Food & Drink Sunday, April 27th , pictures by: Jay Watson/Bill's Kitchen

Bill's Kitchen: Spianata

Food & Drink Sunday, April 27th

Bill's Kitchen: Spianata


This is based on a Italian bread from Romagna which I came across at a superb London sandwich bar (also called Spianata) where they bake this bread fresh each morning. At the time of writing this is my favourite bread – but that may be because its what I’ve baked most recently and most hungrily.

It’s a superb bread for mopping up gravy juices and also makes a perfect sandwich.

- Bill Sewell,  author of Bill's Kitchen.


For one very large flatbread or two medium-sized ones


The night before

450g strong white flour (400g if using sourdough)

450g cold water (400g if using sourdough)

1 x 7g sachet instant yeast (or substitute 100g sourdough starter)

The next morning

600g strong white flour

425g warm water

1 x 7g sachet instant yeast (omit this if you ve used sourdough)

25g salt

25ml olive oil (approx.) to go on top of the loaf - not for mixing  in with the dough

Plus, 2 tins measuring  280mm x 320mm about 20mm deep – or the equivalent.


1) The day before you want to bake the bread, mix together the  flour water and yeast (or sourdough) until you’ve got a smooth mix – I find 2 large stainless steel serving spoons to be the best tools (one to mix and knead with and the other to scrape the first one clean of dough). Cover with clingfilm and leave at room temperature overnight. 

2) The next day add the water and then the remaining ingredients (except the olive oil) to the overnight mix and knead with a couple of large metal spoons until you have a smooth mix. It’s very unlike kneading a traditional dough as it doesn’t keep in a nice neat blob as it’s so wet and sticky.

3) Leave to rise until bubbly and roughly doubled in size – about 45 minutes (3-4 hours if using sourdough).

4) Line your tins with baking parchment or re-useable baking liner and pour/scrape the dough into the tins, trying to divide it as equally as possible. Drizzle the olive oil over the top of the dough and put a bit more on your hands. Then use both your hands to gently spread the dough evenly over the trays. The dough should be only very roughly level, but it’s easier to use subsequently if it reaches to all the edges of the baking pan.

5) Leave to prove in warm place for about 30 minutes us using ordinary yeast (or an hour or more if using sourdough) until it looks bubbly and puffy. 

6) Pre-heat the oven to 220C (fan) and bake for 18 minutes until golden on top. 

7) Turn out onto a wire rack to cool. Once cooled (a bit) it’s ready to cut into squares for sandwiches and then split each square horizontally.


Bill\'s food is loved from London to west Wales, but this is only his second book in twenty years. Like what you see? Click here to check out a Kickstarter campaign where you can become among the first to get your hands on the full book when it comes off the press - or even get dinner for 20 cooked for you by the chef himself.

Still hungry? Here\'s a sneak peak at few more recipes from the book.




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