“A tavola non si invecchia”. - Italian proverb (At the table with good friends and family you do not become old).

Sharing authentic Italian recipes entrusted upon me through the privilege of being invited into many Italian homes and kitchen’s abroad. I travel, cook, eat, share, learn and photograph my experiences, a truly soul enriching journey. There are now over 100 recipes on this blog to search from. I am a Melbourne born girl who now resides in Pietrasanta, Italy. Sharing my love for food and all things Italian with you. I am not a professionally trained chef, just a person that really loves cooking and has made my passion my reality! Through talent and drive I now work as a private chef in some of the most prestigious private villa`s here in Versilia, Italy!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Schiacciata alla Fiorentina (sweet bread from Florence)

This bread was originally enjoyed around the time of carnivale, and who does not love the festivities of carnivale? However it is now a specialty found in bakeries annually in Florence. Although this looks like a cake it is actually a sweet bread. Most bakeries sell many versions of this both sweet and savoury and sell them in large rectangular slabs (refer to my recipe Schiacciata for basic version). Once you decide your option they will cut the amount you require, it's a great system as you can select your desired piece, corner or middle. Schiacciata is the word used in Florence for foccacia. When I have ordered Schiacciata in other region's in Italy, I have been told "I am not in Florence now". I first discovered the sweet version of this bread when I was travelling to another country and I wanted to bring my host an authentic gift from Florence. I was advised that this was the ultimate gift to present. Needless to say it was greatly accepted.
Although this is simple to make it is labour intensive. Make sure you are happy to roll your sleeves up and ready for a workout. I know most of you will be mortified to see that this requires lard, but try to remember that this is an old school recipe and is the traditional way of making it. Also remember, that you only need a slither. Enjoy with a coffee as a snack!
About a matchbox size of fresh yeast 20g
very elastic dough, final result 
What you need:
500g tipo 00 flour
20g fresh yeast (purchase from bakery)
300g water
two organic eggs
pinch of salt
125g sugar
150g lard
zest of one orange
How to make:
1: Whisk the yeast and water together, pour over sifted flour in a large bowl. Use a spoon to combine, when dough comes to together start to use your hands. Transfer to a lightly floured bench and knead for about five minutes until dough is smooth and elastic. Place the dough back in the bowl, cover with tea towel and let rest in a warm place for an hour- allowing dough to double in size
2: Punch dough down, add eggs, sugar, salt and zest. Dough will separate and look like a mess, you need to get your hands dirty. Use your hands to mix all ingredients together this will take about 10-15 minuets (it is labour intensive). You could use a dough hook but I like to feel the dough. The dough will come together, smooth and elastic.
3: Once the dough has been combined, add the room temperature lard and again use your hands to combine, this will only take 1-2 minuets
4: Place the dough in a large rectangular baking pan lightly greased with some lard and sprinkled with flour. Cover with a tea towel and allow dough to rest in baking pan for two hours- dough will rise double in size
5: Place in a pre-heated 180 degree oven for about 30 minutes until cooked through
6: Remove, allow to cook, then sprinkle with icing sugar. Use the Florentine symbol if you desire

Symbol for Florence, use for stencil
At the theatre in Florence- Teatro di Firenze

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