Schiacciata - Less Yeast, More Taste

The Schiacciata was originally a disc of dough made by mixing water and various ground cereals, then "flattened" to be cooked on stones made hot by the fire. It had to be thin because with this rudimentary method of cooking, the inside of the classic bread would have been raw. Schiacciata was flavored with various herbs or ingredients, and it was unleavened.

The introduction of the use of yeast by the Egyptians marked a major turning point in the history of bread. Then, the spread of wheat by the Romans was the decisive step towards the development of the culture of bread arrived today.

In the tradition of bread in Tuscany, which has its roots in peasant culture, this type of bread has always been one of the main foods. When the bread was made, which should have been enough for the whole week, as many schiacciate were baked as the oven floor could hold.

They also had the function of oven "alarms" the oven: in fact, the cooking mode indicated the heat level reached by the bricks during the heating phase of the oven. Part of the bread dough was used to do "donzelle" (damsels): manipulated in various ways, when they were put to fry in olive oil, swelled into sinuous shapes as female ones.

A Simple but Ancient Recipe

The recipe for the classic version is simple: a ball of dough lying on the pastry board, seasoned with olive oil and coarse salt, then cooked in a wood oven. Anyway, the real Schiacciata is rare to find. It's, in fact, less widespread than the Neapolitan pizza, but famous for its flavor.

For the preparation of the dough it's necessary to avoid the use of mechanical mixers. The flour combined with sourdough and water turns into something that only manual processing can vivify.

Kneading the dough, rolling it, shaping it with the heat of the hand, it's the ancestral rite from the real Schiacciata is born.

From Tuscany to Sicily

Before putting it in the oven, the dough should be compressed with the fingers at some points, so the characteristic "holes" will arise after cooked. It can also be greased with lard and taking the name of "greasy schiacciata". A variant is that stuffed with cold sausages (the ideal one is mortadella) or cheese, even if the filling varies according to taste and regions.

Similar to that of Tuscany are the Sicilian Schiacciata from Messina (bread dough stuffed with cheese, potatoes, broccoli (or cauliflower), sausage, tomatoes, onion, pepper, olive oil, salt) and the one from Catania, that is bread dough stuffed with “primosale” cheese (no salt), and desalted anchovies preserved in oil, pepper and olive oil.

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