Bread is one of the most popular and consumed foods in Italy, but it is also one of the foods of which there are multiple variations, both in the ingredients and in their quantity, from preparation to form, with a great variety of ingredients that make Italian bread a true artisan delight.
From the basic ingredients made of flour, water, salt and yeast (but some of them can be replaced with others) we move on to a series of combinations, possibilities for enrichment and almost infinite processing times and largely linked to resources and traditions of the places where it is prepared and spread from there.
Italian bread is legendary, but it is not because of the water and flour of the beautiful Bel Paese.
Instead the delicacy comes from tradition and culture for artisan products prepared with unique combinations and with care.
In Italy when something is genuine it is said “Buono come il pane, ” as good as bread,” we have always felt it, perhaps even intimately felt because, what can give that same feeling of a product so good and natural, with its unique smell, his golden color, more or less rough, crunchy rind and that unmistakable flavor that makes any palate entice.
If we think about it, it is the basis of nutrition since our prehistoric ancestors grinded the grains of some cereals to the best.
With this simple flour mixed with water, a focaccia was obtained to bake on the hot stones that formed a rudimentary oven.
The ancient Romans produced spelled buns, with this cereal they also produced soups and a sort of “polenta” the poor eating of the peasants, has become the celibacy of our times.
Italians don’t get fat is a popular saying used to describe Italian food and lifestyle. Italian are famously devoted to their great food, yet their obesity rate is really low compared with the other countries in Europe and in the United States.
Bread is meant to be eaten with other food everyday in small proportion, that’s why Italian eating bread the whole day.
This means that when you sit down in a restaurant, the bread basket that arrives at the table is not meant as a pre-dinner snack, but to eat in combination with other dishes.
Why so many peoples believed that bread will make you fat?
The whole world is surprised that the Italians are thin, when it should be clear that it is enough not to eat too much at once, and Italian knows that.
There is no country that can boast like Italy about 300 regional bread specialties, with the strangest shapes and names. In short, the lack of love seems to affect the bakers more than the wise and curious consumers.
They give preference to artisan breads (Slow Food’s Italy of bread censuses authentic bakers, from North to South), purchased in the shops that survived the supermarkets.
Traditional Italian breads are of over 250 different types, with over a thousand variations, ranging from the islands to the Alps.
They are more or less well-known breads, packaged by small communities, cooked in a wood oven, which would be worth knowing and discovering.
The varieties of bread present in the various Italian regions are in fact very numerous and the available ingredients are used in each area.
For example, in the regions of Southern Italy, durum wheat flour which is traditionally used for pasta is used for bread-making. It is a less widespread type of cultivation because it requires warm climates and is typical of regions where the climate is mild.
Bread prepared with durum wheat flour has a lighter consistency than that made with soft wheat flour. In Sicily, the surface of durum wheat semolina bread is flavored with cumin, sesame or anise seeds.
Anise seeds are also used by Apulian master bakers for the preparation of taralli.
In other regions, such as in Lombardy, where rice cultivation is practiced intensively, rice bread, light and soft, is prepared with soft wheat flour mixed with rice flour, which gives it a particularly light consistency.
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