These are small thin style pizza breads that the Tuscan farmers use to make to test whether their wood fired ovens were hot enough to bake the bread. Unlike most other focaccias or pizze, no oil or salt is added to the bread until after baking. Covaccine is the Tuscan vernacular for Schiacciata a term used throughout Italy.

The Florentine schiacciata all’olio, known in Italian as focaccia, comes from the Latin focàcia, meaning cooked over the hearth. Composed of water, flour, rising agent and salt, many varieties around Italy exist. The Florentine one uses a godly amount of olive oil and large grain salt, and the best is cooked in a wood burning oven. It should be crispy but not hard, oily but not greasy. Clearly an art that can be perfected, or done badly.

Note: this salty treat is not to be confused with the carnival cake called Schiacciata alla fiorentina which is a sponge cake, usually filled with cream and topped with icing sugar.

500g fine semolina flour
3 cups plain flour
28g dry yeast
2 cups luke warm water
2 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 220c.

Mix flours together and make a well in the centre, dissolve the yeast in 1 cup of the water and the salt in the remaining cup. Pour the dissolved yeast in into the well and start mixing with a wooden spoon, incorporating some of the flour from the outside. When you have achieved a thick batter, add in the salted water and continue to mix, incorporating more flour keeping ¼ of flour aside.

Start kneading the dough bringing it together then break the dough up into 16 pieces and knead each piece for about 30 seconds giving it the shape of a ball. Cover the balls with a damp cloth and allow to rise for about 1 hour in a warm place.

When ready, roll out the bread to nothing less than ¼ of an inch thick, again cover and allow to rest for about another hour.

Lay the cavaccine on trays and bake for about 4-5 minutes on each side. Serve hot drizzled with oil and seasoned with salt.

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