Pizza Caccia Nanza
August 28, 2011

by stacy
Published on: August 28, 2011
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“The literal translation of ‘caccia nanza’…is ‘take out before.’  When bread was made in traditional Italian households a bit of dough was reserved to make a pizza.  The pizza was placed in the oven with the bread and obviously cooked more quickly.  It was ‘taken out before’ the bread, hence the name…This is the only garlic bread I have ever eaten in Italy.”
-Edward Giobbi, Italian Family Cooking, as quoted by James Beard, Beard on Bread

Pizza Caccia Nanza is a unique recipe in Beard on Bread: a flat loaf of bread flavored with garlic and rosemary.  I’ve been looking forward to baking it since I started my project, and finally got around to it yesterday.

Here are the ingredients:

Pizza Caccia Nanza Ingedients

The dough is a very basic white bread dough, with only flour, yeast, salt, and water.  After combining all of the ingredients (I had to add an extra teaspoon of water to make the dough hold together), I kneaded the dough and let it rise for one hour and 15 minutes.  Then I kneaded the dough again, and let it rise for an additional 45 minutes.

Next came the interesting part: instead of shaping the dough into a loaf, I rolled it out flat and made dozens of tiny indentations in it with the tip of a knife.  I had to place a sprig of rosemary into each indentation.  It was a tedious process.

Placing Rosemary in Pizza Caccia Nanza

After I finished with the rosemary, I cut two cloves of garlic into thin slivers and placed all of the slivers into the indentations as well.  By this point, I realized that  1) I could never work on an assembly line, and 2) the bread would have to be pretty tasty to be worth the effort.  I drizzled the finished loaf with olive oil and sprinkled it with salt and pepper, and it was ready for the oven.

Pizza Caccia Nanza Before Baking

After 15 minutes, the loaf was golden-brown.

Pizza Caccia Nanza

Before eating the bread, I had to remove all the rosemary and garlic that I had placed so carefully.  Luckily, the smell of fresh bread lured Mike downstairs and he helped me out.

Pizza Caccia Nanza

Then came the moment of truth: did all of the time and effort result in a delicious loaf?  The answer: definitely yes!  Pizza Caccia Nanza has a wonderful light, chewy texture, with a tender crust.  The flavors of rosemary and garlic blend together throughout the loaf, giving it a delightful flavor.  The highest praise came from Mike, as we polished off the loaf together.

“You know, this tastes like something that you would pay a lot of money for in a really expensive restaurant.”


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