A Ladin Sandwich with Spices and Tyrolean Prosciutto
by eat in my kitchen
I used to eat this sandwich whenever I arrived in Corvara, I went straight to the bakery to get some local flatbread and then to the butcher for prosciutto. Outside the shop, I prepared my sandwich, sat on a bench in the snow and enjoyed the start of my holiday.
Last week I read about this bread, the bread of my mountain village of choice. It is a flatbread made with rye flour mixed with coriander, fennel and aniseed. It’s a speciality in the Ladinia region around the Sella mountains in the Italian Dolomite Alps. In Italian this area is called Val Badia and the Ladin name (which is an autonomous language) is Alta Badia.
There are two ways to prepare this bread, one is more flat, it becomes dry, hard and brittle after baking. It’s very thin and you “shake” the dough to loosen it up which gives it its name, “Schuettelbrot” (shaken bread). This method was used to preserve the bread for the long and lonely time in the mountain huts where the supply of fresh bread and food was an unfrequent and laborious task. It keeps for months, the texture is hard but it retains its strong taste of spices.
The second one is thicker and this is the one I choose to make, at it’s best when fresh and warm. Although it’s not as light and fluffy as a flatbread made with wheat flour, it’s denser and more complex in taste. Traditionally you eat this bread together with Tyrolean Prosciutto at Vesper time, in the afternoon or evening when you feel like a little snack. My mother sent me a nice piece of prosciutto from San Cassiano, so I use this special occasion for this week’s Sandwich Wednesday.
A Ladin Sandwich with Spice Flatbread and Tyrolean Prosciutto
I spread some cream cheese on the flatbread, traditionally it’s made without, but I was in the mood for it.
For 8 little flatbreads you need
rye flour 180g / 6.5 ounces
spelt flour 180g / 6.5 ounces
dry yeast 1 package for 500g / 1 pound of flour
water, lukewarm, 125ml
milk, lukewarm, 50ml
coriander seeds, ground, 1 teaspoon
fennel seeds, ground, 1/2 teaspoon
aniseed, ground, 1/2 teaspoon
caraway seeds, ground, 1/4 teaspoon
salt 1/2 teaspoon
olive oil to grease the baking sheet
For the topping
Tyrolean Prosciutto 3 slices for each flatbread
cream cheese (optional)
crushed black pepper
Combine the flour with the spices, yeast and salt, add the lukewarm water and the milk, slowly, not all at once (you might not need all of it). Mix with your dough hooks for a few minutes. The dough should be more on the dry side. Continue kneading and punching with your hands until you have an elastic dough ball, not sticky at all. Put the dough back into the bowl, cover with a tea towel and let it rise in the warm oven (35°C / 95°F) for 45 minutes. This works really well but make sure that your oven is set to top/ bottom heat and not to fan.
Take the dough out and punch it down. Divide it into 8 pieces and roll them out into discs (on a floured working surface, between 1 – 1 1/2 cm / around 1/2″ thick). Cover with a tea towel and let them rise for another 25 minutes.
Set your oven to 250°C / 480°F. My oven has a special pizza setting which I use for this recipe but you can use top / bottom heat as well. Grease your baking sheet with some olive oil.
Put your flatbreads on the baking sheet and bake them on the lowest level for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Take them out and let them cool for 2 minutes. Cut a bread in half, spread with cream cheese and cover with a few slices of the prosciutto. You can sprinkle some crushed black pepper over it too.