Schiaciatta – literally ‘squashed’ or ‘flattened’ – is a Tuscan version the popular Italian flatbread focaccia. Their shape and size can vary, much like pizzas, but they are generally thin, resembling giant crackers in some cases. To stretch so thin the dough must be very well rested, so this dough should be made well ahead of time and can be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days. I like mine to have a varied thickness rather than uniform, so I prefer to hand stretch, leaving some parts very thin and crispy and others with a bit more of a chew. Like focaccia, you can top with a variety of different toppings, but going with the classic olive oil, scattered herbs and flaky sea salt is never a disappointment. This recipe is also perfect for when figs are in season, but substitute for whatever you have to hand. Black grapes make a delicious alternative.
Schiacciata (makes 1 large tray, approx. 40cm x 30cm)
For the dough:
360g 00 flour (or half plain, half bread flour)
50g wholemeal flour
6g fresh yeast (or substitute 3g dried instant yeast)
260g tepid water
A few tablespoons of olive oil
A scattering of flaky sea salt
A few sprigs of rosemary
Mix and knead the dough for about 10-15 minutes until strong and elastic. Leave covered for 30 minutes in an oiled bowl. After it has rested, stretch and fold the dough and return to the bowl. Repeat after another 30 minutes then place, covered, in the fridge for up to 5 days. If you want to use the same day, simply make in the morning to use in the evening.
Two or three hours before you wish to use the dough (less, if a very hot day) remove from the fridge.
Preheat your oven to 240°C.
Prepare a shallow tray, preferably the largest baking tray you have that fits your oven, by smothering in olive oil. Now place your dough, with the top side uppermost, onto your tray. Use the weight of the dough to gently stretch the dough to fit your tray. Encourage the dough to stretch from underneath, rather than ‘pushing’ the top of the dough, which risks tearing it. Concentrate on thinning particularly thick areas, but don’t get too hung up on uniformity. The wafer-thin parts will be delightfully crispy, the thicker parts more like pizza. If struggling to fit the area, cover and leave to rest in the tray for a few minutes. When you return, the dough will have relaxed and be more than ready to stretch further.
When stretched, cover the dough and leave for a further 15-20 mins, unless it is a particularly warm day and it looks as if it is ready to go.
Just before baking, scatter the rosemary, drizzle generously with olive oil and top with flaky sea salt. Place in the oven and reduce the temperature to 220°C. Bake for 20-25 mins until crisp and golden.
When baked, remove from oven onto a rack. Enjoy while warm.
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