Are guttiau bread and carasau bread the same thing? The answer, of course, is negative, but few among those who do not live in Sardinia know the differences. Both products have ancient origins and are part of the category of unleavened bread, although in many recipes today a pinch of brewer’s yeast is added, to facilitate fermentation.
The real carasau is also made with re-milled durum wheat semolina , water and salt, without the addition of soft wheat flour (often present in preparations intended for large-scale distribution). In the next few lines we will make a fascinating journey through the traditions of a land still mysterious, but populated by hospitable people.
Carasau bread and guttiau bread, recipes and differences
Also known as music paper, carasau bread looks like a thin, crunchy and golden wafer, with a more or less porous surface. One of the peculiarities that differentiates it from other types of bread is its shelf life, as it is free of any trace of moisture. But how do you get such a result?
After preparing the dough of re-milled semolina, water and salt, the housewives used to ferment it for at least 12 hours, covered with a clean cloth. After the rest period, the dough was divided into several parts (200-250 g each) and left to ferment for another hour.
At that point, the sheets were spread with a rolling pin and cooked in a wood oven or on the stone, divided into two phases. In the first, the carasau bread swelled and, with a knife, was cut transversely, so as to obtain 2 sheets. These were stacked and pressed, to avoid bending the outer edges inwards.
In the second step, each sheet was brought back near the heat source for carasatura (or carasadura ), i.e. for roasting. In this way, the bread lost all the residual water and, once cooled, was ready for consumption and storage. Stored in a cool and dry place, in fact, it can last for several months.
To make guttiau bread (i.e. “dripped” or “sprinkled with drops”), it was necessary to take an extra step. It was enough to brush the surface of the sheet of bread with extra-virgin olive oil, bring it to the fire for a couple of minutes, sprinkle it with a little salt and, to taste, rosemary, before serving it at the table. Therefore, the basis from which to start is always the same.
In which areas of Sardinia are carasau and guttiau bread made?
Originally, that of carasau bread was a typical recipe of the countries of Barbagia, in the province of Nuoro. In this mountainous area, located in the heart of the region, people lived on agriculture and pastoralism: the men stayed away from home all day and their typical meal included cheese, carasau bread and olives.
The shape of the bread is generally circular, but in some municipalities of Barbagia and Ogliastra it is rectangular. In the first area it takes the name of bread and milling and has a small thickness, while in the second it is called su pistocu.
Guttiau bread is also of Nuoro origin and its preparation has spread throughout Sardinia, in homes as in farmhouses. It has found particular appreciation among tourists, so much so that today it is possible to buy it in many parts of Italy and even online, along with many delicious products that you can find on DF Gourmet.
Guttiau and carasau bread, the winning combinations at the table
Both can be served as an alternative to leavened bread, but carasau can become a base for many interesting recipes . One of these is the fratau bread (literally broken bread), soaked with sheep broth and enriched with tomato sauce, pecorino cheese, poached eggs and a few basil leaves.
But alongside this extraordinary recovery preparation, perhaps dating back to the years of the Second World War, there are others more recent. The dough can replace the lasagna, or act as a base for canapés as unusual as inviting.
Alongside the combinations with cheese creams and olives, there are those who offer winning combinations of guttiau bread and sweet and sour vegetables, pickles, smoked salmon, tuna tartare, bacon and other types of cold cuts.
Finally, remember that carasau bread can be softened in water. Become more workable, it can be used to make rolls, to be proposed as an appetizer. The ideal filling? What your imagination suggests.