Pane carasau is a traditional Sardinian flat bread, unmistakable for its thin, crispy sheets. Because it has a long storage life, the bread was used by sheepherders during the long periods they spent taking care of their herds.
Pane carasau is ancient flat bread also known as “carta musica” (sheet music) due to its resemblance to the parchment paper that sacred music was written on. Traces of the bread were found in the nuraghi (traditional Sardinian stone buildings) and it was therefore already in existence before 1000 BC.
Pane carasau, from the Sardinian “carasare”, which refers to the crush of bread, is without a doubt the most famous Sardinian bread in the world. Made from hard wheat bran (or semola di grano duro in Italian), salt, yeast and water, it was originally made using a labor intensive process that require the work of three women.
After having prepared the dough, it had to be rolled out into very thin sheets that were baked in a very hot oven (840°-930°F) until it puffed up like a ball.
Still today, these disks of bread have to be removed from the oven, and with great skill, cut along their circumference and divided into sheets. The sheets are then stacked one on top of another with the pourous side facing the outside. The bread is then baked another time to obtain its crispiness and characteristic color, or carasatura.
In the past, having been prepared for the sheepherders that had to attend their herds, the bread was folded in half during cooking, when the bread was still flexible, to reduce its size and allowing for it to fit in a knap sack.
Pane carasau recipes in the Academia Barilla archive
In the library
INSOR–Istituto nazionale di sociologia rurale, Atlante dei prodotti tipici: il pane, Roma, AGRA – RAI-ERI, 2000.
BORDO VALTER, SURRUSCA ANGELO (cur.), L’Italia del pane: Guida alla scoperta e alla conoscenza, Bra, Slow Food Editore, 2002.
L’UNIONE SARDA, Pane, Panadas e Focacce, Macomer, La biblioteca dell’identità dell’Unione Sarda, 2005.