Torta al testo: Umbrian flat bread (recipe)

June 19, 2015 — 6 Comments

Torta al testo

Nothing illustrates the regionalism of Italian food better than the fact that, despite Sarah Palin-like, being able to see Umbria from my Tuscan bedroom, until last Monday I had never heard of torta al testo, their ubiquitous and delicious flatbread.

Most Italian regions have their own flatbreads: Tuscany has schiacciata; Emilia-Romagna piadina; Liguria focaccia, and of course Campania has pizza. All of these are variations on a theme but also very distinct, ranging from soft to crispy in texture, bland to salty in taste.

Torta al testo is the closest Italian bread (I’ve found yet) to pitta. Thick, smooth on the outside, with a soft spongy interior, it’s perfect for sandwiches. It also has the distinction of being extremely quick and easy to make.

Torta al testo

Traditionally, this bread was cooked on a testo, a thick cast iron plate heated over hot coals. However, it can easily be made in a hot non-stick frying pan. Delicious hot or cold, it can be filled with charcuterie, cheese, salad, or anything you like. Here it’s pictured with San Daniele prosciutto and scamorza cheese. Buon appetito!

 

Torta al testo

Preparation time: 5 mins
Resting time: 1hr 30 mins
Cooking time: 20 mins
Total time: 1hr 55 mins

 

Ingredients

250g (1 cup) plain flour
10g (1/3 ounce) fresh yeast
1 ½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 pinch salt
150g (2/3 cup) water

 

Method

  1. Using a mixer with a dough hook, combine the flour, yeast, oil, salt and water together to make a dough.
  2. Continue to knead with the dough hook for about five minutes.
  3. Place in a metal bowl and cover with a damp tea cloth. Leave for about one hour and a half or until doubled in size.
  4. Punch down and then using a rolling pin, flatten into a disk about 1cm (1/2 inch) thick. Prick one side all over with a fork.
  5. Heat a non-stick frying pan on full flame. When hot, place the bread in the pan pricked side down. Turn the heat down to three quarters and cook for about 7-10 minutes per side.

6 responses to Torta al testo: Umbrian flat bread (recipe)

  1. 

    I love seeing ‘new’ bread recipes! If I could I’d bake bread all day every day, but then again it more than likely wouldn’t be so special then!

    Liked by 1 person

    • 
      Luca Marchiori June 19, 2015 at 3:04 pm

      This really is one that you could bake every day as it’s so easy and fast. This one uses fresh yeast which you need to leave to prove. However, there is a common variation that uses about half a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda instead. It’s a little less light in the middle but you only have to leave that to rest for fifteen minutes.

      Like

  2. 
    Luca Marchiori June 19, 2015 at 3:08 pm

    Thanks to my friend Amy Riolo (http://amyriolo.com) I’ve now found an Italian flat bread so close to pitta it’s called … pitta! From Calabria. Looks delicious. Thanks Amy!

    Like

  3. 

    So glad you like it, Luca! I am a fan of all artisan breads from around the world. Great to see someone with the same passion! Buon appetito!

    Like

    • 
      Luca Marchiori June 20, 2015 at 1:31 pm

      Thanks Amy and thanks again for the recipe. I am a completely artisan bread obsessed and so will definitely be trying it out. A presto!

      Like

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  1. At the feet of Saint Francis: Saio Winery, Assisi « Chestnuts and Truffles - September 18, 2015

    […] so we went off into the vineyards to have a picnic of local salami and cheese served with typical torta al testo […]

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