golden on top, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and drizzle with additional olive oil if you wish.
- Remove the bread from the pan and cut into squares to serve. The bread can be stored, well wrapped for up to 2 days. Just reheat slightly or serve at room temperature.
Many an Italian child will be taking a slice of this to school for his morning “spontino” snack. Grownups might enjoy it in the morning with café while standing at the bar or later in the day for “la merenda” with a glass of wine to get them thru until supper time. For merenda, their afternoon snack, children will most likely ask for a small slice of ciambellone or gelato. We enjoy it at home as an appetizer with a glass of wine.