This is a traditional recipe from the region of Emilia. Think of a tall, soft focaccia-like bread that is meant to be baked and eaten immediately with the whole family, in the form of little warm “sandwiches” with lots of different filling-combinations!
200g natural yeast (already doubled in volume)
100g olive oil
Water and olive oil (for topping)
Coarse salt (for topping)
Dough mixer (not necessary)
Container to host the first rising
Phase one: Dough and First Rising
Start by mixing milk and the yeast, and once you’ve obtained a foamy liquid, add the flour. Once the flour is well mixed in, add the slowly other ingredients, leaving the salt last. Fold a few times, and transfer the dough to the container you’ve chosen for the first rising. Cover with cling foil and punch a couple holes in it to let just enough oxygen go through. Let it rest at 26°C/78°F until doubled in volume.
Phase two: Shape and Second Rising
Take the dough out of the container and gently re-work it. With your fingers, spread the dough until it’s covered the entire surface of the oven tray. Make sure that your fingers don’t pull the dough apart as much as to tear it. It might be a tedious job because this dough can be quite elastic, but have faith 😛 Note that the dough should be at least 1.5″ tall to begin with!
Once again, cover with cling wrap, punch a few holes in it and wait for the second rising at 26°C/78°F.
Phase three: Baking and Serving
Pre-heat the oven to 250°C/480°F. Remove the cling wrap and, with a fork, try to pop the biggest air bubbles in the dough. Mix some water and olive oil and brush the mix to cover the whole surface. Sprinkle with coarse salt.
Transfer to the hot oven and let the gnocco bake for at least 25min.
You should have all the possible fillings available on the table (charcuterie, soft cheeses, pestos, salsas, arugula) before gnocco comes out the oven. When ready, cut it into 3″x4″ pieces, place them in a bowl and wrap them in a rag to keep them warm. Put the bowl at the centre of the table and let the “Could you pass the…?” routine begin: everyone will make their own little sandwiches by cutting the gnocco open in half horizontally and filling the middle with the preferred combination of fillings!
– prosciutto and stracchino
– mozzarella and mortadella
– pesto and prosciutto cotto