On our tour to the bluezone of Sardinia you will get to taste and love a very unique type of bread: Pane Carasau. It is an essential part of Sardinian meals, served right away with the “antipasti”, the appetizers. It helps to deal with the first bits of hunger and provides a foundation for the wine.
Carasau bread, also known as “Carta da Musica” (musical sheet) because of the characteristic sound when it breaks, is considered one of the oldest breads in the world. Traces of the bread were found in the traditional megalithic stone structures of Sardinia, called Nuraghe, which date back to 1000 BC.
Because of its long shelf life the bread was traditionally made for shepherds to use during their month long travels on high pastures with their livestock.The form of the bread is a very fine round crispy layer and owes its particular shape to the size of the pockets “de sas bertulas” on the side of the shepherd’s horse where it was stored during the ride. ”Sa cotta”, the complex baking process of this flat bread, was performed by 3 women, friends or relatives, who helped each other or were rewarded with oil or ricotta. It is made from durum wheat flour, salt, yeast and water.
After kneading the dough, it has to be rolled out into very thin sheets that are then baked in a very hot oven (840 C° ~ 930° F). This makes the sheets puff up into a ball.
The puffed breads are then removed from the oven, and with great skill, cut along their circumference and divided into round leaves, which are then stacked one on top of the other, porous side up.
The sheets are then baked once again in order to obtain their hallmark crispiness and characteristic color, or “carasatura”. Finally the twice-baked pane carasau is left to rest covered by a linen sheet and held down by a brick or a heavy plank of wood, to avoid the rounds from curling as they cool.
On our Sardinia ZonaBlu Tours we will assist the preparing of Pane Carasau in the mountain village of Dorgali. And if you want to take some home here is an easy way to enjoy it: sprinkled with salt and a thread of olive oil, then warmed on the grill for a few moments. Buon appetito!