Preparation - Medium
Serves 4 - 6
12 1/2 oz of unbleached flour
1 oz of fresh yeast
water and olive oil sufficient to mix and a
pinch of salt.
Crumble the yeast into a glass and add to it a little warm water. Mix it into a paste, then add more water and keep mixing until the glass is nearly full. Let the yeast fizz away to itself for a few minutes. Meanwhile heap your flour onto the pastry board and make a dip in the middle; into this dip scatter the salt, pour the glass of yeast and the oil, about a spoonful, and gradually mix the liquid into the flour by pushing the flour inwards into the pool of yeast. Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic, work it on the floured board and when you are satisfied with the texture put it into a flour-sprinkled earthenware crock, cover it with a clean cloth and leave it in a warm place to rise. Silvana puts hers under the fireplace. She leaves her dough to rise for about half an hour or so, but to make it rise completely it will need more like two hours.
While the dough is rising, heat your oven to Gas mark 6 or 400 degrees F or 200 degrees C. Have a baking sheet ready, which you must cover with a film of olive oil. You may also have ready some salt, a saucer of olive oil and a pastry brush, maybe a little tomato concentrate, a few very thinly sliced onion rings or even some sage leaves. When the dough has risen put the ball on a board and work it with your hands into roughly the shape of the baking sheet. Transfer it to the sheet and prick holes here and there with a large fork. Alternatively you can make small round dents here and there with your finger. Dip the pastry brush in olive oil and paint the surface of the dough, then as you please sprinkle on a little salt and few rosemary leaves, or tomato concentrate and onions, whatever takes your fancy. Put the baking sheet into the hot oven and let it cook for about ten minutes or more depending on the thickness of your dough. It should be a golden brown colour when it is done, and you must eat it hot from the oven. Split it if you like and make sandwiches filled with thin slices of prosciutto. Silvana often makes it plain with just oil and salt and serves it hot with prosciutto or salame for the morning merenda.
You may also use this dough for making pizze, but leave out the salt and oil.