Schiacciata What better way to bring in the Jewish New Year!
In honor of the harvest, Italians bake sugared-coated wine grapes strewn across an olive oil yeasted bread to make a traditional bread called schiacciata.
I am not Italian, nor did I ever taste this bread while traveling as a student in Italy.
But I had catering clients all over New York’s East Side near the bake shop Ecce Pane (“Behold the Bread”) and always found the time to go in there and get a slice of their memorable schiacciata.
This recipe comes from a longing and is an homage to that wonderful bakery slice, bursting with table grapes and aromatic seeds.
In our own markets, we enjoy an abundance of varietal grapes with many delicious flavorful domestic grapes that are seedless. This recipe uses the ruby reds and the black seedless that come into season through the fall and winter months.
This bread dough is made in two easy stages: first there is a biga, next the final dough.
The biga is an Italian starter/ sponge that provides the chewy texture the bread’s pull of interest while eating. I make the biga the night before, along with the infused olive oil.
The final dough gets quickly made in the standing mixer.
I hope this special bread will cast its riches and spells on you, too!
Note: pizza stones are cheap- I bought mine for ten dollars. This is a wonderful option if crust is your prime interest.
Biga (make the night before)
1½ cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
2 packages dry yeast (not rapid)
1 cup water, baby bottle warm
Infused Olive Oil (make the night before)
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon anise seeds
Final Dough (the following day)
2½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cups water, baby bottle warm
½ tablespoon salt
3 cups seedless ruby red and black grapes: picked, stemmed and washed
1½ cups sugar
½ teaspoon fennel seeds
½ teaspoon anise seeds
½ cup sugar
olive oil and cornmeal (for the sheet pan)
The night before prepare the biga; In the standing mixer bowl combine the flour, sugar and yeast.Pour the warm water over the dry ingredients, stir with a rubber spatula to combine.Cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap, leave out overnight.
Pour the olive oil into a glass measuring cup or drinking glass. Add in the fennel and anise seeds. Microwave for 1 minute and leave out over-night to infuse.
The next day: wash and stem the grapes. Put the grapes into a bowl and toss in the sugar, fennel seeds and anise seeds. Stir to combine the sugar and seeds among the grapes. Set aside on the counter.
Finishing the dough: the biga should looks deflated. Add in the flour, water and kosher salt and all the infused oil and seeds into the biga.
Attach the dough hook and blend for one minute.
Scrape down sides, then continue on medium speed to knead the dough for 6 minutes. The dough will pool a little at the bottom and be a little sticky.
Oil a bowl twice the size of the dough and scrape the dough in.
Oil your hands and form the dough into a smooth mound by tucking the dough underneath itself.
Cover with a kitchen towel and let the dough rise for about an hour. It will double and not be sticky.
Brush the baking sheet with olive oil. Sprinkle lightly with cornmeal.
Get out a rolling pin and dust the work surface with flour.
Slip dough out of the bowl to land on flour. Cut the dough in two equal halves.
Place one half on the prepared baking sheet. Use your fingertips to tap the dough out evenly to the edges.
Use a large kitchen spoon to scatter half the sugared grapes about the surface of the tapped out dough. Use the back of the spoon and press the grapes into the dough.
Dust work surface and the remaining dough with flour. Use the rolling pin to stretch the remaining dough out into a rectangle the same size as the pan.
Stretch each side in its appropriate direction.
Dust the rolled surface with flour. Roll the dough up onto the pin. Starting at one end to unroll the rectangle over the sugared grapes.
Stretch and tap out the dough until it meets the edges of the bottom dough. Use your finger tips to tap and press the top dough over the bottom layer- its okay if some grapes pop through the dough.
Scatter the remaining sugared seasoned grapes and all the remaining sugar on top.
With your fingers, tap the entire surface of the finished dough. Seal the two edges together by gently tapping them.
Sprinkle the entire surface with the remaining ½ cup of sugar.
Let the dough rise for an hour away from drafts.
If using place baking stone: place on the oven’s middle shelf. The bread will be baked atop the hot stone)
Turn on the oven 30 minutes before baking.
Preheat the oven to 450 °F (convection if available).
Bake on the middle shelf (directly on top of the stone if using) for 20 minutes.
Turn the oven down to 350 °F.
Let the bread bake for a further 40 minutes. It should be a deep golden brown.
Remove. Let it sit for 45 minutes.
Slip the harvest bread onto the cutting board.
Use a sharp knife or pizza cutter to slice the bread in two length wise. Then slice into triangles or rectangles.
Serve with a napkin.
Eat handheld like pizza!
Note: Grape Harvest Bread is best eaten the day it’s made.
Lauren Stacy Berdy earned her professional diploma from Ecole de Cuisine, La Varenne Paris, France in 1978, then spent a few years working in Europe before bringing it home. She spent more than three decades as a private chef-caterer. She now resides 130 paces from the beach with her husband in Hollywood, Florida, where she wrote Remaining Kosher Volume One: A Cookbook For All With A Hechsher In Their Heart. This eBook is available on iTunes. Volume Two is well on its way.
These recipe is an excerpt from:
Remaining Kosher Volume Two: A Cookbook for All with a Hechsher in Their Heart
UDJ Productions All text © 2016 Lauren Stacy Berdy All photos © 2016 John White
Recipe text and photos may be reproduced at KosherEye.com only with full credit to Lauren Stacy Berdy and Remaining Kosher Volume Two. Provided photos may be reproduced at KosherEye.com only in conjunction or promotion of the following recipe from Remaining Kosher Volume Two. All other rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form, or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording or any other information storage and retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the publisher.