Salt, Pepper and a Dollop of Cream

One Woman's Journey through Her Cookbooks

Carta di Musica {or Music Paper Bread}

Carta di Musica

I remember watching Rick Stein as part of his Mediterranean Escapes series visiting Sardinia where a local baker made pane carasau or carta di musica {music paper bread} which looks like parchment paper. I was intrigued by this thin delight. When I opened Gino D’Acampo’s cookbook, Gino’s Italian Escape and found a recipe for carta di musica, I knew this was something that I’d like to try.

Carta di Musica is a traditional flatbread from Sardinia made with flour, semolina, salt, yeast and water. It’s a thin and crisp cracker-like flatbread that’s usually half a meter wide. The baked flat bread puffs up and is then separated into two sheets which are baked again. However, Gino’s recipe is different in that there is no yeast and no separating of sheets. The breads are long and irregular, and look all the more inviting for it. The recipe calls simply for oo floor, semolina, water, salt and olive oil.

Well, I thought, this can’t be too tricky! The first niggle, however, was that the water wasn’t listed in the ingredients but as part of the recipe and if like me, you like to have everything ready to go, this was a bug bear, minor as it is. The bread itself came together easily but I had to add more flour as the dough was very, very sticky! Given that this needed to be rolled out, sticky dough is not what I wanted here.

Note 1 to self – don’t pour in all the water at once the next time!

The recipe calls for the dough to be split into 10 pieces and either pass it though a pasta machine or hand roll it. I opted to hand roll and split the pieces down even more to make the sheets more manageable given my available space. Baking in batches of 4 {!}, I could have rolled the first ones much thinner but hey-ho, you live and learn.

Note 2 to self – roll, then roll some more. It needs to be as thin as you can get it!

The following ones I rolled out as thin as I could. Like a well oiled machine by the end, I was baking like an express train, brushing each strip with olive oil and adding paprika, fennel seeds, salt. The paprika worked a treat, the fennel seeds fell off. Oops!

Note 3 to self – incorporate fennel seeds into the dough, if using?

Note 4 to self – TURN UP THE OVEN!

Yes, the oven needs to be really hot for this recipe as the bread is supposed to cook in 4-5 minutes. Ha, not with mine! I’d set it to 200oC as per the recipe but I’d be more inclined to go to 230oC. Like its owner, the oven is moving on in years…!

Carta di Musica

After my marathon baking session, what I was left with were lovely, long, crispy breads much like the ones in Gino’s book, yay! While the traditional article is round, these strips of bread are perfect for an antipasti platter, for tapenade and other dips, to snap and share with friends. It took me a while to get the hang of making them because as we all know by now, I’m no star baker but I can safely say that I will definitely make these again and again. Thanks Gino for a lovely, lovely recipe!

Enjoy!

X Paula

 

Gino’s Italian Escape by Gino D’Acampo is available from Amazon and other good bookstores.

 

© Salt, Pepper and a Dollop of Cream

2 comments on “Carta di Musica {or Music Paper Bread}

  1. Conor Bofin
    July 26, 2014

    Hi Paula, delicious looking breads, no matter how old the oven / chef happens to be.

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