Crescentina – 1
This focaccia-like bread of Bologna has also lost some of its grandeur, no longer a regular in bakeries and restaurants, largely because it is a home-baked food subject to countless variations.
And because it needs to be eaten fresh from the oven.
Some cooks swear by the lean bacon version, others insist the fat in the bacon is essential for flavour and appearance, and the odd cook in five believes in mixing all the ingredients together before proving.
400 g strong white flour 300 g water, lukewarm 100 g fat/lean bacon/pork belly, minced 20 g yeast 1 tsp sugar Olive oil Salt, pinch
Dissolve yeast in the sugar and water.
Combine salt, flour and yeast water to form a dough. Turn out onto a floured surface, knead for 15 minutes until elastic and smooth, albeit still sticky. Leave to rise for 45 minutes, degas, leave to rise for 30 minutes.
Work bacon or pork into the dough, making sure it is distributed evenly.
Set oven to 240°C. After five minutes place a rectangular baking tray in the oven. Remove and spread a splash of oil over the warm tray.
Roll the dough out to the size of the tray and with a forceful finger action push it toward the edges. Be careful not to puncture the dough. It must be even across the tray. Cover and leave to rise for one hour.
Turn oven down 20°.
Bake for ten minutes.
It will be almost ready when the top and bottom take on a golden colour. This is the desired effect, as a consequence of the fat in the bacon/pork. The crumb should be soft.
Take the tray out and loosen bread free with two long spatulas.
Place a wire rack on top of the bread, flip over, slide back onto the tray and bake for another five minutes.
Cut into squares, eat hot.
Crescentina – 2
400 g strong white flour 100 ml milk, lukewarm 100 g mix of ham, mortadella, pancetta 100 ml olive oil 100 ml sparkling water 20 g yeast 1 onion, chopped 15 g garlic, chopped 1 tsp rosemary, chopped Salt
Dissolve yeast in the milk.
Combine salt, flour, oil and yeast milk to form a dough. Turn out onto a floured surface, knead for 15 minutes until elastic and smooth. Leave to rise for 45 minutes, degas, leave to rise for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 220°C.
Divide the dough into 75g pieces, incorporate garlic, onion, rosemary and meat.
Roll each piece into thin sheets, cut into irregular shapes, score with a fork.
Place on two oiled baking trays.
Bake for 20 minutes at 200°C.
Crescentina – 3 (Gnocco Fritto)
500 g strong white flour 325 ml milk, lukewarm 75 g vegetable oil 20g yeast Salt, pinch
Dissolve yeast in milk. Add to flour and salt.
Work into an elastic dough and leave to rise for an hour.
Roll out into a sheet 5cm thick, cut into large diamonds and deep fry in vegetable oil.
Drain on paper towels.
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