Side dishes
DIY Tuscan-style bread recipe
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Difficulty
Medium

Tuscan bread has a long history and is the basis of some popular dishes. The one we chose for you is known as bozza: the simple and round version of bread. We call it bozza when it is round, ciabatta when it is flat-oval shaped and filone when it is long and wide. This bread is best known for the fact its lack of salt and there are a variety of hypotheses that try to give an exact explanation on the reason.

Apparently the reason for this is the bitter 12th century dispute between Pisa and Florence when the coastal Republic of Pisa placed a blockade on the trade of salt to inland areas. In response to this, Florence resolved to bake bread without using salt. According to another tradition, salt was just too expensive for the Florentines, so they continued making it saltless since bread was simply too important to do without. 

Ingredients
  • 25 g (1oz) fresh yeast
  • 310 ml (1 1/4 cups) of water
  • 500 g (1lb 2 0z) bread flour
  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil 

 

Preparation

Step by step:

Put the yeast into a bowl with a pinch of sugar. Stir in the water* and leave it to ferment.

Put the flour in a large, wide bowl, or onto a work surface. Add the yeast and the oil and mix in to incorporate well.

Knead the dough for about 10 minutes, untill you have a smooth, compact elastic ball.
Add a little more flour or water if necessary.

Put the dough into a lightly floured bowl, cover with a cloth and leave it to rise in a warm place for about 1 hour and a half, or until it has doubled in size.

Dust the work surface lightly with flour.
Create and round shape loaf and place on a ligtly floured baking sheet.
Cover with a cloth and leave in a warm place for 40 minutes untill it rises. Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F).

Put the bread into the oven and bake for 40 minutes until lightly golden and crusty.

Tip*
Water must be tepid, the success of the bread largely depends on temperatures that should never be extreme.

In Tuscany you can buy “Pane Toscano DOP” (PDO Tuscan bread), recognizable by its lable. The typical character of authentic Tuscan bread is due to its natural leavening, low-temperature baking, the noteworthy sizing and, of course, the total lack of salt. Wheat, flour and yeast used for making PDO Tuscan bread come entirely from the Region of Tuscany.