Cecina (GF Tuscan Flatbread)

September 30, 2013

CECINA — pronounced “chay-CHEE-na” — is a Tuscan flatbread composed entirely of garbanzo bean flour, water, and seasonings. It’s absolutely delicious.  It’s naturally gluten-free.  And it’s so easy to make you can wear a blindfold.

About garbanzo bean (“chickpea”) flour. This nutritious, high-fiber product tastes nothing like wheat flour. It has a mild, “beany” flavor. It’s available at better supermarkets (read: not mine) and most health food stores. Failing either, you can order it from online sources. I purchased a 22-ounce bag (above) from my not-so-local health food store for $3.39.

Here’s the step-by-step recipe, followed by a printer-friendly, photo-free copy-and-paste version:

To start, pour 2 1/2 cups of garbanzo bean flour into a large bowl.

Then add 3 1/2 cups of cold water.

Also add a generous teaspoon of kosher salt, and several grinds of black pepper. (Salt and pepper are the traditional Cecina seasonings. Free spirits — I am one — can add other flavorings later on.)

Whisk the ingredients together. And don’t worry about lumps and clumps — these will dissolve while the batter rests.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let it sit at room temperature for 3 hours.

Folks, this is the easiest bread “dough” I’ve ever made.

When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350°F., with the rack at the lower-middle position.

Grab a perfectly clean (and horribly-stained) 17″x12″ baking sheet…

And coat it with one 1/4 cup of olive oil. I used a pastry brush to spread the oil around.

Next, give the batter a quick stir. And then, if you wish, amend it with a generous teaspoon of herbs or other flavorings.

Feeling hot and spicy? Add red pepper flakes or cayenne powder.

Does garlic rev your engine? Dice it up finely, and drop it in the batter.

I stirred McCormick’s “Italian Seasoning” into mine. ‘Twas fragrant and delicious.

Now ladle or pour the batter onto the baking sheet…

And then scratch your head as you wonder how, exactly, you are going to get this tray into your oven without spilling the works.

Well, if I can do it, you can do it.

Bake until the batter sets and turns barely golden — about 30 minutes.

Hallelujah — it doesn’t stick!

And you wondered why we used so much olive oil.

You can serve this bread as-is. But…to make it even more delicious, my advice is to top it with shredded or grated Parmesan cheese.

Pop the Cecina under the broiler for a couple of minutes to melt the cheese.

And are you thinking what I’m thinking?

Cecina could make a terrific gluten-free pizza crust. Just top it with tomato sauce, additional herbs, and cheese, and briefly heat it under the broiler. Easy-Easy-Easy.

Use a firm plastic spatula to cut the bread into 2-inch squares. Or, use a biscuit- or cookie-cutter to make other shapes.

A square, as you know, can be cut again to form a triangle.

And that’s all the geometry I can manage today.

You’re looking at herb-y, cheesy-deliciousness.

Care for a taste?

As promised, here’s the copy-and-paste version of the above:

Cecina (GF Tuscan Flatbread)
Kevin Lee Jacobs/A Garden for the House (dot) com
Ingredients for about 35 two-inch squares
2 1/2 cups garbanzo bean flour
3 1/2 cups cold water
1 generous teaspoon kosher salt, and grinds of black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
Optional flavorings: a generous teaspoon of dried herbs (triple the amount for fresh) — I used an “Italian Seasoning” blend;
Optional topping: 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Special Equipment – a baking sheet, approximately 17″-12″.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, water, salt and pepper. (Don’t worry about lumps — these will dissolve during the resting period.) Cover with plastic wrap, and let sit at room temperature for 3 hours, or overnight in the fridge.

Set the oven rack at the lower-third position; preheat oven to 350°F.

Pour the olive oil on the baking sheet, and spread it about with a pastry brush.

Give the batter a quick stir; stir in the optional herbs.

Pour the batter onto the baking sheet, and bake until set and barely golden — about 30 minutes.

Serve as is, or top with the optional Parmesan cheese. Place under the broiler until the cheese melts — 3-5 minutes (watch carefully to avoid burning).

To serve, cut the bread into 2-inch squares. If desired, cut the squares into triangles.

Think you’ll try this Tuscan flatbread? You can let me know by leaving a comment. As always, I love hearing from you.

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Related Posts:
Angelic Zucchini Fritters
Monkey Bread: The Real Deal
Sugar Cookie Tartlets with Lemon Curd Filling

Comments

  1. Stephanie Hamilton says:

    Hi Kevin – I have made this before – only it was called Farinata. I had it in Italy but never knew the name. Finally talked with Lynn on Splendid Table (NPR) who gave me the recipe. Your’s includes the Parmessan at the end, though, so I will most definitely be doing that! Love, love love all your wonderful posts …. your lovely house, your amazing garden … all terrific fun. Thanks for your efforts!

    Stef

    PS – CAN NOT WAIT to try the monkey bread!

  2. thank you Kevin! xox

  3. Jen says:

    Yep, it’s hard to find really great tasting gluten free baked goods, so I’m super excited to see this post! After being diagnosed with Celiac’s 7 yrs ago now I’m still searching for a good pizza crust. I’ll definitely give this a try! Thanks, Kevin!!

  4. Tracy says:

    (where do you come up with these recipes?!)

  5. myrtle miller says:

    I think I’m going to try this and the monkey bread too. Can’t wait to see your cookbook. Hope Lily is doing well.

  6. Gladys says:

    Going to try this !! I just went Gluten Free and can use all the recipes that you can share.

  7. Robin says:

    This reminds me of soca – yum! Definitely going to have this – this week!

  8. Tracy Gonzales says:

    Ahem. That sounds so good. And healthy. Wondering if it will be ok if I eat the whole pan by myself…(Kevin has since confirmed that this can be done to no ill effect.) :)

  9. Diane from Boston says:

    Another winner, Kevin! What a great low-carb flatbread! I wonder how it would be with herbes de Provence . . . or roasted garlic . . . hmmmmm!

  10. Cherylann McGuire says:

    Thank you! Next “food lab” we have in our Anthropology Food and Culture class is “Tuscan” and you just KNOW that I will be using this recipe ;-)

  11. Tracy – I made another batch today! For experiment, I spread garlic/basil tomato sauce over half, followed by Parmesan cheese. Popped it under the broiler for a minute to melt the cheese. OMG – amazing!

    Diane from Boston – Would be exquisite with either (or both!) additions you mentioned. It’s the kind of bread you can make exclusively your own.

  12. Barb says:

    Hi Kevin, I just drooled over the pepper recipe. Then I saw this bread and can’t wait to try it. If it wasn’t 12:45 a.m. I would be at the store buying the garbanzo flour and making a batch. The Parmesan cheese will definitely be topping my bread! I’m sure I’ll be getting out the ingredients for the monkey bread as soon as I finish the peppers and flatbread. Just don’t think bicycling is going to do much in helping to shed all those additional lbs. You did say this was all fat free, calorie free, didn’t you? Yum! Keep those recipes coming

  13. Brenda Johnson says:

    Oh it’s good to be back- and my timing was perfect! I was able to try this with the garlic/basil sauce yesterday- delicious! The “crust” reminded me of a polenta: soft and almost creamy, yet sturdy enough to hold it’s shape and support being picked up like a “slice”. Such an interesting idea! You are indeed an inspiration Kevin! I tried a square of this without the sauce- and it too was tasty- all on it’s own! (I will perhaps go “garlic” when I make this- a protein rich/gluten free garlic “bread”!) Thanks Kevin!!!!

  14. Pepi Noble says:

    Just taking the first loaf of Cecina out of the over – waiting for the cheese to melt. Smells heavenly………couldn’t wait. Really different and tasty. Think garlic and fresh parsley would be great.

  15. Hi Pepi – So glad you tried the Cecina. Go ahead and add garlic, fresh parsley, and whatever else floats your boat. You can’t go wrong with this flatbread!

  16. Susan says:

    We had this when we were in Tuscany and it was quite a treat. Will definitely try this version. I’m definitely thinking appetizers….. wine…. etc. ;-)

  17. Betsy says:

    Hi Kevin!
    I absolutely love your site. Thank you for sharing all your wonderful ideas & inspiration with us!
    My friend is going to try going GF to help her gi-tract issues, and this recipe is *perfect* for her.
    I too, was thinking it would make a great pizza crust.
    All the best to you & yours, and thank you again!
    Betsy

  18. Tammy says:

    This sounds just like soca. It is so good regardless!

  19. Gloria Duy says:

    Kevin, I saw this on your Facebook and already bought the flour. I haven’t used it in years and hope to make it tonight. If you have time check out this hilarious video, she calls it “garfaza” http://teamcoco.com/video/erin-foley-10-03-13

  20. Jane Clark says:

    Great idea! Hubby has celiac dz so this is awesome!

  21. This recipe is definitely one I am going to try. A wheat-free bread, yes!
    And Kevin, I LOVE finding your newsletter in my email every Sunday! Always delightful and inspiring. Thank you!

  22. Annie says:

    My last attempt using garbanzo four was so so to say the least. I will be making this in the next few days! Thanks much Kevin!!

  23. Tiffany says:

    Hi Kevin: Thanks for the GF flatbread recipe. Have used Garbanzo Bean flour before in bread and it was a no go. Will be interested in seeing if both myself and my husband like this and don’t detect the Garbanzo Bean flavor. I’m loving everything you post. Still haven’t gotten over the fabulous Zucchini Fritters and making them at least twice a week. Haven’t gotten tired of them yet though!

  24. Pat says:

    Kevin, I have made this many times as Farinata. The recipe I based mine on called for thinly sliced onions which carmelize as it bakes. I’ve used all sorts of vegetables in it. It’s a favorite dinner party appetizer at my house.
    Thanks for your blog, I love it!

  25. Jane says:

    I am on the hunt for the flour…this sounds like such a treat for so many occasions! Thank you, Kevin!

    XO,
    Jane

  26. Johanna says:

    Thank you for this gluten free recept. I wil tray it.

  27. Sophia says:

    Hi Kevin!
    Love this recipe and hope to try it soon. Think I could use garbanzo beans soaked, boiled and then ground instead of the bagged garbanzo bean flour?

    Thanks!
    Sophia

  28. Charlotte says:

    Bravo

  29. Richard in Boston says:

    I discovered your site via a friend on FB.

    I’m trying to eat less flour, so I *will* try this one. You meatball one looks wonder as well. Thanks for your easy-to-follow recipes. I love your parenthetical comments!

    Since you’re in Upstate NY, do you interact with the Beekmans?

  30. Oh, that looks wonderful. Thank you!

  31. Trish Greene says:

    Hi Kevin! How do you think this bread will hold up to being frozen? It would be nice to have a quick pizza crust ready for a mid week dinner.

  32. Alex Griller says:

    Fabulous! But Kevin, can I use a RED bowl?? Will that qualify me as a free spirit?

  33. Jenny Miller says:

    I sooooooooo can’t wait to make this. I may skip the cheese but try using herbs and some sun-dried tomatoes I just made

  34. Jay Oldridge says:

    Kevin, have you tried this with peppers and cheese both on top? Yum! Thank you for the new recipe to add to my gluten free collection. Love this!

  35. Jo-Anne says:

    Gotta try this one, too………..love it all…………..
    Jo-Anne

  36. This bread is found in most bread stores in Italy during the fall and winter months and it’s also called “farinata” in the north of Italy. It’s absolutely delicious!!! Thank you for sharing so many tips with us.

  37. Addie B in FL says:

    Hi, Kevin – this sounds yummy! I’m going to my (very local) Big Lots, where they have a whole section devoted to Bob’s Red Mill stuff, to look for the garbanzo flour, and I’ll let you know the price (just for curiosity and comparison sake). Then I want to make it with thinly sliced onions, the Italian seasoning, pepper flakes, and Classico pizza sauce. Thanks to you and your other readers who suggested other additions.

    Have a shiny day!

  38. Karen says:

    Kevin, thank you! thank you! thank you! for the gluten free recipes! No celiac or wheat allergies, but after reading “Wheat Belly” by Dr. Davis, no longer eat wheat! The recipe sounds fabulous, and I am eager to try it and the variations. Love your baking sheet! Looks just like mine!!

  39. Kara says:

    Wonder if you could use parchment paper instead of all the oil? Looks good, glad to see you using bean flour…better for us…right!

  40. Jeanio says:

    This was absolutely delicious! And so very easy to make. I added Italian herbs, garlic powder and onion to the batter. After baking I topped with tomato sauce and a cup of grated cheeses (I had four different “ends” I wanted to use up). Even my Italian import husband loved it. Next time I’ll use cooking spray to cut down on the oil and make it a calorie friendly dinner. It was sooo good.

  41. Donna H says:

    Kevin,
    I have been wondering where to buy this flour. I live close to you in East Greenbush. Can you give me a hint where you found it in this area? I would appreciate it. Thanks! Can’t wait to try this recipe.

  42. Hi Donna H – I purchased garbanzo bean flour at Kaaterskill Farm Natural Storehouse in Hudson, NY. My local Hannaford did not carry the product. You can also order the flour from Amazon.com.

  43. Donna H says:

    Thanks, Kevin. I’ll check that store out, as I work near Hudson. Oddly enough, after I posted the question, I found the flour at the East Greenbush Hannaford in the gluten free section. It was a bit hidden on the top shelf and I missed it last time I looked. Can’t wait to try this recipe!

  44. Karen says:

    Also called Gram flour, chickpea flour and besan, this flour can be found inexpensively at intentional markets or grocery stores as well. I got a 2 lb bag yesterday for less than $3.50. I may even try grinding my own in the Vitamix.

    I plan to experiment with this recipe some more and see if I can’t get it thinner and crisper that the first batch turned out. I had some this morning instead of GF bread with eggs on top. I think this could have many other uses indeed!

    Thanks for sharing this GF recipe. I have had quite a journey every since I discovered my intolerance to gluten. This recipe is greatly appreciated.

  45. Dolores Curbis says:

    Hi Kevin,

    I made the Tuscan flat bread and it is so delicious. Can’t believe that such
    a simple recipe can taste so yummy. Next time I am going to make it to take
    some food items for a pizza. Italian sausage,removed from casing) & cooked
    and some herbed tomato sauce and spread on w/shredded mozzarella,
    instead of parmesan just to give a different twist.
    Thanks so much,Love this site.

  46. Jonni says:

    Thank you for sharing the flat bread recipe. I am gluten-intolerant and this sounds great. I can’t wait to try this.

  47. Nora says:

    Yumm…it’s really good! I made it today. Thanks so much Kevin.

  48. Georgette says:

    Kevin, Ocean State Job Lot carries the flour for $2.89, if you so choose………….

  49. CF says:

    Oh Kevin, you are my hero!
    I made this wonderful bread – it will be the ‘go to’ staple for my bread addiction forevermore. I would never have tried it had you not made it look so incredibly cool, as if I would be missing out on a huge secret if I didn’t try. So easy, and so rewarding!
    I love your blog, and never miss an update. You feel like a good friend already. Thank you for all of the wonderful tidbits you graciously scatter our way!

  50. Mary Roberts says:

    Could the Cecina be used as part of a gluten free bread for the Stuffing to go with Thanksgiving Turkey?

  51. Mary Roberts says:

    Could this Cecina bread also morph into Gluten Free croutons? Mind mind is just going crazy, thinking about all the possible uses forthis bread!

  52. Marrion says:

    This reminds me very much of a Greek recipe I make frequently called alevropita (feta tart). It has a similar batter (but not gluten free) with the exact same cooking technique (lots of olive oil on a large, hot, baking pan) but topped with feta rather than Parmesan. Guess the folks around the Mediterranean share common cooking techniques/traditions. I will definitely try your Tuscan flatbread soon. I have a good friend who’s gluten intolerant and will really appreciate this. I enjoy your website and look forward to your Sunday posts and your joie de vivre! Keep up the good work!

  53. Janet G. Metzger says:

    THANK YOU!!!!!!!!

    Now, can you find a gluten free pate brisee or cookie or cake?

    This gives hope, and makes me eager for more!

    Pax,
    Janet

  54. Linda says:

    Hi Kevin –

    This Cecina looks wonderful! I’m having a party the day after Thanksgiving and am wondering how far in advance I can make it, and how to best store it until the party.

    Thanks,
    Linda

  55. Kevin,
    I make socca but this looks like an easier and more potentially filling ( with the Parmesan ) version . Thanks for sharing!
    Katherine

  56. NANCY MCMENAMAN says:

    Please sign me up for your newsletter for recipes and house decor. asap Thank you

  57. Mary says:

    Kevin, thank you for this GF flat bread recipe. Being Celiac has pretty much stopped me from baking as so many flours and products are needed that to make a cake, it will cost you a pretty penny by the time you are done. Therefore, we keep trying GF brands with the hopes of recapturing the taste & consistency we were once used to. Would love to make the Cinnamon Buns GF – any suggestions are welcomed.

  58. Susie M says:

    Kevin, you are never going to believe this, but my local “Big Lots” – yes the discount store – sells the Red Mill products as a regular staple – INCLUDING the garbanzo flour!! Woot Woot! who’d a thunk it? Just a head’s up to the rest of the frugalistas like myself – Have tried this with some lovely eastern spices like Turmeric, and oh boy, so yummy – thank you for posting this and reminding me of this wonderful and such versatile recipe. :)

  59. Susan K. says:

    I just stumbled on this recipe, can’t wait to try it. Have had to eat gluten free, dairy free, soy free and shellfish free for about 1 3/4 years. Still searching for good recipes. Have tried hundreds but majority are not good. Yours appear to be excellent and flavorful. As I have garbanzo bean flour already I hope to make this soon. Thank you for sharing so many recipes that I can eat, often with only minor adjustments.
    Also live in Upstate NY, our home is almost 200 yrs old,and we grow our own produce etc. So I just love every part of your website. Thank you.

  60. LindaC says:

    Made this tonight as a pizza with leftovers as the topping…very good! I can see that I will be going back to this recipe again and again. Thanks Kevin!

  61. Nina says:

    Think I’ll try it tonight…. Bless you for including GF recipes! Always looking for new ones, especially for bread!!

  62. Pam says:

    I just bought the chickpea flour and going to make it…..maybe now, if I think I can pop it in the oven 3 hours from now. Or, tomorrow….I’ll let you know how it turns out! Thanks, Kevin.

  63. Kate says:

    I just love your recipes! I’m still working my way through them. Thanks for sharing!

  64. Kat says:

    I have made this so many times I can’t count them all. Thank you so very much. With multiple food allergies in our family it’s very hard to find good tasting recipes that are so quick and easy as this one. Thank you forever for sharing this recipe!
    P.S. How come you make some gluten free recipes? I really appreciate it when you do post ones that are gluten free. I am able to figure out substitutes for most of the other food allergies but gluten free I haven’t conquered doing myself.

  65. kathy says:

    I just took a tray of cecina out of the oven. It’s the 3rd batch I’ve made and I think it’s the best yet. This time I altered the recipe a bit, in part to make it easier to put in the oven. (I took the flour down from 2 1/2 c. to 2 cups and water from 3 1/2 to 2.8 c. and didn’t do a full 1/4 c. of oil.) I put several cloves of chopped garlic along with some chili powder, in addition to the salt and pepper in the batter. I made it to take to Thanksgiving tomorrow. I only wish I could be baking it there so people could have it hot out of the oven but that would be too difficult.

    Thanks so much for the recipe. Ever since having it this summer in Italy (thanks to seeing a mention of it in a Rick Steves book), I’ve been wanting to make it at home.

  66. Carole says:

    I have just put a visit to you on my ‘bucket list’
    Happy Holidays

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