When I looked into tigelle I found out that this was actually the name of the traditional terracotta press they were made in; the bread is called crescentina or crescenza. That said, most people know them as tigelle. They are easy to make at home without a modern tigella iron as the yeasted dough can be cooked in a non-stick pan.
When travelling in Italy last year, I asked my friend Laura who lives in Bologna what she thought was the most popular street food where she lived. “Tigelle, without a doubt,” she replied. “We eat them with a little prosciutto or cheese, and a glass of wine.”
- 250 g plain (all-purpose) flour, plus extra for dusting
- 3 g instant dried yeast
- 85 ml tepid water
- 50 ml tepid milk
- 3 tsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 12 thin slices prosciutto or lardo
- 200 g buffalo mozzarella or stracchino, sliced or 50 g shaved parmesan, to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Proving time 1 hour
1. Place the flour and yeast in a medium-sized bowl and whisk lightly. In a separate bowl, mix together the water and milk, then stir into the flour. Add the oil and use your hands to bring the dough together.
2. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and sprinkle over the salt. Knead for about 10 minutes until smooth and stretchy. Alternatively, you can make the dough in a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment. Transfer to a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm draught-free spot for at least 1 hour or until doubled in size.
3. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough until it is 3–4 mm (1/4 in) thick. Cut out circles of dough using an 8 cm (31/4 in) cookie cutter. Re-roll the off-cuts to make as many circles as possible.
4. Heat a large non-stick frying pan over low–medium heat. Cook the dough, in batches, for about 3 minutes on each side until cooked through. They should puff up nicely and turn golden in colour.
5. Cut in half through the centre (like you would a bread roll) and eat warm filled with prosciutto or other cured meat and soft cheese such as fresh buffalo mozzarella or stracchino. My favourite filling is thinly sliced lardo and shaved parmesan cheese.
This recipe is from Italian Street Food. (Smith Street Books). Photography by Paola Bacchia.