Marocca di Casola

Breads of Italy: The Ancient Charm of Marocca di Casola

Marocca di Casola

La Marocca di Casola is an ancient bread typical of one small rural area (Casola, Lunigiana) in Northern Italy. It is made almost entirely with chestnut flour, which is what the locals had in the past, when wheat flour was too expensive. It is dense and has a characteristic flavor. It has recently been recognized as a protected traditional local bread by Slow Food (Presidio Slow Food).

I like everything traditional, and I dig in mysterious breads like this one, so different and so unknown. I did not find any previous blog post about Marocca, but I did find the recipe here and there. From what I know, only a couple of bakeries in the area of Casola still make this bread, so it was quite challenging and exciting to try to revive this recipe by actually making it (and not simply reading about it).

The main issue with actualizing the recipe was that the chestnut flour I found surely required more water than it was suggested (the recipe called for a mere 80 g, I used 220 g). Second, nowadays the local bakeries add yeast in the second fermentation. I omitted the yeast -and relied only on my sourdough starter- the second time I put my hands at this loaf. The result was just as good if not even better compared to when I used brewer’s yeast. Third… the dough is like concrete. It does not rise much but the ferments make cracks appear on the surface. It all looked very primeval and I loved it!

Marocca

How To:
Boil 1 medium-small potato (60-80 g) and put aside to cool (it will be added several hours later). Combine 350 g chestnut flour, 150 g all-purpose flour with 150 g sourdough starter (pasta madre) and 220 g water. Make a ball, cover, and let rest for several hours (3 and 1/2 if going for the sourdough only version, for longer if going for the mixed version with both sourdough and brewer’s yeast). When the ball has leavened (it does not grow much but you can see little bubbles and cracks under the surface) add add 10 g of salt, the potato, and 1 ½ tablespoon olive oil. At this point you can, if you want, add also 5 g fresh yeast dissolved in a little water. Knead until all is incorporated.
Divide the dough into 2 rounds and place in small baskets dusted with corn flour to rest, covered. If you went for the only sourdough option, let the dough ferment in the fridge for at least one night, better if a whole day. If you went for the mixed version (adding yeast when adding salt) let rest for only 2 hours. When ready, invert of a baking dish, make one slash in the center (or none at all), and bake in a preheated oven at 200 Celsius (392 Fahrenheit) degrees for 35-40 minutes.

marocca

Marocca

Marocca

Marocca

Marocca

Marocca

With this bread I participate to Panissimo, a monthly bread showcase created by moi and Sandra and hosted this month by Sandra. Submissions are accepted on Sandra’s blog until the 30th of September.

And… I am happy to participate to the sparkling monthly showcase of my talented friend Wisla, Sourdough and Yeast.

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Barbara Elisi

Hi there! I am the "soul" behind Bread & Companatico. My main interest is the preservation of bread tradition and craft, with an eye to health. I hope you are having a good time reading this blog, and please don't be shy to connect with me through comments or emails and do keep on bread-ing! 🙂

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25 replies
    • Barbara
      Barbara says:

      thank you Julia. it was not that difficult, really. And if you don’t want to make your own sourdough culture, there are some reliable ones on sale on the net… give them a try.

      Reply
  1. Sheila
    Sheila says:

    Thanks for the recipe. I’ve added it to my list of recipes on food from Lunigiana and will certainly give it a try. By the way, your bread looks a bit lighter in colour than the normal Moracca. Do you think that is down to the chestnut flour you used?

    Reply
    • Barbara
      Barbara says:

      thank you Karin. I got also immediately excited to try it when I read about it. the taste was strange in the beginning, kind of warm in the stomach (?!?) and truly addictive passed the initial surprise…

      Reply
  2. Simona
    Simona says:

    What an interesting bread! I like chestnut flour and have used it to make pasta and cookies, but never thought of adding it to bread dough. I love the color it gives to bread (and pasta too). I certainly would like to taste a slice of your loaf with some of my cheese 😉

    Reply
    • Barbara
      Barbara says:

      that would be a match made in heaven Simona! would like to taste your cheese one day 🙂 ps: don’t forget to send me your address for the well deserved book award.

      Reply
  3. luiz domaszak
    luiz domaszak says:

    Good morning Barbara.

    I am from Brasil and want to send you congratulations for the wonderful recipes ,thank you Barbara for sharing with us
    your knowledgements and skills

    Best regards

    Reply
    • Barbara Elisi
      Barbara Elisi says:

      hi there Luiz and thanks a lot for your precious words. I love traditional breads and am doing what I can to rediscover old Italian breads. so happy you find this useful.

      Reply

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