Styling: Anita Parise & Renee Lenzarini
Blog: Renee Lenzarini
Photography: Anita Parise & Renee Lenzarini
Recipe & Inspiration: Focaccia has made a come back!
There’s pizza, focaccia, ciabatta, bruschetta … the list goes on … and then there’s Tuscan schiacciata. What’s the difference you say between these Italian breads? Well, somewhere between the southern pizza dough and the traditional focaccia Genovese is the schiacciata. Meaning to squash or flatten, schaicciata is similar in texture to pizza but thinner than focaccia. Confused yet? Most commonly served in Firenze con rosmarino e patate but alternatively you could use sage or oregano and onion. It should be crisp and crunchy but not chewy or greasy, with gorgeous pockets of olive oil and course sea salt. Schiacciata is also my Dad and GR’s Co-Owner & Marketing Director Danny’s, most favourite baked good!
The memories of eating schiacciata always bring a smile to my face as it is one of my family’s most favourite simple pleasures. In the heart of Lucca there is a panificio / alimentari that is a must visit each time we are lucky enough to be travellers to the city. Here you will find slabs upon slabs of focacce e schiacce that are cut to size. What a thrill it is, when you’re asked how big you would like your piece. “This much or this much?” they suggest whilst using a large serrated knife to mark the size. Quickly wrapped up and served in a brown paper bag, you are then free to casually wonder the cobblestone streets munching on the savoury delight.
Aside from being darn delicious, schiacciata is also extremely versatile. It can be filled, topped or served with a variety of antipasti such as prosciutto, salami, cheese, figs – oh the delectable combinations are bountiful! It also makes for a fabulous contorno (side) a pezzi or merenda (snack). We decided to make this recipe on a warm Sunday, Spring afternoon and it was such a hit with Anita’s two boys that they asked if we could make it again!
The latest edition to our recipe library required measuring, kneading and lots of waiting, however the aroma alone that filled the kitchen was well worth the wait! This recipe is the reason why I fell in love with Italian cooking. It’s the very simple ingredients that make for some of the most delicious recipes.
A special mention goes to our fantastic suppliers, The Manildra Group. To share in the home-style recipes and stories from the farms, families and their country kitchens, we recommend following The Healthy Baker’s Mill House Blog on Instagram @thehealthybaker or sign up to their monthly newsletter at their website.
We hope you enjoy our walk down memory lane GR Clubbers,
Renee, Anita & the GR Team
- 500g of regular all purpose flour + extra for kneading
- 1 sachet of dried yeast
- 2-3 tablespoons of quality olive oil + extra for greasing and drizzling!
- 1 cup of warm water
- 1 teaspoon of table salt
- 1 teaspoon of sugar
- Plenty of course sea salt
- Several sprigs of rosemary
- Optional toppings of choice - such as potato, prosciutto, olives or ripe tomatoes
- Place the flour, yeast, salt, sugar, olive oil and water into a large bowl. Combine the ingredients with your hands and knead on a floured surface for 5-10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. You may need to add a little more flour or water depending on the texture of the dough - the dough should be soft but not too wet/sticky.
- Next, shape the dough into a ball and place it in an oiled bowl. We then covered the dough with cling film and placed the bowl outside in the afternoon sun to rise for an hour until it had doubled in size. At this stage you can smell the fragrance of the olive oil.
- Once the dough has risen, grease an oven tray with a little olive oil and lay the dough out. As the dough is elastic, you will need to spend some time kneading and stretching the dough to fit the tray. Once this is done, cover with cling film and place in a warm spot (on the windowsill) and allow to rise for another 30 minutes.
- - Next, create dimples in the dough with your fingers, drizzle with olive oil and season well with sea salt and rosemary. Place the oven on 180 degrees and bake for 20-25 minutes until it is golden brown and crunchy.
- - Serve the schiacciata hot or cold as a merenda (snack) or with your favourite antipasti! You will see from the schiacciata pictured in the images that we made two. One was made in the classic olive oil style and the other with slices of thin potato and rosemary.
- *Note: Schiacciata is also great to reheat a day or two later. An alternative option is to place it in the freezer for another occasion, e.g. when you need to quickly put together an antipasto board!