Updated: Mar 12, 2019
Recently we posted out original Schiacciata 101 recipe, which produces some of the best Italian flatbread you could ever want to eat. Salty, olive-oily, crunchy... one bite and you'll never go low-carb again.
Once you've made the original recipe a time or two and developed a little skill, it's time to branch out and add toppings.
For the first of these topped-schiacciata recipes, we're going with another favorite - potato and rosemary, or "schiacciata alla patata e rosmarino" as one might say in Florence. It's a schiacciata covered in potato slices, sprinkled heavily with fresh rosemary, olive oil and salt.
In fact, this 102 recipe builds upon the first. So for potato and rosemary schiacciata, the first thing to do is prepare the original recipe all the way up to the point of putting the dough into the oven.
Just don't put it in... we have to add the toppings.
And know that this schiacciata requires a little more skill than the original, but we're up to it. Other than a little ambiguity around keeping an eye on the bread for doneness near the end of the baking time, the original recipe is fairly exact. There is not a whole lot of room for improvisation.
Ma siamo esperti adesso, e non abbiamo niente di paura.
The schiacciata training wheels are off. We have a couple of decisions to make, and these will greatly affect the outcome of our bread.
The first is, which kind of potato do you want to use? Good choices are medium to heavy starchy potatoes, such as Yukon Golds or plain old Idaho russets. Good solid safe choices, and if it's your first time making this recipes, great ones to begin with. If you want to get a little crazier and try a waxy variety or one of those colored spuds, go for it.
Once you've chose your potato, the next decision point is more important - how thick will you slice it? We need to match the cooking time of our potato slices to the surrounding exposed dough.
For example, if you like a thicker potato slice, say more than 1/8th of an inch or so, you need to pre-boil the potato slices for six minutes or so. You don't want them all the way soft and falling apart, but you need them to be mostly done. The reason for this is that a thicker potato will take longer to cook in the oven. If your potato slices take a long time to cook, the exposed parts of your bread may burn before your potatoes are done.
If you go for a thin slice, you don't have to worry about pre-boiling. Your potatoes will cook at about the same rate as the rest of the bread, and if you're really good, get a nice golden color similar to your schiacciata.
And your third choice is how to lay the potatoes. Some people like to overlap their potatoes, with maybe only the top half of each slice showing. Others like to give their slices plenty of room, so that they're almost like pepperonis on a pizza. If you overlap, you are creating a defacto thicker potato, so adjust accordingly.
Again, there are no right or wrong answers here. This is a 102 lesson. We aren't beginners anymore. You can choose.
Are you nervous yet?
Schiacciata 102 Recipe
Step 1: Follow our original Schiacciata 101 recipe up until the it is in its final rise right before it is to go in the oven.
The original recipe is our base. Now we focus on making it even more delicious with potatoes and rosemary.
For this schiacciata, I chose to go with russet potatoes, thicker slices, boiled them, and laid them out so that they weren't touching.
Step 2: Pick your potato, wash and peel it, pick the slice thickness you like, and slice it up.
Step 2a: If you have chose a slice thickness of 1/8th of an inch or wider, boil your slices for six minutes or so until they are ALMOST but not completely done. remove them from the boiling water and dry them with a kitchen towel or paper towels.
Step 3: Lay your potato slices out on your dough in whatever arrangement you like.
Step 4: Sprinkle lavishly with fresh rosemary. Drizzle olive oil over the potato slices. Add salt (and pepper if you like).
Step 5: Bake as you would in the original recipe. After 25 minutes, start watching the schiacciata for doneness. In an ideal world, the exposed parts othe bread dough and the potatoes will brown and become done at the same time.
Troubleshooting: If your bread seems brown but your potatoes are not done, just make notes for your next schiacciata: you either need thinner potatoes, need to boil them a little longer, or spread them out more.
And remember, little old Italian ladies have been making these for decades. They've made them hundreds of times, if not thousands. They have their technique down so they could almost bake these in their sleep. They weren't perfect on their first try, but after 50 or 60 years, it just seems like they were. If your first one isn't perfect, don't get discouraged... just adjust and make another. It will still probably be pretty delicious anyway. By schiacciata 5 or 6, you'll be an expert.