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La strazzata – Focaccia with black pepper

This is typical focaccia from Avigliano in Italy, in Basilicata. The name la strazzata came from the word strazzat, which in the local dialect means “to tear with hands, to tear off”. The focaccia has one special ingredient – black pepper, a lot of black pepper. The focaccia also does not have a typical flat shape, but is shaped in a form of a ring, like a big doughnut. Traditionally this focaccia has been made for the feast, weddings and was served instead of the bread, to accompany ham, Provolone cheese, fried eggs – fritatte, or sweet peppers. Now, it is not easy to find the authentic recipe for this focaccia, the recipe is kept secret and in the families is passed from generation to generation.
I took this recipe from the website of Basilicata traditional products and recipes.

La strazzata – Focaccia with black pepper

  • 250 g AP flour
  • 250 g semolina flour
  • 280-300 ml tepid water
  • 7,5 g ground black pepper
  • 15 g salt
  • 10 g fresh yeast (3g dry yeast)
  • 2 tsp sugar (optional)
  • In a bowl combine two flours
  • Rub the yeast into the sugar, add in a bit of water, mix well
  • Gradually adding the flour make a soft dough. Add the yeast, pepper and salt at the end
  • Thoroughly knead the dough until smooth and elastic (15-20 min)
  • Shape the dough into a ball, sprinkle with the flour and place into a greased bowl, cover with the towel and leave to raise for 1 hour
  • Take the risen dough and divide into several pieces, shape them into the balls, cover with the towel and allow to raise for 1 more hour
  • Place the pieces of the dough on a baking pepper to form a circle
  • Preheat the oven together with the baking tray to 230 C
  • Transfer the focaccia with the baking paper onto the tray and bake for 15-20 min until nice and golden
  • Cool down on a wired rack

Original recipe was written in a typical “Italian way” – a bit of this, a pinch of that, add the water enough to make a dough, bake in the hot oven... I transformed the recipe following my experience and intuition. I made this focaccia 3 times. First time with 2 types of flour and all amount of pepper, it was the way too hot, even for me, who loves black pepper. The second time I cut the pepper almost in half and added sugar, it started to taste much better. For the 3rd time I made it using only bread flour with 12,4% protein, and finally it was a perfect recipe. The focaccia goes well with the ham, tomatoes, smoked fish, fresh cheese. It stay fresh for up to 3 days. For the moment it is my favourite focaccia.