Umbrian Torta al Testo with Rucola and Mozzarella

Torta al Testo

This week’s sandwich is my version of Torta al Testo – the Umbrian flatbread – stuffed with rucola and mozzarella together with a dressing of olive oil and balsamico. Originally, this bread is unleavened, just made with flour, salt and water. I add some dry yeast, some use baking soda or sourdough. The name Torta al Testo comes from the fact that, traditionally, it is cooked on a hot disc of clay or metal – al testo – over the open fire, as I don’t have that I use a skillet on a normal cooker.

Torta al Testo has everything a good sandwich needs: amazing bread and a tasty filling. What I also like about it, is the way it’s cooked. It’s fun to see the flat disc of dough rising and cooking in the hot pan within a couple minutes. It’s very entertaining! I recently had friends over for dinner and Torta al Testo was the starter. We gathered in the kitchen, crowded as always, I cooked the bread and we all watched it rise. The kitchen was packed with people and food, I cooked one batch of flatbread after the other (I had to make quite a few of them) and the room got more and more smokey from the hot pan. Thankfully no one left, even though you could barely see anymore after I had left one in too long. We were all kind of mesmerized by the rising bread but don’t worry, if you watch your bread it will be fine, no need for a fire alarm!

Torta al Testo

Torta al Testo with Rucola and Mozzarella

For 6 Torta al Testo you need

plain flour 250g / 9 ounces plus more for mixing
(I use spelt flour type 630 but you can use any other flour)
dry yeast 1 1/2 teaspoons
water, lukewarm, 140ml
salt 1/4 teaspoon
for the filling:
mozzarella, cut into cubes, 125g / 4.5 ounces
rucola around 100g / 3.5 ounces
olive oil (6 tablespoons) mixed with balsamico vinegar (3 tablespoons) and seasoned with salt and pepper

Mix all the ingredients for the dough with the hooks of your mixer. Add some more flour if the mixture is too sticky. After 5 minutes continue mixing with your hands for a couple minutes. Put the dough back into the bowl, cover it with a tea towel and let it rise in a warm place or the warm oven (35°C / 95°F, top/ bottom heat, no fan) for 40 minutes.

Divide the dough into 6 pieces. On a well floured working surface, roll each one out into a flat disc. Leave the discs on the floured  surface, cover with a tea towel and let them rise for another 20 minutes.

Heat a large skillet on highest temperature (no oil!). Cook the bread on one side for 1 – 1 1/2 minutes, turn and cook on the other side for another minute, at that point it will start to rise rapidly. You might have to cook it for a few seconds more or less – but keep an eye on it so as not to burn it.

Take the bread out and let it cool for a minute. Cut your flatbread in half and fill with the mozzarella and rucola. Drizzle some dressing on top and close your Torta al Testo.

Torta al Testo


Torta al Testo