CAA - cosi addicts anonymous
January 10, 2008 8:23 AM   Subscribe

Help me make Cosi bread at home!

As anyone who's been to a Cosi knows, their bread is fantastic. It's a flat bread they make in giant ovens on site. It's thicker and crispier than pita, but softer than ciabbata, and not as brown and rosemary-ish as foccacia. Googling "Cosi bread recipe" leads me to a lot of other unanswered searches. One person thinks it might be Pane Carasau (Italian Flatbread), another says maybe it's a type of naan or Arabic flatbread. It's not listed on or After visiting a friend with two Cosis in walking distance, I'm suffering from withdrawal. Help me find this (or a close copy) recipe!
posted by kidsleepy to Food & Drink (11 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Your oven isn't hot enough to cook it even if you found the recipe. Sorry, but it woulnt be the same without the crisp crust.
posted by BobbyDigital at 8:39 AM on January 10, 2008

But what if you could get your oven to that temp?
posted by photodegas at 8:49 AM on January 10, 2008

Response by poster: so what's my closest "fake it" recipe?
posted by kidsleepy at 8:51 AM on January 10, 2008

Response by poster: i could always toast it after i bake it...
posted by kidsleepy at 8:51 AM on January 10, 2008

I don't know what BobbyDigital is talking about. The floor of my gas oven gets hot enough to make a nicely charred pizza in about 6 minutes, which should be hot enough to make crispy anything. I bake larger breads (with nice crisp, dark crusts) at about 450 F.

So, I can't help you, but don't doubt your capabilities.
posted by rxrfrx at 9:15 AM on January 10, 2008

My oven hasn't worked in my apartment for four years (and I still haven't gotten it fixed, if that tells you how often *I* cook). But I LOVE cosi's flat bread. After some internet sleuthing, I found the Pane Carasau recipe as well.

From what I've seen in the store, I can vouch for the last bit--they do brush the top of the bread with butter and add salt. And, the ingredient list looks like stuff that would be available in centuries past, which how old Cosi says the secret recipe is.

If you do try out the recipe, can you report back how close it was to the real thing?
posted by batcrazy at 11:26 PM on January 10, 2008

This recipe for Pane Carasau is from "Savory Baking From the Mediterranean". I've never tried it, but other recipes in the book that I have tried seem authentic and came out great.

1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1 cup semolina flour
1 tsp fine kosher salt or sea salt

Combine the flours and salt in a large bowl, making a well in the center, Gradually add 3/4 cup warm water, bringing in the flour as go along. Knead until you have arough ball of dough. On a lightly floured surface, knead the ball of dough for 3 minutes, then cover and let rest for 15 minutes. Knead for 2 minutes more, or until dough is smooth and elastic. Shape into a ball, cover, and let rest for 30 minutes.

Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces, and shape each into a ball. Place on a floured surface, sprinkle with flour, cover, and let rest for 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 450 F. Roll out the balls into the thinnest circle that you can, and then transfer a couple of the rounds at a time to a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake for 3 minutes until lightly golden, turn with tongs, and then bake for another 3 minutes. If desired, brush the tops after turning with oil and salt, and then bake on the second side until lightly brown.

The recipe goes on to describe how, traditionally, the rounds are made much larger, and then baked until they puff. Each one is then separated into two sheets and then returned to the oven to crisp. That sounds an awful lot like a pita bread. The difference here is that you use semolina flour, which is made from a hard wheat and contains more gluten. In my experience, breads containing semolina rise less, and are more chewy.

Because semolina is higher in gluten, I'd be careful to honor the resting period quoted in the recipe. The starch molecules need time to absorb the water in the dough, and if you don't let the dough rest, it will not roll out as easily or bake as evenly. (Just my experience from years of baking all sorts of breads).

Have fun, and let us know if it tastes good!
posted by Flakypastry at 6:18 AM on January 11, 2008 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: looks like i've got a weekend project ahead of me. in the meantime, if you have any other recipes/suggestions, let us know.
posted by kidsleepy at 6:36 AM on January 11, 2008

Hi all,
This weekend I tried this:

This Italian flat bread has a crispy, Cosi-like texture.
1 3/4 Cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 1/2 Cups Semolina Flour
1 Envelope Active Dry Yeast
1 Cup Warm Water

To Serve:


Combine the two flours with about a teaspoon of salt. In a small cup, dissolve the yeast in the 1 cup of the warm water( 110F - 115F, not any hotter. and a pinch of sugar helps things along). Let sit until bubbly. Add the yeast mixture to the flour. Mix until you have a smooth dough. Cover and let sit 1 hour. Knead for 5 minutes and cover for another hour.

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F. Spray two flat baking sheets with oil spray. Knead the dough once more and roll out to about 3/4" thick.

Here are the things I have learned:
- Place them in the oven for a few minutes (i say about 5) then take them out, and brush with butter, nothing too heavy, but don't skimp
- you can use regular table salt for mixing with flour, but adding a bit of sea salt to the tops right before you put them back in the oven adds a great taste.

Please let me know how it turns out for you.
posted by photodegas at 9:47 AM on January 14, 2008 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: thanks, photodegas! i got distracted this weekend and haven't tried it out myself yet, but your post has just encouraged me further.
posted by kidsleepy at 11:19 AM on January 14, 2008

Response by poster: i used photodegas' recipe today. i was pretty proud of myself, since this is only the second time i've tried to make bread (the first being beer bread, so i don't know if that even counts). i might have messed up the yeast since i don't have a thermometer for the water, but oh well. i wasn't sure how long to leave the loaves in the oven, but after 5 minutes i brushed with butter and sea salt, then popped them back in for 10 minutes or so, pulled them out and flipped them, and then left them in for another 10 minutes. they got slightly brown, but i was worried about over cooking them. i probably could have left them longer.

the outcome: very nicely shaped, and crunchy on the outside, but too doughy on the inside (which could be due to under cooking). it was not too doughy to eat, but just doughier than cosi bread - none of those nooks and crannies. the flavor was okay, but a little plain. i think it needs more salt in the dough or possibly a dash of sugar. i made my own version of cosi's turkey, brie, and honey mustard sandwich. it was good, but nothing beats the real thing!
posted by kidsleepy at 7:48 PM on January 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

« Older Lyme Disease / Borrelia advice needed!   |   A new way to look at the world... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.