Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Onion,Bell pepper & Paneer Schiacciata

When I started baking cakes a few years back,one thing which I couldn't help myself from doing was peeping into the oven every now and then.To see if the cake was rising well,browning well or sometimes overflowing from the pan(yes,it has happened to me!)But as time passed,I stopped doing that,checking only once or twice to see if the oven was indeed switched on or the heat is right.
Onion,Bell Pepper & Paneer Schiacciata
Same thing with bread baking.Though I have to say,it still amazes me to see the bread dough rising in room temperature first and then in the oven.Somehow makes me feel content thinking I have finally started baking 'edible' breads consistently,lol.Bread baking is indeed therapeutic and addictive.More so when the recipes are simple,no complicated steps to follow and foolproof.

Schiacciata[pronounced Skiah-cha-tah]is an Italian flatbread containing four basic ingredients - Flour,Yeast,Water and Olive oil.It means crushed or flattened in Italian and is the name for flatbread in Tuscany.The filling can be of your choice-sweet or savory,or none at all.I chose a basic filling with onions,tomatoes,bell pepper and paneer[cottage cheese].I added spices as I fancied throughout the cooking process and the filling turned out to be slightly Kadai Paneer-ish.A good mix of Italian and Indian cuisines I must say ;)
Onion,Bell Pepper & Paneer Schiacciata
Onion,Bell Pepper & Paneer Schiacciata
Recipe source - Citron & Vanille ; Baked as part of Fondbites,Bakealong


Instant dry yeast/ Active dry yeast – 2 teaspoons
Water – 100 ml to 150 ml, adjust
Sugar – 1 tablespoon
Salt – 1/2 teaspoon
All-purpose flour – 250 gms, extra for dusting
Olive oil – 30 ml, extra for basting
Milk – 3 tablespoons, for brushing

For the filling

Oil - 1 tbsp.
Jeera/Cumin - 1/4 tsp
Onion - 1,sliced into chunks
Ginger garlic paste - 1/4 tsp
Tomato - 1,pureed
Red chilly powder - 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder - 1/2 tsp
Haldi/turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Garam masala - 1/3 tsp
Bell pepper/Green Capsicum - 1/2 cup,chopped into chunks
Paneer/Cottage cheese - 100gms
Kasoori Methi - 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste


Take 1/4 cup of water and heat it up to lukewarm. Lukewarm in simple terms to work in home is to put one of your finger into the warm water and count till 5. If the 5th count is the final moment of bearing that heat, then you are good to go. Hotter than that will kill your yeast, colder than that will not kick start your yeast to react.
Onion,Bell Pepper & Paneer Schiacciata
To the luke warm water, add sugar and yeast and mix it well. Set it aside and do not disturb for 5 to 10 minutes until it will start to bubble up and become frothy. Those using instant yeast could skip this step and add the yeast to the flour along with sugar, salt and oil and start adding lukewarm water and begin making  your dough.I use instant yeast but still follow this step just to check if the yeast is active.
Onion,Bell Pepper & Paneer Schiacciata
In a large bowl add flour and salt and mix well. Add oil and use your fingertips to combine oil and flour mixture. Make a well in the center and pour the yeast mixture into the well. Add remaining water from the measurement little by little until the dough becomes soft and sticky. Not too wet and not dry and hard. It is hard to tell  the exact water measurement,  because moisture that is needed differs due to various causes. The key here is to add between 100 ml to 150 ml in total and get a sticky soft dough.
Onion,Bell Pepper & Paneer Schiacciata
Transfer the dough onto your counter top that is cleaned well.Ideally for gluten to form at this stage, the dough gets a stretch and fold kneading. So stretch the dough extending your hands to maximum possible extent, then fold the dough and bring it back, repeat. If its sticky, sprinkle very little flour and do the stretch and knead process. If it is not soft, sprinkle some water and repeat kneading. It is this stretch and knead that makes the dough smooth and silky and helps in gluten formation.  So stretch and fold, stretch and fold for 10 minutes.
If your dough wont become shiny in 10 minutes knead for a little longer. Idea is to get a shiny smooth surfaced dough.
Onion,Bell Pepper & Paneer Schiacciata
Once the dough kneading is done, use a bowl to cover the dough and let it for proving for about 30 to 45 minutes until the dough becomes double in volume.

Meanwhile,make the filling
You can either keep the filling plain-layering onion,tomato and herbs directly on the flattened dough or use a cooked filling to sandwich the schiacciata.
Onion,Bell Pepper & Paneer Schiacciata
In a pan add oil and splutter jeera.Saute the onions for 2-3 minutes till it starts slightly changing colour.Add the ginger garlic paste and tomato puree and cook for another 2-3 minutes on low flame.
Onion,Bell Pepper & Paneer Schiacciata
Add red chilly powder,coriander powder,haldi powder and garam masala.Cook for 1-2 minutes on a low flame taking care not to burn the spices.
Onion,Bell Pepper & Paneer Schiacciata
Now mix in salt to taste,chopped bell pepper and paneer and give a good mix.
Onion,Bell Pepper & Paneer Schiacciata
Add kasoori methi,mix well and switch off the flame.Let it cool completely.

Onion,Bell Pepper & Paneer Schiacciata
Knock or punch it down is the term used. Yes, use your fist to punch the dough, here we are releasing the air that's collected in the proved dough. Knock down throughout and combine the dough, give it slight kneading and now you are ready to go.
I decided to make 2 medium sized schiacciatas, so I divided the dough into 4 pieces. You can also make one big and you can divide into 2. Slightly flour your counter, take one portion of dough, roughly flatten it and roll it with your rolling pin to round shape about quarter of an inch thickness.
Onion,Bell Pepper & Paneer Schiacciata
Transfer the rolled dough to your baking tray that has been lined with parchment paper or silicon mat. Spread over the prepared filling.
Now take another portion of the dough and again flour your counter and roll it to round of a size little bigger than your first. Brush the sides of the first dough with milk and place the second rolled dough over the first. Seal the sides with your fingers first and use a fork to mark lines and seal it completely. Now use the fork to poke holes on top. This is done to let vapour release out during baking, so your sides wont split open. Let this prove again for 10 to 15 minutes to just increase a little in size. This stage is second proving and this is when 90% of the size of your yeasted dish will take up. Baking only cooks them, most of the rising bit happens outside of oven.
Now brush the top with milk using a pastry brush,or dab ever so slightly with your fingers.
Bake in pre-heated oven at 200 degrees, for 17 to 20 minutes until the top turns golden brown.
Once the schiacciata is out of the oven, immediately brush oil all over. Now you can be a little less gentle. This is called basting of oil and that helps keep it soft once cooled down. Once basting is done and you are able to bear the heat, remove from the baking tray to a cooling rack else the bottom will soak up moisture. You are ready to slice and eat while its warm.
Onion,Bell Pepper & Paneer Schiacciata
You can store in refrigerator for a day or 2 and could re heat it before serving.
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