Field of Science

Italian bread with no salt - an update

The question of why Italian bread has no salt has raised two hypotheses and here are some of the ideas about this from the local natives, Italians themselves. First, they all agreed on exactly one thing; no salt in the bread is a Tuscan thing. Further south and further north in Italy the bread has salt. So it's only Tuscan bread that tastes bland.  Who knew? The favored hypothesis is that Tuscan cured meats, their ham and their favorite salamis are pretty salty, so you just don't need salt in the bread too. The historic hypothesis says that during its many wars with other city states, coastal dwellers sought to punish/subdue Florence by withholding salt. Florence responded by basically saying "We don't need your stinking salt; we'll make our bread without it." But this is a mighty long time keep punishing yourself out of regional pride. These explanations are not incompatible except if you have no salt for bread you also have no salt for curing meat. The things you learn when you travel.

1 comment:

JaneB said...

Maybe if you are very SHORT of salt, you use what you do have to cure meat, and not in less essential things such as bread (because you can store wheat all winter without salt, but not wheat)