Pane carasau | Sardinian flatbread

Pane carasau was one of my absolute favourites in Sardinia, such a simple antipasto dish when paired with pecorino Sardo and salsiccia piccante.

Traditionally the flat bread was made for shepherds as its long life meant it would last whilst they were out for long periods tending to their herd. Also known as music bread due to its resemblance to the parchment paper that sacred music was written on.

It’s hard to find outside of Italy, even in local italian delicatessants; the last time I found it was in France in a Sardinian specialist deli in Cavaliare-sur-Mer. So when I discovered the recipe to make my own I had to try it.

By no means was my first attempt perfect and it definitely needs some work but I thought by sharing my own stumbling blocks it might make it easier for others to follow if you want to attempt making your own! You’ll need to plan ahead as the whole process including the resting takes approx. 3 and a 1/2 hours.

I used Gino D’Acampo’s recipe from his Islands in the Sun recipe book and halved the ingredients for my first attempt:

  • 500g strong white flour
  • 1.5g fast action dried yeast
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt

First things first, make your dough.

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Next, cut the dough into six equal sized pieces and shape into a ball. Leave to rest on lightly floured baking sheets, covered with a tea towel and in a warm place for an hour and a half.

Roll out one of the balls to approximately 15cm in diameter and 2mm thick, dust with flour and place a sheet of greaseproof paper on paper and repeat the process with each ball of dough and stack them up. Then leave them to rise for another hour.

Preheat the oven to 220° and place a terracotta tile, pizza stone or baking tray in the oven. Turn the stack of flatbreads over and place the one that is now on top on the terracotta tile and close the oven immediately. This next part is key, the flatbread should rise in the oven like the below within about a minute – if it doesn’t, leave them to rest for another half an hour.

Remove from the oven and while hot cut the flatbred in half like you can see here. It’s quite important to do this as quickly as you can once you remove them from the oven, otherwise they stick together again.

Once you have cut it in half, place one half on top of the other and weigh them down with a wooden board on top. Repeat the process with the other flatbreads.

Finally, flip the stack back over and place the one now on top back in the oven for two minutes until you see them start to brown slightly and repeat with the remaining.

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