Homemade Tuscan bread is actually at the base of our culinary tradition. Bread cannot miss from any Tuscan (and Italian) table! Bread from Tuscany is the perfect element to accompany any type of dish, from meat, cheese, fish to jams and chocolate. This is because it enhances every flavor.
I often enjoy preparing it at home, especially on special occasions or on Sundays.
I’ve heard really many stories from both my grandmothers and my mother Anna about how important the preparation of the bread was; at the time she was just a little girl, during the post war period.
My mother always tells me how incredibly delicious the bread prepared by her grandmother was; and from the enthusiastic way in which she speaks, I can only imagine how wonderful and tasty it really was. The bread was made even more savory as it was cooked in old wood ovens!
Many years have passed now, but she reminds very well that special moment of the week when she helped her grandmother to make bread. I understand that was really an enjoyable and happy event!
Bread was prepared only once a week, but it was so good and genuine that it kept well for many days. Women worked all ingredients by hand on the madia or kneading trough; I’ve got one of these old and rustic piece of furniture at home, the same used by my great grandmother Elena:-)
Now I’ll show you the bread recipe I’ve learned from my mother, and although the actual Tuscan bread recipe is without any salt in it, I put just a pinch of it in my dough, as my mother does.
The traditional and authentic Tuscan Bread Recipe is totally made with no salt and requires many hours of leavening.
Note: to have a good bread you need to use only high quality products, starting from the flour, that’s extremely important!
Ingredients needed to make Bread at home
- 1000 gr (=2.205 pounds= 10 cups) of soft flour (type 0)
- 700 ml (=2.959 pounds= 3 cups) of warm water
- a pinch of salt
- 6 spoons (50 gr) (=0.110 pounds) of extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons of sugar (10 gr) to help leavening
- 14 gr of powder yeast (=4 1/2 teaspoons dry yeast)
How to make Tuscan Bread
Note: I recommend you make your bread pastry absolutely by hand!
1. First of all you need to dissolve the yeast together with the warm water; until it is completely melt. Note that the water has to be just lightly warm.
2. Put the flour in another basin and add the water with the yeast in it little by little, then add all other ingredients and work the pastry very well on a table for at least 10 minutes.
3. Put the pastry in a basin, cover it with a damp cloth and let it leaven for no less than 2 hours, in a warm area of the kitchen. Once the dough is raised (it should double its volume), you have to work it all again by using some flour, then divide it in 2 or more parts, cover again with a damp cloth and let rest for another hour.
How to cook bread in the oven?
4. Finally cook it in the oven at 230 °C (Celsius corresponding to 450 °F Fahrenheit) for about 20 minutes, and then for other 20 minutes at 200 °C (390 °F), until your bread gets of a brownish color, or according to your preferences.
My Tips to Have a Great Tuscan Bread:
- If you are going to make bread at home, never be in a hurry! It takes at least three hours in all to make the bread rise properly.
- The main feature of Tuscan bread, besides its lack of salt, is that it has to be particularly soft inside. This requires long rising times. To have a great Tuscan bread soft inside, you need to let the dough very soft, even mushy, this is the reason why the quantity of water is more in comparison to other bread recipes.
- How to have a crisp and crumbly crust? Once bread is cooked, turn off the oven and leave bread inside it for another 10 minutes so to get a crisper crust. Remove and let cool. A further tip to have a crusty bread is to put a little pan full of water in the oven and leave it there in the first cooking stage (20 minutes).
- Homemade bread keeps well also for some days, it may be a good idea to warm it up in the oven just before eating it; in case you like it warm like me 🙂
Your Tuscan bread is finally ready! The wonderful smell of your homemade bread will pervade all your home! I love it 🙂