The Carasau bread is a typical product of Sardinia, one of the two big islands of Italy; it originated in the area of Barbagia, in the North-East of the island, and the name Carasau comes from the Sardinian word for ‘to toast’.
Instead of being shaped in a loaf, the Carasau bread is baked into very thin and crunchy sheets, that make a peculiar noise when broken. For this reason, the Carasau bread is also called ‘music sheets bread’!
The peculiar shape of the Carasau bread was actually very functional for its main consumers, namely the Sardinian shepherds; once cut in half, the sheets of bread had the same semi-circular shape of the shepherd’s bag, which allowed them to transport it easily – and because the Carasau bread is dried, it doesn’t develop mold as easily as normal moist bread.
Even nowadays, most Sardinian families prepare their Carasau bread at home, in wood ovens or normal ovens alike. It can be eaten by itself or used for bruschettas – and even used in lieu of pasta sheets for lasagne! The Zuppa Gallurese is an example of lasagna-like dish prepared with Carasau bread.
Makes about 6 sheets of flat bread | Preparation time: 20 mins + 2-3 h for the dough| Cooking time: 40 mins
- Durum wheat semolina flour: 550 g
- Water: 250 ml
- Salt: 1 tsp
Mix the flour with warm water and start kneading the dough. Add the salt after a few minutes, and keep kneading the dough until it’s firm and has a smooth and homogeneous texture.
Divide the dough into three pieces of roughly the same weight; use a rolling pin to flatten each piece of dough into a thin disc-shaped sheet with a diameter of about 35 cm.
Place each disc onto a cloth and cover them with another kitchen cloth.
Tip: It would be best to use a woolen cloth, but if you don’t have one you can use a cotton cloth, as well.
Leave the discs to rest for about 2-3 hours. When you’re nearing the end of the resting time, switch on the oven: it needs to preheat to at least 220°C.
Place the first disc on an oven tray and put it in the oven. The dough will start swelling almost immediately. After a few minutes, the whole dough will be swollen like a balloon.
Take the bread out of the oven and use a sharp knife to cut it into two discs, by separating the upper layer of dough from the lower one. Place both sheets on a kitchen cloth, cover them with another kitchen cloth and gently press the discs together.
Repeat until all the discs of dough have been baked and cut: you will have 6 thin sheets of flatbread. These sheets are baked, but still fully pliable; to make your carasau bread crunchy, you need to toast it by placing it agan in the oven.
Put each sheet back in the oven for 1-2 minutes, turning it over about half-way through the cooking time so that both sides toast evenly.
Let your Carasau bread cool down before serving it. Carasau bread is delicious when topped simply by a sprinkle of salt and olive oil, and some fresh rosemary leaves.
Tip: Keep your Carasau bread into an air-tight plastic bag, and it will be good for at least two months – that is, if you don’t eat it all before!