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Piadina, AKA Italian flat griddle bread

Piadina was traditionally prepared in the Romagna historical region. It was cooked on terracotta. It is considered by some to be "street food", and is commonly enjoyed by the ocean. I make piadina with Olinda olive oil in place of the more traditional lard because I always have olive oil on hand, not so much lard. A hot cast iron pan does the trick, no greasing required. Piadina is used in place of bread in sandwiches, and I love to serve it with homemade hummus, cheeses, prosciutto, country ham, spreads and vegetables. Piadina can be served thick or thin, as long as the inside is not doughy! Piled high next to other dishes such as sautéed greens, piadina play an important part in my family-style meals.

4 cups unbleached flour

1/3 cup milk

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup lukewarm water

A 10-inch cast-iron skillet or soapstone griddle (you may use a smaller skillet, but it will take more rounds to cook all the piadina)

Pour the flour into a large mixing bowl or onto a work surface and make a hollow in its center. Pour in the olive oil, milk, salt, baking soda and water. Draw the flour into the center with the liquid, mixing with your hands or with a wooden spoon at first and them your hands. Knead for about 10 minutes. The dough might appear shaggy at first, but you can always add more milk, water or olive oil as necessary. Feel free to add more flour if you need to, a little at a time.

When the dough is smooth, elastic and no longer sticky, you may wrap it in plastic wrap and return to it an hour later or continue.

Cut the dough into 8-10 pieces, with each piece being the size of a golf ball. Roll out each piece of dough, auto 1/16 of an inch for a thin piadina and thicker if you'd prefer.

Heat your griddle over medium-high heat. The griddle will be hot enough if a droplet of water sizzles on it. I recommend keeping an eye of the headtto be sure the heat stays even. Place one of the disks on the griddle and if you are using thin piadina, flip it after 15 seconds. If using thicker piadina, after 30 seconds to a minute. The piadina should be white with blackened spots. You will get the hang of it the more piadina you cook. The timing and heat depends on your griddle and the heat, so watch it carefully. Serve the piadina while they are still warm, but you may reheat them in a hot oven.


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