Classic piadine Italian flatbreads, with a dusting of Parmesan cheese, and drizzle of olive oil. Instructions include baking at high altitude and at sea level.
We’re here now. Living in Tahoe full-time … one of the most beautiful places to live – and, I’ve decided, one of the most insane for weather. While you planted flowers last week, we watched two feet of fresh snow blow through, and we’re expecting more in a couple days. Cah-razy!
There’s more nature than people here, with yipping coyotes out back causing us to snuggle just a little deeper into our beds at night, and bears ripping off the boards enclosing trash containers. Some friends don’t understand why we’ve left the civilization of San Francisco for a small town with a long snowy winter. They ask, “Won’t you miss _________ (fill in the blank)??” Yes, I will, and do. But for now, living in the mountains is where I want to be.
I need to slow down. I need to get off the eternal wheel of stuffing my days with more things than time realistically allows. When I first moved to California nearly 30 years ago (OMG, am I really that old??), I likened it to a merry-go-round that everyone was on. After a year, I was on the merry-go-round, gaily holding on with one hand as if it were a bucking bronco. Another year or more gone by, and that merry-go-round and I were one. Merged, Borg-like. Sleeping problems ensued, and life became a sport.
Busy-ness is an addiction.
A couple of weeks ago, we were in the Bay Area, packing up our lives in preparation to move. Each day, I (frantically) made the rounds to all my restaurant haunts, as if we were leaving for the depths of Mongolia, and not expected to return. It was easy to justify – after all, we’d boxed up the kitchen. But my mission was a bit manic at times, and I gained all the weight back that I’d lost in January and February.
One of my favorite lunch places serves soft, warm piadine slices with any salad for an extra $4.00. A bargain, trust me. Huge slices are stacked on a separate plate, thin, stretchy, and covered with olive oil and Parmesan cheese. And now that I’m living in Siberia (ok, maybe an exaggeration), my new life’s goal is to re-create that bread.
Piadina is an Italian flatbread from north-central Italy, in the Emilia-Romagna region. It’s a simple bread of flour, lard or olive oil, water, and salt. Variations abound, of course, with baking powder or yeast additions being the most common, and originally lard was more used than olive oil.
Confession: This version isn’t what I had in the Bay Area, but it’s wonderful none-the-less. Instead of the stretchy version, this one is more like a very thin biscuit. Slather it with jam, butter, or rain some Parmesan cheese across it. It's all good.
As a note: I baked it, but it’s traditionally cooked in a skillet on a stovetop. Cook (or bake) them a shorter time for a flexible bread perfect for folding over cheese and vegetables to create a tortilla-like sandwich. Cook them until crisp, and you get a crisp bottom for a thin pizza flatbread.
I’m still experimenting, so brace yourself for more versions over the coming months, but this one has earned a place at our table regularly.
Baking Adjustments for Sea Level:
If you live at sea level, or reasonable close to it, make the following changes to the recipe:
- Use the full 16 ounces of bread flour
- Increase the baking powder to 1 ½ tablespoons
- Decrease the olive oil to ¼ cup (4 tablespoons)
- Decrease the water to 1 cup
- Bake for 12 minutes
By the way, check out this great bread dipping oil to use for this bread. It's a delicious, restaurant style bread dipping oil that uses fresh herbs, garlic, grated Parmesan cheese, and a few spices.
Parmesan Piadine (Italian Flatbreads)
- Pizza stone
- 16 ounces bread flour
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup + 1 tablespoon warm water
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
- Ground black pepper
- Whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook.
- Pour in the olive oil, water, and lemon juice all at once, and knead at a medium-low speed for 10 minutes. The dough should be very smooth. Cover for one hour, to allow the dough to rest. This will make it easier to roll the dough thinner.
- Preheat the oven to 400˚F with a pizza stone.
- Divide the dough into four balls. Lightly flour the counter or work surface, and press one of the balls of dough with your hand. Cover the other balls with plastic. Roll the flattened ball of dough into a very thin circle of dough, as thin as you can get it. Mine were about 1/10" thick.
- Place on a sheet of parchment paper, slide onto the back of a baking sheet or cookie sheet, and sprinkle with a one tablespoon cheese. Slide the bread rounds (including the parchment paper) onto the hot pizza stone. Bake for 14 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove, and repeat with the remaining four balls of dough.
I totally understand why you would want to slow things down a little. I have been yearning for a quiet life for sometime now. I am just glad for you that you get to have it. The piadine are looking exquisite and i think I might prefer yours to the soft restaurant version . The crunch will be exquisite!
Enjoy your new home and calmer lifestyle. I can't think of a better way to relax than baking this wonderful bread.
Oh heavens you are busy! I think to be a blogger you have to be a bit of an energizer bunny! This flatbread looks so good. I'd love a slice with a nice salad.
Beautiful piadine and your photographs capture that perfectly! I'm envious of your new house in the wilderness. It must give you a nice sense of peace. Congratulations and wishing you much happiness there!
I love a good flatbread and this one looks delicious!
Robin @ A Shaggy Dough Story
Resistance is not futile after all and you have not been assimilated. I envy your new, calmer, more "you" centered life and woo boy, do I wish I could do the same. In the meantime, I'll have to make this wonderful bread and dream. Thanks for sharing.
I'm so jealous! Are you on the California or Nevada (no income tax) side? When I was a kid, we vacationed in Tahoe every single summer. We'd leave at night, and us kids would sleep in the back of the station wagon. Can you imagine that now? I learned to both ski and waterski there. And you know there's hospitals because of the ski slopes, right? I think the only thing I'd have trouble with is the high altitude baking!
P.S. Can't wait to try your bread!
Slowing down is good for health. Its human nature to visit all the favourite eating places, we tend to do that when we're in India. We go on a spree as though its our last visit. Before you know we're there again in a few months!
I love the flat bread, easy to make as you mentioned can be made on a skillet.
This is a beautiful flat bread. Lovely clicks
I loved the recipe and more than that, loved how you have put in detailed notes to make this on high altitude and at sea levels - thank you for ur wonderful bread 🙂 and good luck with the move !
Enjoy your new home Susan. Your baked piadina look so cheesy and delicious.