I first tasted this wonderfully simple bread at my elderly neighbour’s house. I had popped round to drop off some post just as she was preparing a very humble yet delicious quick lunch of pizza scima and cime di rapa (cooked turnip tops/greens). She saw my eyes light up with curiosity as she took her golden freshly baked pizza scima out the oven, and insisted on feeding me a piece, still gloriously hot. I left with the recipe and immediately went home and baked one!
Pizza scima, also known as pizza scema, is a traditional unleavened bread made with very few simple ingredients. It is a wonderful slightly crunchy accompaniment for cooked vegetables, salumi and cheeses, and many other dishes. The name derives from the Italian word azzimo which means unleavened (in dialect this became acime, then scima or scema, which means thick/stupid!). The recipe itself is from around the 1600s, when there was a large Jewish community living along the Trabocchi coastline of Abruzzo. They brought with them various culinary influences. Although called pizza, this bread wasn’t topped or stuffed but simply baked under a metal lid called coppa in the embers of the fireplace. The typical rhomboid pattern scored into the dough aided the breaking of the bread.
500g of 0 flour grano tenero (soft wheat flour)
1 glass of Trebbiano d’Abruzzo DOC white wine
1/2 glass of water
3/4 glass of extra virgin olive oil
A pinch of salt
Make a well with the sifted flour and salt. Slowly add the liquid ingredients and mix until you have a homogeneous elastic ball of dough.
Leave it to rest for an hour.
Once rested, roll out the dough to your desired thickness (remember this is unleavened bread, it won’t rise!), and score the traditional diamond pattern across the top.
Bake at 170°C for 40-45 minutes, until golden brown.
By Kayla Myskow