This flat griddle bread is probably one of the most popular breads found across Umbria, and is used to wrap around bitter greens for sandwiches, offered with plates of cured meats and cheeses, or served with stews or braised meats to sop up the delicious pan juices. This bread is sometimes called torta sul testo, or panaro depending on where you encounter it in Umbria, but it basically prepared in the same manner.
On our recent trip to Umbria, we found this bread everywhere, from roadside stands where it was served in sandwiches even to upscale restaurants accompanying roasted and braised meats. This bread is made without yeast, and only a small amount of baking soda is used for leavening although at one time it was made simply with flour and water.
Although usually cooked on the stovetop in an earthenware pan or cast iron griddle, I used a nonstick skillet with good results. This bread does not really store well though, and is best eaten shortly after it is prepared.
- 3 Cups Unbleached All-purpose Flour
- 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
- 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
- 1 to 1/2 Cups Warm Milk (About 100 degrees F.)
- Mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
- Begin to add the warm milk, stirring it into the dry ingredients, adding just enough for the dough to come together.
- Dump the dough onto the counter, and knead by hand until smooth.
- Divide the dough into 6 individual balls and cover, and let the dough rest 15 minutes.
- Roll each ball of dough into a circle about 1/8th of an inch thick.
- Heat your skillet or griddle until hot, and cook each circle for about 2 minutes on each side or until lightly browned with a slightly bubbled surface.
- Keep the breads warm while you cook the rest of the breads.