Lasagna Bread (Scaccia)
What does one do when they are locked into their homes, and have no real tasks that need to be accomplished? If that ‘one’ is me, then they bake. They bake a project food, one that takes maybe a few more steps than one normally takes when making a food. Now, don’t think this is a hard recipe. It is not. It, like most breads, does take longer than, say, lentils or some sheet pan dinner, and as much as I love a quick-to-make-quick-to-feed sort of recipe, I find huge satisfaction in creating something as awesome as this from pantry staples.
This bread concoction is like pizza and lasagna met and had a love child. I give you here two versions of this love child: one of only semolina, which will give you a slightly crunchier bread portion. With the addition of all purpose flour, the bread is loftier, 'bread-ier', and somewhat more substantial. With semolina only, the bread is somewhat crunchier. I can’t tell you which I prefer; both are very very good. Try both as see which one you like more. (in the pic below, the one on the left is with all-purpose, and the one on the right is semolina only).
Note: you'll need 3 cups semolina OR 1 cup semolina + 2 cups all purpose flour. Don't use all 6 cups or you'll end up with a brick you can use to defend your home against intruders.
I'm including pics of each step for assembly because I think it is a lot easier to understand what I mean with each step. Promise it is not complicated. Really!
Lasagna Bread (Scaccia)
Yield: 1 9 x 5 loaf, which serves 4 hungry boys
1 1⁄4 tsp. sugar
1⁄ 4 teaspoon active dry yeast
8 oz warm water
3/4 tsp salt
3 cups durum wheat semolina flour
1 cup semolina + 2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
All-purpose flour for dusting (not necessary if you are using parchment)
2 cups whole peeled canned tomatoes in juice (27 ounce can)
1 garlic clove finely chopped
1⁄ 2 cup loosely packed basil leaves roughly chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces caciocavallo cheese, grated (sub provolone if you can't find it)
2 ounces hard pecorino, grana padano, or parmesan, grated
Additional other fillings:
thinly sliced pepperoni
sautéed kale with garlic
other favorite cheeses
whatever your heart desires...
In a large bowl, whisk 1⁄4 teaspoon sugar and the yeast with 1 cup warm water and let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.
Stir in the semolina flour, 1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil, and 3/4 teaspoon salt until the dough comes together. Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth, about 8 minutes. Transfer the dough back to the bowl, lightly drizzle with a little olive oil, flip to coat, and cover with plastic wrap, and let stand at room temperature until doubled in size, about 2 hours (or up to 4+ hours).
Meanwhile, pour the tomatoes and juices into a blender and purée until smooth (or use a hand blender. Or squish well with your fingers). In a small saucepan, warm the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant and beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Pour the tomatoes into the saucepan along with the remaining 1 teaspoon sugar, bring to a simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens slightly, about 10 minutes. Remove the sauce from the heat, stir in the basil, and season liberally with salt and pepper.
When you are ready to assemble, preheat your oven to 450°. Have ready a 9x5 loaf pan. The rolling and folding is easiest using parchment, but the dough is very easy to work with, and you can go without. If not using parchment for rolling, line your loaf pan with foil or parchment for baking. I usually put the loaf pan on a sheet pan, just in case there are any leaks.
Any toppings you are adding, have nearby and at room temperature. Combine the cheeses in a small bowl.
Scrape the dough onto a long strip of parchment or a lightly floured work surface. Using a rolling pin, flatten the dough into a roughly 1⁄16-inch thick, 26-by-18-inch rectangle (note: the thickness of the dough is less important that the size of the rectangle),
and position the rectangle so that a long side is nearest to you. Imagine that the rectangle is divided into thirds, lengthwise, and spread 1/2 the tomato sauce over the middle slightly-more-than-a-third middle section of the rectangle. Sprinkle on half of any topping you are including, and then half of the cheese.
Fold the two outer plain sides of the dough over so their edges overlap in the middle
of the sauce/toppings by 2 inches. This is easiest to do lifting the dough using the parchment, and then peeling back the parchment, leaving the dough in place.
Next, you should be looking at the short end of your rectangle, and imagine, again, dividing into thirds lengthwise (if it helps, rotate the parchment to be looking again at the rectangle lengthwise). Spread 1/2 of the remaining sauce and toppings over slightly-more-than-a third middle section of the rectangle.
Again, fold the unsourced edge portions over to the middle, overlapping about 2 inches.
Again, rotate the dough, if it helps, and again, imagine the imagine dividing into thirds lengthwise. Spread remaining tomato sauce and any toppings on the right 2/3s of the rectangle.
Fold the plain portion over the middle, and then fold the sauced portion over the top, much like you might fold a letter.
Transfer the loaf (with the parchment, if using) to the loaf pan.
Bake 55 - 70 minutes, or until dark brown on the top and lightly charred at the edges. Immediately invert the pie onto a rack, remove the loaf pan and parchment paper, and let the pie cool in this position for 10 minutes. Invert the pie right-side-up before serving.
Serve warm or room temperature. You can store leftover scaccia well-wrapped at room temperature for 2 to 3 days or freeze for longer storage.