Makes 1 Large Loaf
Schiacciare means "to crush or flatten", and schiacciata is a flatbread that can change character depending on the toppings and season of the year. At home, the dough was prepared weekly and topped with oil and herbs, or sometimes vegetables and onions.
But in the fall, when grapes were plentiful, Grandma Galasso would sweeten the dough with sugar, then crush the grapes with her fingers and spread them on top of the dough. A second sheet of dough was placed over the top of the grapes and the Schiacciata was baked.
I use red seedless grapes, but I don't crush them. The result is a sweet-tart harvest bread, with the grapes almost protruding under the blanket of dough as it bakes. It is best served the day it is made, either for dessert or as a snack.
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (110º to 115ºF)
6 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons Filippo Berio Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
2 1/2 to 2 3/4 cups King Arthur™ Unbleached, All-Purpose Flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 pounds seedless red grapes, stemmed, washed, and dried
1 large egg, beaten
In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water and let proof for 5 minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons of sugar and 2 tablespoons of sugar and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.
In a small bowl, mix 2 1/2 cups of the flour with the salt and add to the yeast mixture. Work the dough with your hands until a smooth ball of dough is formed. Add additional flour as needed, but do not make the dough too stiff. Knead the dough for a few minutes.
Grease a large bowl with 1/2 teaspoon of the olive oil and turn the dough in it. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and place in a warm place to rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
Brush a 17 1/2 x 11 1/4-inch baking pan with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil. Place a piece of parchment paper, cut to fit the bottom and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
After the dough has risen once, punch it down and turn it out onto a floured surface. Knead the dough a few times, then with a rolling pin, roll it into a 20 x 16-inch rectangle. Place the dough in the pan, stretching it a little over the sides of the pan. Brush the dough with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, then scatter the grapes evenly over the top. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the sugar evenly over the grapes.
Bring the overhanging dough from the 2 longest sides toward the middle and pinch the seam together. Cut most of the excess dough off the 2 remaining short sides, leaving about 1/2 inch extending. Then fold the dough in on itself, pinching the ends closed. Using a fork, crimp the 2 short ends. The finished size should be about 15 x 8 inches.
Re-roll the scraps of dough and make a decorative pattern on top. I like to cut out vines and leaves, and make small bunches of grapes, but a crisscross pattern is nice too. Gently brush the top all over with the beaten egg and sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar evenly over the top. Bake on the middle rack for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the dough is golden brown on top and browned on the bottom.
Let the Schiacciata cool for 30 minutes. Then carefully lift it out, with the parchment paper. Let it cool to warm, then carefully pull the parchment paper away from the bottom, or leave the parchment paper in place and remove after cutting the Schiacciata into serving pieces. This is best served warm the day it is made. It does not freeze well.
This recipe is from NELLA CUCINA by Mary Ann Esposito, published by William Morrow and Company Inc., in 1993.
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