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Bread and Italy, A Perfect Pair
Although pizza, spaghetti and other pastas are normally associated with Italy, bread plays an extremely large role in the diets of most Italians. There is rarely a meal served in Italy where bread is not included. Italy and the word "bread" just seem to go together as a pair.
Although no one really knows when the first bread was baked, bread has been around for thousands of years, with proof of being produced using the stone tools and ovens of men long ago. In ancient Rome, for instance, bakers were deemed very prestigious. Bakery was not only important, but also ritual. Ovens were even built in temples. Romans were the first bakers to produce the flour to bake what is known today as "white bread". Romans were also responsible for tweaking the wheat's milling techniques. Around 100 BC, it is believed that Rome contained more than 200 commercial shops that baked and sold bread. They also established a school of baking around 100 AD.
The roots of bread in Italy go far back in time. The average Italian will consume half a pound of bread a day. All Italian bread is not the same, however. This is a common misconception - that Italian bread is only one type of bread. If you travel to various cities in Italy, you'll discover that each area has its own distinct recipe for making bread.
The vast popularity of brick ovens throughout the years has contributed a great deal to the abundance of bread in Italy. Round ovens built from brick or local stone have been around in Italy for a very long time. Unlike other nations, where individuals rarely owned full rights to use an oven, ovens in Italy were typically owned by families and were smaller in size.
Introduction by Candice Pardue
How to prepare Italian bread:
- Prepare the dough by mixing together (also with the aid of a bread a machine)
- 1 and ½ cup of warm water
- 1 and ½ tea spoon of salt
- 1 and ½ tea spoon of yeast
- 3 cups of flour
Wait about 2 hours to rise and you have your bread dough
At this point do NOT use the electric machine to cook the bread.
Since I assume most of us do not have a wood firebrick oven in t he house. The next best thing is the use of a pizza stone in a normal oven. I have my pizza stone for over 10 years and I use it to make nice crusty breads (bread does not cook well in a bread machine). Remove the bread dough from the machine. Roll it up in some flower and shape it any way you like. Cook it in the oven until done (Cooking time Depends on thickness of the bread - Cooking average is 25 minutes at 450 F) .