Sunday, April 29, 2012

Carta da Musica



Hello fellow bread lovers!

*grin*

*more grin*

*Okay, now I officially look like a cuckoo*

Life has been keeping me awfully busy lately, which is always a good thing and probably would be even better had God provided me with Shiva’s retractable hands, and to be able to even drop by on my own little blog is quite an impossible task. My fingers would be tempted to start penning, in this case… typing, my ramblings and when my fingers have started doing so, nothing could stop it. Unless of course when my bladder screams a high pitched scream, that is.

So, I’ll try my best to stay in course and write as fast as I can about this wonderfully, unbelievably easy and crispy bread that truly lives up to its name. Carta da Musica. Oh, how I love how romantic it sounds.  Carta da Musica is the Italian for ‘music paper’.  This is the lightest and thinnest flat bread, slightly thicker than filo, but then again filo is not considered bread. What attracted me is the story behind this bread. If you know me well, I am such a hopeless romantic and I just feel doing something the traditional way, making something handmade, if it is possible for me, would be truly satisfying.



Native to Sardinia, Carta da Musica is very ancient bread and has been eaten by shepherds for centuries. For once baked, it may be stored for several weeks. If you want to store it much longer, the already thin bread should be separated into two even thinner bread and baked again. It is said that Carta da Musica could be stored up to a year when kept dry. Knowing that, I do not have any reason not to make it.

Ingredients:
-1 ¼ dry yeast
-1 ¼ cups water
-3 ¼ cups bread flour
-1 ½ tsp salt

Directions:
-Set the oven for 225C.
-Proof the yeast in water.
-Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in the proofed yeast. Mix to form a stiff, sticky dough.
-Turned to a lightly greased work surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.
-Put the dough in a clean bowl and cover with a dish towel. Let rise for just 20 minutes. Lightly flour a baking sheet and place it in the preheated oven for 5-10 minutes.
-Divide the dough into 16 equal pieces. On a lightly greased surface, roll out the first piece of dough to form a paper-thin round shaped bread.
-Cover the remaining pieces of dough with damp towel to prevent them from drying out. While the first piece rests, begin rolling the out the second and so on.
-Immediately place the rolled dough on the preheated floured baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, turning the risen part over once.
-Remove the breads from the oven and pile them on top of one another on a wire rack. As they cool, they will become brittle and crisp.
- If you want to make thinner Carta da Musica, use a thin, sharp paring knife to cut an incision along one edge. Use your hands to separate the bread into two very thin rounds then return them to the oven to further bake it for 1 minute to crisp.



Wow! Look how simple the ingredients are! Now, making this is not difficult. But you do need a lot of patience. With my Baba Yaga oven, that is the name of my oven, I can bake 4 Carta da Musica at once. And my oven IS big, hence the name. Opening and closing the oven door result in the decline of the oven temperature. So you must have patience to wait for the oven to reach 225C again to bake the next batch.

You can serve this bread, which is so crispy it can also fit into cracker category, with spreads or dips. You can also brush it with seasoned olive oil and sprinkle with good quality sea salt. Or, you just have it plainly like me and close your eyes, imagine that you are a shepherd, herding your healthy sheep across the lush green meadow and when you find that you need to rest a bit, you would take out your Carta da Musica from your brown leather satchel you got from your grand father and rest under a huge tree. Feel the breeze caressing your tired face yet it is only humble happiness that you feel and a deep grateful praise towards mother earth.

Ahh…

*lamb bleats*

Okay Amy, time to watch the sheep safely graze again. J



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