Since bread is the principle ingredient in any Italian meal, you will find that it comes literaly in all shapes, weights and flavours. To this day, the bread served in Florence and throughout Tuscany is unlike that of other regions. The large, thick-crusted oval loaves are made without salt. Flat bread, schiacciata rusks, focaccia and breadsticks are also salt free.
The Salt-free bread
The fact is that Tuscan food is highly seasoned and has always been so and the bread, which is eaten with the main course and is an essential part of the meal, provided a better balance without salt. Salt-free bread was preferable with typical Tuscan salami such as finocchiona and soprassata, which are extremely salty. The Tuscans even call the traditional air-dried Parma ham sweet prosciutto in comparison with the saltier local products. But the visitor to Tuscany is first likely to sample the bread unaccompanied by food, pulling a piece from the loaf in the bread basket of a trattoria after the first sips of young chianti.
The texture of a well-made country loaf will be rough and grainy, the crust thick and chewy, making it extremely satisfying even without the salt. Its perfectly acceptable to drizzle fruity green olive oil, from the cruet on the table, on your bread. Soups of vegetables thickened with bread are frequently served instead of pasta. Tuscans make a salad called panzanella, in which tomatoes, onions and basil, with a dressing of olive oil and wine vinegar, are mixed with bits of stale bread that have been soaked in water and carefully wrung out.
Types of Tuscan bread
It is very common to find fresh bread - baked daily - on the table in every Italian house hold. They are divided into 4 basic categories - bread without salt, bread with salt, bread with salt and olive oil and the fourth category includes everything else, even the ever famous "Ciaccia" or sometimes better known as "foccacia". Forno, Panificio and Panitteria has meaning the bakery in Italian if you want to taste a local fresh bread once you visit Tuscany.
Pan di remarino is tradionally prepared for Easter, flavored with sugar, raisins and rosemary. Usually sold near to curch however todays this bread is served all year because it is very delicious and nutritious. (Image via farmgirlfare.com). It is also common in many restaurants to find Grissini, a long very narrow bread which is extremely crunchy. (Image via blogmamma.it). Panina gialla artina is typical Easter bread near to Arezzo, added raisins, saffron, condiments and served to hallowed eggs. (Image via piattoforte.tiscali.it). Pane on l’uva typical in Lombardy, mainly prepared also Easter however In Tuscany this bread is eaten traditionally for harvest, shape is flatly and added red grapes in top of, sometimes added fresh fig as well. (Image via nonsolopiccante.it). Pane di granturco is prepared from cornflour. (Image via ilmondodiluvi.blogspot.hu). Pane con i grassetti is typical near to Garfagnana and greaves added to the dough. (Image via blog.giallozafferano.it). There is also Pane Pugliese, this is normally a large round bread, very high and fluffy with a dark brown crust. (Image via fornolabadia.com). This bread Panini di san antonio is a sweet roll, used to prepare on 17 January for religious reasons. (Image via lericettedinini.blogspot.hu). Filone is a classical un-salted Tuscan bread. (Image via paneegianduia.it). Panigaccio flat bread is baked in frying pan and served with olive oil and grated cheese. (Image via spiaggiasenzafili.it).
Schiacciatina is prepared from flour and olive oil, and this bread is salty. (Image via italiaanskokenmetantoinette.nl). Ciaccia is mentioned as bread of the poor, prepared from cornflour, the typical bread for snacking with. It is a low, flat bread made with flour, water, a little bit of salt and typically found with salt and olive oil liberally sprinkled on top right after it has come out of the oven. It is extremely flavorful and many times can be found with a variety of toppings (rosemary, olives, etc). (Image via bricolage-ricette.blogspot.hu). Schiacciata is a flat bread greased with olive oil and hinted with greaves, condiments potato or tomato, there is rich variations. This bread or the pizza-like focaccia, their dimpled surfaces often sprinkled with rosemary or other herbs, studded with garlic or decorated with a mosaic of vegetable slices of even grapes, are perfect for snacking. (Image via gustissimo.it). Whole grain breads you may want to look for Pane Panda. Donzelle is baked in olive oil, the shape regularly cut into strips. (Image via blog.giallozafferano.it). The Ciabatta, which is characterized by being very flat but it has a very light and fluffly interior - filled with lots of air bubbles and flavour dough or the Rosetta which is made up like a little rose. (Image via bimbytm5.blogspot.hu).
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