Thursday, December 1, 2011

La pagnotta di pane ...

La pagnotta di pane ...
The bread: man's heritage and witness of history ...

Very satisfying  when someone tells you that you can compete with the best bakeries. Beautiful appearance. Reminds me of the bread my Ciociari parents used to make. Nice compact with a crunchy crust.

The bread nourishment element and a symbol of strong local roots and identity. All breads cooked with the oven, wood burning or electrical. Bread is a food that comes from afar, when man, in order to better conserve, kneaded the flour with water to get a loaf cooked in the ember, so that in the tenth century, the monks left
testament that day of his death would be served the "panes subcinericios" bread cooked beneath the ashes.

These loaves were also used as plates on which to rest and cut other foods, saturated with sauce and gravy thrown to the poor in court banquets. The use of small loaves of bread with a crust, long remained in fashion in the most sumptuous banquets. For this reason, since the dough without yeast could produce only a little hard bread hard and scarcely digestible, the great chefs of the court were very careful to make sure their bread cooked completely, molding them very thin, the use of raising the dough with the addition of a ferment was not universally adopted in the bakery. 

The use of ovens was introduced to Europe by the Romans who had been in Egypt, despite this the oven and the leaven were used more for pastries than for bread. 

It is difficult to pinpoint the exact time in which leavened bread was adopted in Europe, in the Middle Ages it was not at all in common use. Charles du Fresne Lord of Cange, better known as Du Cange (1610 -1688) was a French historian, linguist and philologist, shall specify that at least twenty types were made during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. In his "Dictionary of the obscure words" he mentions the bread of the court, the bread of the pope, the bread of the knight, the bread of the squire, the bread of the equal, the bread of the servant and so on.

Therefore the bread varied a lot in form and quality, and consequently, for the social classes. The most famous bread was the white bread, the bread of the rich, while the bread made from barley, oats or millet was always considered coarse food which the poor made use over the years of need. It seems that barley was used as a method of punishment in the monasteries where the offense to the discipline was punished distancing the monk undisciplined from the refectory but above all by putting him on barley bread and water for a specified period.

Also the rye bread was considered of little value and was generally used by the rural population. Even if the scholar Champier Bruyerin (1600) in his "De re Cibaria" to the rye of breadmaking he attributes the quality to "preserve the beauty and freshness of women." Later, the doctors ordered the frequent use of bread made of half wheat and half rye as a means "for preserving health."

Normally mixed only in more expensive quality the salt was added to the flour until it was served and used by the wealthy class. The baking of bread for the middle class involved also soft bread made ​​with milk and butter which became fashionable at the court of the Medici (1600) where the Princess Mary, Tuscany,  found it particularly to her liking, and would not eat another.

The bread called "of table" was served to the tables of the rich, it was of large dimensions to allow the guest to remove the light crust and offer it to the ladies, to which they dipped in their soup. To the servants was cooked bread of inferior quality called "common bread".

Making bread at home is not as difficult as it sounds. Simply having the right information and being able of knowing how to choose the most suitable ingredients. The flour. It exists in different types, the most commonly used is the one of wheat.

The water which is used to dissolve the yeast and bind the mixture. The natural yeast, is used, usually by bakers. While the yeast in cubes is more commonly used for the homemade bread. This one can be leavened "directly", the yeast is added together with the other ingredients.

It is left to rise until it has doubled in volume, then joins the rest of the ingredients and proceeds to the definitive dough. There is also the baking powder, chemical, for breads which rise while cooking ...
Mondo del Gusto

Italian emigration ...