Torta al Testo, the Umbrian flatbread
You will find flatbreads in one form or another in every country, cuisine and regional food in the world I think, this one is Umbria’s.
The Torta al Testo is an ancient Umbria recipe, it’s name comes from the metal plate that is traditionally cooked on, a cast iron plate that is placed on the embers of an open fire, you can buy new ones nowadays that can be used on a stovetop like the one below, I use a heavy-based frying pan, works perfectly.
The torta al testo in Umbria is a firm favourite at the local sagra during the summer months, you will find it everywhere. It is usually served filled with a variety of things, most popular are cheese and prosciutto, sausage, sausage and wild greens. In our area, a speciality is ‘barbazza’ which is fried pancetta with sage and vinegar, and you will also find it with a generous spread of Nutella!
I was lucky today I was joined by my little kitchen helper, my daughter, think she has inherited the bug for cooking and she was great at rolling out the torta, she also doesn’t mind helping with the washing up!
We like to fill our torta al testo with barbazza, potato mixed with cicoria (wild greens) and sausage, and if there is any room left they are lovely with some cheese and prosciutto. I am sure the kids will sneak one with Nutella later on…
È meglio che la pancia crepi, che la roba si sprechi.
It is better for the belly to burst than to waste any food.Umbrian proverb
Torta al Testo
- Rolling Pin
- Mixer with dough hook
- 700 g Type 0 or all-purpose flour
- 380 ml Water
- 1 tsp salt
- 20 g Fresh yeast or 10g dry active yeast
- 1 tbsp Olive oil
- Add the yeast to the water and dissolve, if using dry active yeast follow instructions for that yeast type
- Add flour and salt into mixing bowl
- Gradually add the water with the dissolved yeast while the mixer is on a slow speed
- Add olive oil
- Let the mixer knead the dough for about 5 mins on a low speed
- After 5-7 mins cover the bowl of dough with a damp cloth and allow to prove for 1 hour or until doubled in size
After it has proved and doubled in size
- Empty the dough onto a floured work surface and divide into 4 pieces, each piece should be around 300-320g
- Heat a heavy bottom frying pan or better still a cast iron pan on your stove
- Gently form each piece into a ball and let them rest again on the work surface for around 10 mins to let eh dough relax
- With a rolling pin roll a ball into a round, about 1cm thick and approx 25cm diameter
- Place the round into your DRY frying pan, no oil is used and let cook on medium-high heat, the bread will start to form bubbles on the upper side, keep an eye on it and check the bottom after a minute or 2 then when you see brown spots flip it over to cook the other side
- Let it cook for another couple of minutes and flip it over again, the bread should have risen slightly with bubbles and should sound hollow when tapped, then take it off and cool on a rack
- Repeat the process for the other balls of dough
- The torta al testo is best eaten hot, in Umbria it is sliced open then filled with a viatiety of fillings.