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How to Make Wine Harvest Celebration Bread, A hand made truely Artisan loaf. Schiacciata Con Uva
Traditional Italian Bread
Hello and welcome to my kitchen, you are just in time to do the washing up; only joking, grab yourself a beer from the fridge and let's get cooking.
My Italian friend Fabio has just returned from a holiday with his uncle in Milan. This particular uncle has a bakery and confectioners shop. His working day begins at three o'clock in the morning, so that he can have fresh bread for when the shop opens at seven o'clock. Fabio brought back a number of new ideas and recipes new to me.
Today we are going to make a very traditional celebratory bread, eating at grape harvest time. This fruit bread is amazingly tasty, filled with raisins that have been soaked in wine, or a mixture of wine and spirit.
Schiacciata Con Uva,
Once again this is a Tuscan bread which is baked to celebrate the grape harvest. Fresh grapes are put on top of the bread before cooking, these are to celebrate the new harvest. Inside the raisins have been soaked overnight for a few days in wine, and these celebrate the old harvest.
Fabio's mother told me that she remembers as a child everyone would make this bread and there was great competition between the women as to who had made the best bread.
My simple bread Recipe
The ingredients are very much like any other bread recipe, but I will go through them for you here.
Once again we need to make a sponge starter for the bread. It is best if this is left overnight to allow the dough to strengthen, at the same time you can soak your raisings in wine; traditionally of course it would be a Chianti, but you can use your favourite.
For the sponge starter.
200ml of tepid water about 100f
200gms of white bread flour.
1/2teaspoon of rapid rise dried yeast.
Mix them together to form a wet dough, and then leave it in the fridge overnight.
1 cup of good juicy raisins.
1 cup of red wine, you can use whatever your favourite tipple is, to be honest I used some Madera in with my wine, to give it a little more flavour.
soak them over night or for a few days
For the bread.
250gms of bread flour.
1 tsp salt
½ cup of sugar, I use caster or light brown; you use whatever you have to hand or prefer.
1 tblsp of olive oil
150 ml of warm water.
This is how to make your bread.
Put the dry flour and salt into a mixing bowl, and disperse the salt.
Add the sugar and a sachet of fast acting yeast or 20gms of fresh yeast.
Add your sponge. If it has been in the fridge overnight, then I suggest that you take it out of the fridge a good hour before you need to use it.
If you are using a machine to mix, turn it on and have a quick cuppa.
If you are mixing by hand which is the best way, it’s a great way to the get the stress of the day out.
Enjoy the task, smell the flour and yeast, feel the dough and stretch it and knead it until it is soft and spongy. I think it is one of the greatest smells ever, and if there was a top fifty of smells it would certainly be in there at number one.
Your dough needs to be left to rise until it has doubled in size.
When it is time to knock it back punch the air out of it, and then I split my dough into four. This gave me two tops and two bases to work with.
Roll out the dough to make a nice round base; I have to be honest I am hopeless at rolling dough out in a circle, despite the fact that I have made hundreds of flatbreads such as chapatis. So do your best, the secret here is to make sure that your tops and bases are the same size.
The gooy bit
Spoon some of your lovely raising mix onto the bases and with the back of a spoon spread it out. You can sprinkle a little sugar over the top if you have a sweet tooth.
Seal the Raisins inside The LoafClick thumbnail to view full-size
Now place your top on and work around the edges to try and sealed the bread so that the juices from the raisings will not escape.
Now decorate the top with fresh seedless grapes pressing them in to the soft dough. Allow each loaf to prove or rise for about 25 min in a warm kitchen. Again you can sprinkle the top with sugar.
Decorate with seedless grapes
You need your oven at gas mark 590° C or 375° F.
Cook for 40 min in the middle of your oven.
It should sound hollow if you tap it underneath straight from the oven.
This bread makes a great tasty dessert or treat.
The loaves in Tuscany would be taken to church and blessed, which gave thanks for the past harvests and for future harvests.
It should of course be drunk with wine or grape juice and enjoyed with friends.