Walk into any forno (a bakery for bread) in Tuscany and you will find schiacciata. This fluffy flat bread makes the perfect snack eaten out of hand and is also ideal for panini. The dough is dimpled by the baker’s fingers before baking and then drizzled with olive oil which collects in the little pockets. Schiacciata means “squashed or flattened”.
I’ve made focaccia before using Nancy Silverton’s recipe which hails from the Puglia region and although it is amazing, it is also quite time consuming. The beauty of this recipe for Tuscan focaccia is that it comes together quite quickly and it would be easy to whip up a batch of dough in the afternoon and serve it with your dinner. You could also sprinkle fresh herbs over the dough before baking and if you plan on using it for panini stuffed with salumi, I would cut down on the salt.
This recipe comes from Emiko Davies wonderful book Florentine. A while back I tested recipes for her book and if you’ve ever been to Florence and would like to recreate some of the dishes you ate there, then this is the book for you.
1/4 oz. (2-1/2 level teaspoons) active dry yeast
4-3/4 oz. lukewarm water
4-3/4 oz. milk, warmed
1 lb. 2 oz. all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt flakes
3 oz. extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve
1-1/2 oz. lard or butter, at room temperature
Stir the yeast into the water and milk in a mixing bowl and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Stir the flour in a wide bowl with 1 teaspoon of the salt and then add the yeast and water mixture along with 2 oz. (1/4 cup) of the olive oil and the butter. Combine to create a dough and knead on a lightly floured board for about 8 to 10 minutes until the dough is elastic and no longer sticky.
Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with a damp dish towel and let the dough rest in a warm draft free spot until it has doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Roll or gently stretch the dough to a rough rectangle about 3/4 to 1-1/4 in. thick. Line a baking sheet with parchment and place the schiacciata on top. Dimple the top of the dough with your fingers. Drizzle and/or brush the top with the remaining olive oil and sprinkle with the rest of the salt.
Bake in the oven on the bottom shelf for 20 minutes or until golden. Drizzle with a little more olive oil before serving. Best eaten the day it is baked.