Sourdough adventures – schiacciata alla Fiorentina

I’ve got a week off work for the winter break and wanted to try something new. I’d seen a couple of recipes for this orange scented Florentine carnival cake recently and wanted to make it, but being someone who can’t leave well enough alone, I decided to try my hand at a wild yeast version instead of the traditional brewer’s yeast. Mind you, there are a lot of recipes out there which use baking powder and no first dough stage, so I figure I’m not wandering too far off the path. The traditional version also contains lard, but it seems quite common these days to use oil, butter or both (like this one).


This version takes 3 days to prepare, but 2 days of that are spent preparing the starter (see below) and there is actually very little hands-on time involved. You need to do the final feed of the starter 4 hours before you make the first dough, so you’ll need to get up early for a 12+ hour day! I only found one recipe online for a wild yeast version, and the site where I found the ingredient list (see links below) didn’t specify whether it was a “sweet” starter but I opted to do that step and keep my fingers crossed. I adapted her method quite significantly in order to include two dough stages.



First dough

100g all-purpose (plain) flour
100g sweet sourdough starter (see below)
50g warm water
25g sugar
1 egg, room temperature, lightly beaten

Second dough

200g all-purpose (plain) flour
3 tbsp olive oil
1 egg, room temperature, lightly beaten
1 tbsp honey
75g sugar
120g warm milk
1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
1 small untreated orange (zest and juice – approx. 75ml)
65g butter, room temperature

powdered sugar for dusting
cocoa powder for dusting (optional)


First dough

In a medium bowl, mix together the ingredients for the first dough until fully incorporated into a smooth batter, cover and let rest in a warm place for 3-4 hours, until doubled in size.

Second dough

Butter and flour a rectangular (approx. 30 x 20cm) baking tin.

In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, egg, honey, sugar, milk, vanilla, orange juice and zest. Mix in the flour, then the butter.

Add the first dough to the second dough and mix thoroughly to obtain a smooth batter.

Pour the batter into the baking tin, cover loosely with plastic wrap and rest in a warm place for 3-4 hours, until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 180° and bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Once cooled completely, remove from the tin and dust with powdered sugar using a cutout of the Florentine “giglio” to leave a void (be careful lifting the cutout, or you’ll end up with a botched bit, like mine!). Alternatively, you can cover the top in powdered sugar and use the design as a stencil and fill it with cocoa powder.

For the sweet sourdough starter (takes 2 days)

First feeding, mix 40g 100% hydration starter with 20g flour. Ferment for 4 hours. Before my kitchen warmed up with other cooking, I used the oven with the light on which provided a good environment.

For each subsequent feeding (except the final one), discard all but 30g starter and add 20g flour and 10g water. Ferment for 4 hours. Repeat three times a day for 2 days. Keep the starter at room temperature or in a warm place the whole time.

For the final feeding on the morning of the third day, combine 60g starter, 40g flour, and 20g water. Ferment for 4 hours. You will need 100g starter for the recipe.

This entry was posted in cake, dessert, italian, snack, sweet. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Sourdough adventures – schiacciata alla Fiorentina

  1. this is simply amazing, perfect perfect perfect! and Chia’s cousin… oh so excited and proud!!!

  2. Our Adventure in Croatia says:

    definitely not “fast food”, 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.