The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Italy

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dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

We just returned from 2 weeks in Europe, the first 10 days in Italy, traveling with one of my sisters and her husband. We then spent 4 days in Paris and one in Brussels.

I've generally found it difficult to find bad food in Italy, although it's not all wonderful. I think the best meals we had were actually at the B&B at which we stayed South of Siena. Our hostess, Laura, kept saying she was "not a professional," but the best Italian cooking is, after all, "home cooking." Laura made totally amazing tarts and breads, with butter she churned herself, for breakfast each morning, and one special dinner. The dinner included ribollita and pasta with a tomato sauce, both of which were extraordinary.

As an aside, I would recommend this B&B/Agratourismo, Il Canto del Sole, to anyone wanting to stay near Siena. The setting is beautiful, in the Sienese hill country. Our hosts, Laura and Luciano were incredibly warm and helpful. Laura's cooking was simply fabulous. The evening she cooked dinner for us, Luciano learned it was my sister's birthday and presented us with a bottle of champagne with our dinner.

The bread we had in restaurants in Italy was boring with the one exception of a very rustic sourdough that I'm pretty sure was baked in house in the wood fired oven they used for pizzas. 

Paris was an entirely different story. We had some excellent food, and the generally quality of the bread was quite good. I was able to visit 3 of the boulangeries I most wanted to visit - Phillip Gosselin (across the street from our hotel!), Eric Kayser (in Gallerie Lafayette) and Poilane on Rue Cherche Midi. 

We did not know one of Gosselin's boulangeries would be so close, but I was delighted. His is the "pain a l'ancienne" on which Reinhart based his very popular formula. We had Gosselin's "Baguette Tradition" a couple of times. It is a very rustic, thick-crusted baguette with an open, chewy crumb and a delicious flavor.

Gosselin Baguette Tradition

Gosselin Baguette Tradition crumb

Poilâne Miches

Poilâne miche crust

Poilâne miche crumb

We made a special trip to Rue Cherche Midi, arriving at Poilane at about 3 pm on a Friday afternoon. The miches were still warm from the ovens. The aroma of the little shop almost brought tears to my eyes it was so wonderful. The shop was empty of other customers to my surprise. I guess it was just a bit too early for picking up bread after work, but the breads were waiting for the evening line-up. My wife and I were offered lovely little butter cookies to nibble on while we admired the breads. I bought a quarter loaf. (They sell miche by weight.)

We bought two of Eric Kayser's breads - a mini-"Baguette Monge" and a Pain au Cereal. The former was beautiful to look at but was quite ordinary in flavor. The pain au cereals was delicious. It's a pain au levain with some whole grain (wheat, rye or, perhaps spelt) and seseme, flax, millet and poppy seeds in the dough and on the crust.

Kayser demi-baguette Monge

Demi-baguette Monge crumb

Kayser Pain aux Cereals

Pain aux Cereals crumb

We ate the Kayser breads and our miche with wonderful cheeses and tomatoes from the Gallerie Lafayette food court. The Poilane miche had a very crunchy crust and a chewy crumb. The crust was very sweet. The crumb was surprisingly sour. (This was probably no more than 3 hours out of the oven.) The flavor was wonderful - quite similar to the SFBI Miche, actually.

But "man cannot live by bread alone." There is also ....

Gelato in Florence

Pecorino in Pienza

Salumi in Bologna (at A.F. Tamburini)

Tagliatelli with Ragu in Montepulciano

Wonderful wine (Vino Nobile di Montepulciano)

A little something sweet for dessert (from Ladurée in Paris)

And, most of all, good company with which to enjoy them.

Susan, Evan and Ruth enjoying a taste of Brunello in Montalcino

Happy baking and happy travels!

David


JoeVa's picture
JoeVa

Tre mesi dal mio ultimo post, ma continuo a panificare. Oggi scrivo per aggiornarvi sull'andamento dei lavori per il nuovo forno a legna di Cascina Favaglie. Il forno è a buon punto, resta da terminare la canna fumaria, il tetto e la struttura frontale.


Three months since my last post, but I'm still baking bread. Today I write to update you about the construction of the new wood fire oven at Cascina Favaglie. The oven it's almost ok, we need to finish the flue, the roof and front structure.


     


Nel frattempo faccio qualche prova di panificazione e continuo a lavorare sui prodotti che prepareremo nei corsi di panificazione di maggio 2011. Al momento ho previsto tre corsi differenti, ognuno orientato ad uno specifico tema. I corsi si svolgeranno sabato e domenica a tempo pieno. Massimo 6-8 partecipanti. Fai una cosa, falla con calma e falla bene, questo è la mia filosofia.


Meanwhile I do some baking test and I continue to work on the products we will prepare at the bread baking courses in May '11. Currently I've planned three distinct courses, each one oriented to a specific topic. The courses will be held Saturday and Sunday, full-time. Maximum of 6 to 8 partecipants. Do one thing, take your time an do it well, this is my philosophy.


Il Punto Parco Cascina Favaglie, nonché sede di ItaliaNostra Milano Nord-Ovest è un'ottima collocazione. Le nuove strutture e la natura che le circonda creano l'ambiente ideale per questo tipo di attività. Questa mattina, dopo aver finito di cuocere il pane sono andato a fare un sopraluogo sotto un'abbondante pioggia. Queste sono alcune foto che ho fatto.


Punto Parco Cascina Favaglie, also ItaliaNostra Milano North-West section is a great location. The new accomodations and facilities, the surrounding nature create the ideal environment for this kind of activities. This morning, after my baking I went to do an inspection under a heavy rain. These are some shots I took there.


     


     


I tre corsi sono:



  • Chef: Pane Francese a Lievitazione Naturale.

  • Grani dei Paesi Freddi: Pane di Segale

  • Fuoco e Fiamme: la Pizza


The three courses are:
  • Chef: Naturally Leavened French Bread
  • Cold Grains: Sourdough Rye
  • Fire and Flames: Pizza

I primi due corsi sono basati sul mio "Pane Paesano" (un pane a lievitazione naturale di grande pezzatura con impasto morbido e mix di lieviti naturali di segale e frumento) e "Pane di Segale" (pane 100% segale integrale in cassetta). Poi c'è la pizza ... ci sto lavorando, ma non avendo un forno a legna alcune cose sono impossibili da provare, la mia massima aspirazione è la "verace napoletana" (in foto quella del bravissimo Adriano, maestro e fonte di ispirazione - foto di Paoletta), riuscirò mai a farne una così? Apparentemente sono tutti impasti relativamente semplici ma l'esperienza, i piccoli gesti fanno la differenza. Alcune foto:

The first two courses will be based on my "Pane Paesano" (naturally leavened large miche with a soft dough and wheat/rye wild yeast cultures mix) and "Pane di Segale" (sourdough rye 100% pan baked). Then we have pizza ... still working on, but since I do not have a wood fired oven a lot of things are impossible to test, my dream is the "verace napoletana" (in the shot the wonderful Adriano pizza, master baker and font of inspiration - taken by Paoletta), will I be able to bake something like that? Apparently they are all simple recipes but the experience and what looks like a small gesture will make the difference. Here some photos:

     

     

     

E dopo aver atteso un giorno ecco la mollica del pane di segale.

And after one day rest, here the rye crumb.

     

                  

The miche saranno impastate sabato e, dopo un lenta lievitazione fredda, saranno cotte l'indomani, domenica mattina. La segale sarà preparata impastata e cotta in giornata: con la segale si fa presto ... se qualcuno ti prepara la madre di segale! Entrambi saranno cotti in forno elettrico casalingo. Per la pizza si userà anche il forno a legna. In ogni corso ci sarà tempo per discutere aspetti teorici e far pratica su impasti di supporto all'apprendimento (tipicamente impasti diretti / indiretti).

The miches will be mixed on Saturday and, after a slow cold proof, they will be baked the next day, Sunday morning. The rye will be prepared, mixed and baked on one day: rye is fast .. if someone build for you the rye mother dough! Both will be baked in a domestic electric oven. For the pizza we will use also the wood fired oven. In every course there will be enough time for theory and for working on sample didactic doughs (some direct / indirect dough).

Per ultimo, ma non meno importante, va dato merito al grande lavoro di Giuseppe, Arturo (i nostri progettisti), Giancarlo (il presidente) e tutti i soci anziani di ItaliaNostra per la progettazione e supervisione dei lavori di tutto ciò che avete visto.

And least but not last, I have to thank Giuseppe, Arturo (our engineers and architects), Giancarlo (the president) and all senior members of ItaliaNostra for the great work, projects and works supervision of all you've seen.

Date uno sguardo dentro al forno!

Take a look into the oven!

     

Questo il nostro contatto.

This is our contact.

turosdolci's picture
turosdolci

Sometime ago I took a cooking course in Gargano and Chef Marco gave me a delicious family recipe that I is perfect for a luncheon with friends. 


 


http://turosdolci.wordpress.com/2009/10/31/a-recipe-from-gargano-calzone-con-cipolla/


 


turosdolci's picture
turosdolci

We always have some Italian dishes during our holidays. Whether it is Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve or Easter, there is always ravioli on our table as a first dish. We would set up an assembly line with all of us pitching in to make hundreds of them before Thanksgiving so that we could have them for Christmas also. They freeze very well, but don’t ever defrost them before cooking them, just put them into a large amount of salted boiling water directly from the freezer.


http://turosdolci.wordpress.com/2009/10/27/ricotta-ravioli-from-“the-old-country”/


turosdolci's picture
turosdolci


A friend on Foodbuzz was looking for a way to use Ficoco - fig jam with cocoa. In Italy sugar was expensive to produce so many things were made with jams or mosto cotto (grape syrup) to sweeten cakes, cookies etc. Itlians have many jam filled cookies and ficoco would be perfect for raviolo dolci, in fact figs were also used to make mosto cotto. A recipe we make during holidays, Ravioli Dolci is a great way to use different jam fillings and make your cookie different everytime.


http://turosdolci.wordpress.com/2009/10/22/ravioli-dolci-di-pulgia/ 


 



 

turosdolci's picture
turosdolci


A traditional cake/bread made at Christmas time, panettone was created in the Lombardy region and it is the undisputable holiday favorite. Scholars have traced panettone back to the middle ages. The dome shaped sweet bread is traditionally made with candied fruits, raisins and flavored with liquors. Today you can find it with chocolate chips and other ingredients. It is less like a cake then light fluffy sweet bread. The use of natural yeast results in the dough that rises slowly. The rising time can be as long as 48 hours. The long leavening contributes to the long shelf life, which can be as long as 6 months. Italian bakers take pride in the age of their leavening and some are maintained over many years.


 



 


 http://turosdolci.wordpress.com/2009/10/19/panettone-a-traditional-sweet-bread-is-a-symbol-of-christmas-greetings/


 

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