Italian home cooking is made easy with A Tavola! by Gianni Scappin and Vincenzo Lauria, with recipes like Tigella Bread; Rissole (Stuffed Crispy "Ravioli" Snacks); and Polipo Affogato con Patate Gialle (Drowned Octopus with Yellow Potatoes).
Tigella is both the name of this popular focaccia from Modena, in the Emilia-Romagna region, and the unique tile grills used to bake it. The traditional manner of baking is to press the dough between two very hot rimmed tile disks (tigelle), about 3 inches in diameter. The heat held by the tiles bakes the dough into crunchy rounds that you can split and fill with a variety of fillings, from sausage, salami, or cheese, to chocolate or jam. Contemporary tigella grills have electrically heated stone or metal grill surfaces, but an electric sandwich press will work fine.
1. Dissolve the yeast into the warm milk in a large bowl. Let sit for 1 hour, and then mix in the flour, salt, and oil until the dough is quite soft and comes together. Cover with a clean cloth towel and let rise for about 2 to 3 hours, depending on temperature.
2. Roll the dough out on a floured surface to a thickness of 1/2 inch. Use a cookie cutter or upside-down glass to cut disks about 2-1/2 to 3 inches in diameter.
3. If you have traditional tigella tiles, preheat them in a 450 degrees F oven until they are very hot, or preheat an e1ectric sandwich press. Put a disk of dough between the two tiles or into the sandwich grill. Bake until the dough is golden on both sides, about 2 to 3 minutes. The tigella is ready to eat now, or it can be split and toasted. Serve them hot.
You can make the tigella in a cast iron skillet or on a hot griddle, but it is a little trickier to get them the perfect doneness. Just be prepared to make a few trials before you get it just right.
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This page created October 2009
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