The first thing you have to do to prepare this delicious aperitif is to stand beside grandpa and observe how he prepares the dough.
It’s Tuscan tradition is to use sourdough yeast, but if there’s none to hand, beer yeast is a valid alternative.
The next step is to admire grandpa’s skill as he kneads the 00-type flour into dough, adding a little olive oil and occasional pinches of salt.
You’re fascinated, and watch as he pours some lukewarm water preheated on the hob into a mixing bowl, in which he then dissolves the yeast, carefully amalgamating the mixture with a wooden spoon.
Now he slowly adds the yeast and water to the flour, gently blending and smoothly kneading until he has obtained a softly homogeneous and slightly sticky mass. He places his ball of dough in a bowl, sprinkling it lightly with flour. Finally, he covers the bowl with a moist cloth… and says that the dough now needs to rest for a while in a warm place.
After a pleasant couple of hours, you check together whether the dough has doubled in volume. If so, he scatters a generous amount of flour on the wooden work surface and then you watch as he expertly works and reworks the dough with a wooden rolling pin.
At this point in the process, grandpa will probably wink at you with a smile and ask whether you like your schiacciata soft or crisp. Now he’ll roll the dough into a neat flat sheet, carefully evened to a height of roughly half a centimetre. Next grandpa will take a well-greased baking pan and lay the sheet of dough in it, using his thumbs to create a degree of unevenness, but taking care never to perforate the sheet. After this, he hands you a pastry brush and asks you to spread a light layer of extra virgin olive oil on the top.
Together you scatter some carefully washed and dried rosemary needles, to add further aroma.
Now turn on the oven. While waiting for it to reach 220°C, the dough benefits from a further rest. Into the oven goes the pan, where it bakes until the surface is a fine golden colour. To be served as hot as possible, with an extra splash of raw olive oil.
Call the rest of the family! And let yourself go in the pleasure of this rich taste of life, shared with loved ones.