Carasau bread is a real Sardinian tradition but is now known throughout America; a very special bread to be enjoyed in many different ways. But how do you eat this thin crunchy pastry? Carasau bread is perfect for preparing many quick recipes such as delicious appetizers, or very tasty first courses such as pasticcio con pane carasau or lasagna with carasau bread.
Also ideal as a snack: one piece leads to another due to its light and crunchy texture. It is no coincidence that it is also known as “music paper”, due to its thickness but also to the disc shape which resembles a vinyl. The particularity of carasau bread is that it is a thin and crunchy sheet without crumb, discoidal with a diameter between 15 and 40 centimeters.
How to cook carasau bread
This recipe is prepared with durum wheat semolina, yeast, water and salt: a dough left to rise twice and cooked twice! Before cooking, two sheets are joined together which will swell with the heat. These two layers are then separated and baked again.
The second firing toasts the bread discs until they are crispy and very long-lasting, as most of the water contained is eliminated. This procedure allows not to create the crumb making it storable for a long period of time, up to 180 days. It is no coincidence that the name “carasau” derives from the Sardinian verb “carasare”, or toast.
Bring a little bit of Sardinia into your home by preparing this wafer-thin and crunchy bread. How do you make this crunchy puff pastry? Tradition would like wood cooking but you can experiment it in your kitchen even with a normal oven.
Remember that the original recipe for the dough calls for durum wheat flour or barley flour, a little brewer’s yeast and a lot of patience.
Carasau bread recipe
- 250 g of durum wheat flour (alternatively use barley flour)
- 3 g of brewer’s yeast
- 140ml of water
- sale q.b.
- First, dissolve the brewer’s yeast in the water.
- Spread the flour on a work surface creating a fountain. Add the dissolved yeast to the center and start kneading. Continue for at least 10 minutes, adding the salt.
- Then divide the dough into 10 pieces, forming balls of the same shape as much as possible. Let them rest and rise for about 3 hours on a floured surface or on a baking sheet. Cover with a tea towel.
- When their volume has doubled (after about 3 hours, in fact), roll out and work each ball one by one with a rolling pin. Now overlap two at a time, rolling out again with the rolling pin as much as possible.
- Bring the static oven to 220° – with the baking tray inside – and once the temperature is reached, bake each pair of dough discs for no more than 20-25 seconds. The baking tray must be very hot to allow the dough to swell.
- After 20-25 seconds, remove the dough from the oven and immediately divide one disc from the other – otherwise it will no longer be possible to do so.
- Once the operation is complete, arrange the discs of dough individually on the trays again and bake at 170° for about 8 minutes.
Does carasau bread make you fat? Here’s how to include it in a right diet!
Does carasau bread, so light and thin, make you fat? Slim yes, but not that light for dieting. Appearances are deceiving and despite the almost transparent sheet of this crunchy treat, the carasau bread, very dry and dry, is a very nutritious product and the energy intake is high due to the high concentration of carbohydrates. Eat yes but with due moderation!
Carasau bread is perfect for appetizers and for many other preparations, from first courses to desserts. One of the fanciest recipes is that of baked pasta with zucchini or baked bread lasagna, where the classic egg pasta is replaced with sheets of carasau bread. Try the carasau bread lasagna with vegetables and robiola, an authentic light delight!
Alternatively, it is worth trying the millefeuille of carasau bread with zucchini, tomatoes and mozzarella and, for lovers of desserts, the sweet millefeuille variant with custard and berries. For this mouth-watering delight, remember to sprinkle the sheets with icing sugar and let them caramelize for a few minutes before adding the ingredients.
Pane carasau is a versatile ingredient just as its preparations are versatile: it is possible to make it without yeast or gluten-free for the intolerant. Whatever the variant, remember that this type of bread provides about 20% more kcal than white bread with crumbs, and that 100 grams of carasau bread develop an average of 370 calories. For these reasons, it is not recommended for people suffering from diabetes and those who are overweight.
Properties and nutritional values of Sardinian bread
The peculiarity of carasau bread is the durum wheat flour semolina. But what differentiates it from the others? The first thing that catches the eye is the colour. That of soft wheat is distinguished by its white color while the semolina has a yellowish hue. Even the grainy consistency is very different. The properties of durum wheat flour are not well known: this food is considered “complete” compared to refined flour because it is very rich in fibre, vitamins and mineral salts.
What makes it so nutritious is its protein content. For this characteristic, this type of flour is particularly suitable for those who follow a vegetarian diet and do not consume proteins of animal origin. On the market it is also possible to find it in the wholemeal variety. This is even more precious for our body because it keeps all the characteristics of the grain from which it is obtained intact.
Another peculiarity of durum wheat semolina flour is that it has a lower glycemic index than the others, as it contains complex carbohydrates which allow for the gradual release of energy, making it an ingredient for “long-lasting energy” dishes. A health product capable of rebalancing the intestine, keeping bad cholesterol in the blood under control and, according to the latest studies, it allows to reduce the risk of oncological pathologies.
Durum wheat flour is also a choice for beauty because it is rich in antioxidants. Its yellowish color proves it: inside we find lutein and beta-carotene, carotenoid substances that counteract the action of free radicals responsible for the aging of the body.
Where does the ancient original Sardinian recipe come from?
Carasau bread is a very ancient Sardinian tradition and according to some archaeological finds, it seems to date back to the Nuragic era, during the Bronze Age.
In addition to these prehistoric hypotheses, we are certain that this pastry dates back to the pastoral tradition for centuries now; precisely from the Barbagia area and then spread throughout the island. The preparation of carasau bread was considered a real ritual for families. The entire process was called “Sa Cotta”, and lasted many hours: it could start in the evening and finish only the following morning.
The stages of preparation were quite distinct: it began with the s’inthurta, the first stage, i.e. the rolling out of the dough; then followed the cariare, the kneading of the dough on the table; weighing, or the overlapping of the sheets and their rest; the illadare, a further process after the leavening of the dough; the cochere, the moment of the first cooking and the putting into the oven; finally the carasare when the discs were put back in the oven for a second time to dry and toast them.
A lengthy procedure had to be supervised by three women helping each other amid clouds of flour and chatter. Bread was not only a ritual and a tradition, it was also an important source of livelihood and utility for shepherds: they used it as a real edible dish, and ate it with other ingredients, especially cheeses. Pane carasau was also a delicacy capable of keeping for a long time, perfect to be consumed during long periods of transhumance.
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