Grape Schiacciata

I always feel a little presumptuous posting about regional breads, especially ones that are new to me. On the other hand, limiting myself to writing about breads that I’ve known intimately since childhood would mean an entire blog about Pepperidge Farm White Sandwich and Dutch Dill breads, and that might get old fast.

I hope it’s understood that most of what I write here about new breads comes from what I can glean from travels with my virtual surfboard and a fairly good sampling of bread books like these. I also hope it’s understood that I welcome anyone who has any firsthand knowledge of these things to correct, expand upon, or otherwise edit my neophytic commentary. I particularly invite my Italian friends to chime in on this one.

That said, here’s what I think I know about schiacciata:

  • Schiacciata is a Tuscan flatbread, similar to — or is it a type of, or another name for? — focaccia.
  • Schiacciata is pronounced something like skya-CHA-ta, and means “crushed” or “squashed” in Italian.
  • Schiacciata can be plain or filled with fruit, vegetables, meat, or cheese.
  • Grape schiacciata (schiacciata con l’uva) is a traditional version that celebrates the Tuscan grape harvest. It typically uses wine grapes (with seeds). I used seedless black grapes.
  • Schiacciata can be made as a rich, sweet pastry with eggs and lard, or as a rather lean dough. The one I made contains just a little sugar and olive oil in the dough, and a little more on top.
  • Anise seed is not an uncommon addition to sweeter versions of schiacciata. Fennel seed, which I used, seems to be less common but not unheard of.
  • I did not find semolina to be an ingredient in any of the schiacciata recipes I looked at. I included some in mine because I like the hint of golden color and nutty flavor it adds to dough, and because I’m wild like that.

Grape Schiacciata

Yield: one 12 x 15-inch flatbread

Time:

  • Infuse olive oil: one hour
  • Mix: 10 minutes
  • First fermentation : one hour
  • Proof: one hour and 10 minutes (with garnishing done halfway through this time)
  • Bake: about 25 minutes

Desired dough temperature: 75F

Ingredients:

  • 340 g flour
  • 100 g semolina flour
  • 260 g water
  • 3.2 g (1 t.) instant yeast
  • 6 g (1 t.) salt
  • 26 g (2 T.) granulated sugar
  • 72 g (1/3 c.) olive oil
  • leaves from 5 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 g (1/2 t.) fennel seed, coarsely chopped
  • 400 g seedless black grapes
  • a few additional whole fennel seeds for topping

Method:

  1. Gently crush the rosemary leaves with your hand, and add them to a small bowl with the olive oil. Let rest for about an hour, then strain the oil and reserve the rosemary.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, semolina flour, yeast, salt, chopped fennel seed, 13 g (1 T.) of the sugar, 28 g (2 T.) of the infused oil (reserving the rest), and most of the water. Mix with your hands in the bowl until roughly combined.
  3. Turn the dough out onto an unfloured counter and continue to mix (knead) with your hands for about 5 minutes, until the dough reaches a medium level of gluten development. Early during this time, adjust the water to achieve a medium-soft dough consistency.
  4. Flatten the dough into a disk, spread about 300 g of the grapes onto the dough, and fold the dough repeatedly until the grapes are evenly distributed throughout. Do this gently to keep grape-crushing to a minimum.
  5. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled container. Cover and ferment for one hour at room temperature.
  6. On a parchment-lined baking sheet, press and pat the dough into a rough rectangle, about 12 by 15 inches.
  7. Proof, covered, for about 35 minutes at room temperature.
  8. Press the remaining 100 g of grapes into the surface of the dough. Brush generously with some of the remaining infused oil and sprinkle with the remaining 1 T. sugar, a few whole fennel seeds, and a few of the reserved rosemary leaves.
  9. Continue to proof, covered, for another 35 minutes.
  10. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425F.
  11. Bake the schiacciata for about 25 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and the grapes are starting to burst and ooze purple juice.
  12. Cool on a wire rack, or serve warm.

CommentsLeave a comment

  1. says

    Yum, looking good, made this once when I got a bucket of grapes from the neighbor.. recipe said to deseed. I didn’t. Oh and accidentally using star anise instead of anise seed wasn’t such a lucky move either. Eating was quite the experience.

  2. says

    Oh, this looks fabulous! I made a version of this bread last fall with concord grapes – the recipe I used said to use seeded grapes. It was delicious, and I’d do it again in a hearbeat – with seedless grapes, though!

    I’ll bet this would be wonderful using the tart cherries that are just starting to come into season here. Hmmm. . . .

  3. says

    I always thought grapes in bread sounded strange and unappealing… UNTIL I made a focaccia with grapes for a dinner party. What a hit it was!

    I had never heard of schiacciata – but the word is lovely, and so is the bread…

  4. says

    YUM! i bought black grapes late last week to make this, but ended up using them for clafoutti at the last minute on Sunday night. You’ve inspired me to get more black grapes and this time make it LOL

  5. says

    That looks delicious!

    Hmm, wonder if I could make something similar using part of my amish friendship bread starter. Will have to experiment.}:P

  6. says

    Looks amazing (as always). Have a feeling this would be great made with muscat grapes with some really smelly blue cheese alongside…

  7. says

    What a lovely bread! I’ve never made schiacciata before, or foccacia for that matter, but this grape and fennel bread sounds like a very interesting combination.

    Do you eat it with something, or on it’s own? We tend to eat foccacia with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, or to start a meal. I imagine the fennel and grape would make it a little harder to pair things with.

  8. says

    You just reminded me how wonderful the blue cheese, grape and rosemary foccacia I made awhile back was, but… this looks so much better. I love how you pressed some of the grapes into the bread. It looks stunningly beautiful!!

  9. Jan says

    Susan,
    I make a variety of this bread and it is always a hit. My recipe is very simple and does not include herbs, just seedless black grapes, little sugar, almonds and olive oil. Last summer when I made it, I had some extra dough and extra grapes, so I just wrapped a piece of dough around a grape and baked about 20 of them in a separate pan. Grape bread finger food!

    I was one of your students at SFBI baguette course last December. It was the best course and my bread baking has improved along with my self-confidence in my techniques. Since that course, I use a scale to weigh the ingredients, a thermometer to check the temp of the dough and final product and am getting good at shaping. Thanks for this website and for all of your inspiration.
    Jan

  10. says

    This looks stunningly beautiful, Susan. I love the way the grapes sink into the bread. (I promise I didn’t just copy Mimi’s comment!)

    Fennel seeds and grapes together! And rosemary too. Cool. I must admit I’d never have thought of that combination – but why not? So often we exclaim over getting hints of licorice and/or herbs in the wine we taste.

    @Mimi: blue cheese, rosemary and grapes, that sounds really good too!

  11. says

    Wow! Susan, this is the most gorgeous schiacciata I have ever seen! But coming from Ms. Wild Yeast I am not surprised. I have wanted to make one for so long and now I know where I’ll be turning to for the recipe. Perfect and mouthwatering!

  12. Heidi says

    I grew up in Middletown, Connecticut, a town with a large Sicilian population. A few pizza joints always had scacciata – which seem like a simpler version of your schiacciata. They are like large slightly more bready calzones, stuffed with broccoli and sausage, potato and onion, sausage and peppers. I haven’t seen anything quite like it before. Just thought the bread historian in you might be interested. BTW, your recipe looks fanatastic!

  13. says

    Ciao Susan Your schiacciata (the name tuscan people use in general for bakeries pizza) looks really wonderful ! In the original recipe there is no hard wheat because that is traditional of the southern breads but I’m sure it did no harm !

  14. Lauren says

    Hi Susan, Just saw your post (rather a bit after the fact), and the schiacciata looks lovely. I live in Florence, and schiacciata con l’uva is all over the place right now (being grape harvest season), so I thought I would chime in with some info. First, schiacciata and foccaccia are one in the same. What name you use depends on where you are–schiacciata is the Tuscan version. Schiacciata con l’uva is typically looks pretty close to what you’ve made, but often involves a whole ton more grapes (they tend to be piled on/pushed in quite thickly–tasty, but does ultimately effect the texture and integrity of the dough itself). Also, schiacciata is generally not filled with things, rather tomatoes, prosciutto, cheese, olives etc are placed on top (like the grapes). In this form, it is quite similar to pizza in concept. The main difference seems to be mostly that Italian pizza has very thin crust, where as foccaccia is always relatively bready (so foccaccia with topping might end up being rather like some American thicker-crust pizzas). I’ve been thinking for several weeks that I really ought to try making some schiacciata con l’uva, and after seeing your post I’m all the more inspired. Perhaps I’ll have to pick up some wine grapes the next time I’m at the market!

  15. Laurel says

    This was one of the favorites of at the FCI’s bread program; whenever we had a ‘free’ recipe slot open and the materials at hand, this ended up in the oven. It makes amazing ricotta or fresh mozzarella and prosciutto sandwiches, and as a previous poster mentioned, is always welcome at parties. So many surprised faces when they get that rich olive-y, jammy, herbal mouthful. And it’s so easy to make, you almost feel guilty about it.
    One of my later summer favorites subs blueberries and thyme with just a pinch (seriously — no spoons, just a pinch) of cinnamon and nutmeg to really bring together the sweet and the herbal. And now I’m glad that I’ve got the correct name! I’ve just been calling it rosemary-grape focaccia for ages.
    Thanks!

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