Field of Science

Bread - most disappointing thing in Italy

Bread is great, and TPP has always been a big fan of it. Mrs. Phactor bakes a mean loaf of French bread for which she has some renown. The bread in Italy looks fantastic, and we've sampled a good bit of including a small local bakery, both flat and poofed up bread. It also smells good, but the taste is rather bland. It took some thought to figure out why the flavor seemed to be missing - no salt. It doesn't even help to butter the bread, although that is decidedly un-Italian, because all the butter is also unsalted. There isn't much salt in bread recipes, but apparently it makes quite a difference. As an experiment TPP used the local pizza/pane/focaccia flour but followed his own recipe, and you could taste the difference right away. BTW, the standard flour in Italy is self-rising, so you don't find yeast in stores, but cakes of live yeast may be in the dairy case (didn't think to look there). A very self-sufficient sister-in-law brought freeze dried yeast with her, you know, just in case. The pizza dough made according to package instructions from Italian flour was rather a bit more like a flat bisquit without the stretchy texture of my yeasty pizza dough, which came from an Italian cookbook (also can be used for bread). Anyone know for why this is the case? The curious bread-lovers out there want to know. 

2 comments:

William Connolley said...

> because all the butter is also unsalted

In England, we have a rather sophisticated device we call a "salt cellar" which can be used to sprinkle salt on unsalted objects :-)

Diane said...

Assuming the pizza dough was kneaded for the usual time it may have been too soft because the wheat used in the mix was too low in gluten like cake flour.