Carasau bread, or pane carasau, is a Sardinian favourite originating from Barbagia in the Island’s northeastern interior. In the Sardinian language the word carasau means “to toast”.
Instead of being loaf-shaped, this bread is baked into crunchy sheets, sometimes called carta da musica because of the noise they make when broken or, some say, because they should be so thin that you can read music through them.
It was eaten by shepherds, and the round, thin shape meant that the sheets would fit into their semi-circular bags once cut in half. Thus, the bread was easily transported and, being dry, did not become mouldy.
It can be eaten as it is, or with olive oil and salt, or paired with cheeses such as Pecorino, and even used instead of pasta sheets in lasagnes such as Zuppa Gallurese or in Sardinian Frattau bread with a tomato sauce and Pecorino.
Makes about 7 sheets | Preparation time: 20 mins + 3 h for the leavening| Cooking time: approx 40 mins
- 550gm re-milled (extra fine) durum wheat semolina flour
- 300ml lukewarm water
- 5gm of fresh brewer’s yeast (7gm dried yeast)
- 1 teaspoon of salt
Dissolve the yeast in a small amount of the lukewarm water. Add the rest of the water slowly to the flour, then add the dissolved yeast and begin to knead the dough. Add the salt after a few minutes and continue kneading until the dough is firm, smooth and has a consistent texture.
Divide the dough into three pieces of roughly the same size and use a rolling pin to flatten each piece into a thin disc about 35cm in diameter. Place each disc on a kitchen cloth, cover with another cloth and leave to rest for about 3 hours. Near the end of the proving time, warm your oven to 220C / 425F / Gas 7.
Put the first disc on a greased baking tray and place in the oven. The dough will start to swell almost immediately. After a few minutes, it will be puffed up like a balloon. Remove it from the oven and cut it in half horizontally, separating the top layer of dough from the bottom. Place each of these cooked sheets on a cloth, cover with another cloth and gently press the discs together.
Repeat the operation until all the dough discs have been cooked and cut. To finish the bread, toast it again in the oven until it is golden brown. You need to turn the sheets after a couple of minutes so that both sides have an even colour. Cool before serving.
Once cool, Carasau bread will last for a couple of months in an airtight plastic bag.