The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

A gift from a friend (Un regalo da un'amica)

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JoeVa's picture

A gift from a friend (Un regalo da un'amica)

Last three weeks I baked really bad bread and I know why: the flour.
Nelle ultime tre settimane ho sfornato del pane veramente brutto e so perché: la farina.

Most of the (bread) flour you can buy at the market is not so good, at least where I live (Italy). It's too strong or too weak or enhanced with ascorbic acid or made with all Canadian and US grain. So, I've seen liquified dough, super strong plastic dough, very strange dough behavior ...
La maggior parte delle farine (per pane) che si possono comprare nei negozi non sono così buone, almeno dove vivo io. O sono troppo forti o troppo deboli o migliorate con acido ascorbico o fatte totalmente con grani Canadesi e Americani. Così, ho visto impasti liquefatti, impasti molto tenaci quasi di plastica, impasti dal comportamento davvero strano ...

Last week I said - I want a decent flour. So, I asked an Italian forum (my first message) if someone could suggest me a miller or reseller of good bread flour near where I live. The first reply was from a Madam (Angela) who lives just 2 km from my home. I don't tell you all the details, but she gave me a 3 kg of Caputo Rossa flour. A flour I always wanted to try! Great!
La settimana scorsa ho detto - voglio una farina decente. Così, ho chiesto su un forum italiano (il mio primo messaggio) se qualcuno poteva suggerirmi un molino od un rivenditore di buona farina nelle mie vicinanze. La prima risposta è stata di una Signora (Angela) che vive a 2 km da casa mia. Non sto a raccontare tutti i dettagli, ma alla fine mi ha regalato 3 kg di farina Caputo Rossa. Una farina che ho sempre voluto provare! Fantastico!

Molino Caputo is a miller located in Naples, famous all over the world for pizza flour. But they mill also flour for bread, croissant, babà, sfogliate. The flour I received is the one in the red bag (00 rinforzato), a medium strength flour (W 280:300, P/L 0.5:0.6) made with a selection of high quality Italian and North American grain.
Il Molino Caputo è sito a Napoli, famoso in tutto il mondo per la sua farina per pizza. Ma macinano anche farina per pane, croissant, babà, sfogliate. La farina che ho ricevto in dono è quella nel sacco rosso (00 rinforzato), una farina di media forza (W 280:300,P/L 0.5:0.5) fatta con una selezione di grani nazionali e Nord Americani.

What should I give Angela to thank her? A million dollar question ... Bread.
Cosa avrei dovuto regalare ad Angela per ringraziarla? Domanda da un milione di dollari ... Pane.

A simple sourdough bread, with a touch of whole grain (5% rye, 5% wheat), a soft dough (65% hydration).
Un pane semplice a lievitazione naturale, con un pizzico di grano integrali (5% segale, 5% frumento) dall'impasto morbido (65% idratazione).



Yes, I cut it half, before give it to Angela, to check the quality of the crumb.
Sì, l'ho tagliato a metà, prima di darlo ad Angela, per controllare la qualità della mollica.



Bread does friend!
Il pane fa amici.


ehanner's picture

What a nice story Joe. I'm certain your friend was impressed with your results, as I am.

I'm surprised to hear that good flour is hard to find in Italy. I have read that is also true in France and it is puzzling to me. Anyway, I'm glad you found a new flour and look forward to seeing more of your results. I always enjoy seeing your posts Joe.

I made fresh noodles with Tippo-00 yesterday for the first time. I liked the results very much. It seems like a nice soft flour. I bought it for pizza but maybe I'll give it a try as you have. I think the rinforzato you have is a stronger version of what I have. I'll have to get a bag of that to try. I think NY Bakers carries both types.


Farine's picture

...than me to comment upon the flours that can be found in Italy but from what I understand from my French baking friends (and nieces), it is actually quite easy to find excellent flours to bake from in France. The trick is never to buy regular supermarket flour but to go either to a natural products store (there is a plethora of them and they offer a selection of flour and other products we can only dream of in the Northeast of the US) or to a mill (which many of my friends actually do as they have one in their vicinity).  Most if not all of the French home bakers I know use organic flours.

JoeVa's picture

I agree with you.

What I like of "home baking" is that you find a lot of friends and you can buy big bag of fresh flour (from the miller) and split with them. Definitively, no regular supermarket flour, no more.

I love the idea that, when you walk around and you see a lot of houses, there're good probabilities to find a jar of sourdough in that houses. People is going back (slowly) to the tradition of bread. They start to respect the timing of natural life, they respect the slow fermentation of sourdough and I think they're acquiring a new kind of consciousness.


JeremyCherfas's picture

Joe, your English is much better than my Italian, so I will stop there.

I have to disagree with you about buying a big bag of flour. I have not tried direct from the miller, but here in Rome even the organic and health food shops seem to have only 1 kg bags. Sometimes they have 2.5 kg bags, but that is usually of some prepared mix with lievito already included.

I have not been able to find a mill near Rome.

Also, when I ask in the shops and at the farmers' markets for 5 kg bags, they look at me as if I am mad.

The flour I buy in 1 kg bags is good, but it is a pain going our often to buy flour.


JoeVa's picture

Angela sent me a message: she loved the bread. Now she want to learn how to bake this sourdough ...

I think you do not have problems to find a good local flour is US. But the adjective good is very relative.


dmsnyder's picture

The crumb is gorgeous!

I believe that flour is made with Canadian wheat and is similar to the "bread flour" we get in the U.S.


JoeVa's picture

David, you're bringing up a critical point for me. This flour is made with a mix of Italian wheat (to give it flavor, in my opinion) and Canadian wheat (to give it a bit more strength). I worked one time only with KAF AP. I don't know if the two could be compared.

My "research" on flour brings me towards some French T80 flour (pour boulangerie). There are a lot of people here in Europe working on old and very flavored variety of grain and that's very interesting for me.


pmccool's picture

At least you know you can make excellent bread with that type of flour, Joe.  And it appears that you now have a student!

That's a very handsome loaf of bread, by the way.


P.S. I like that you put the text in both English and Italian.  It makes your post accessible to more people.

JoeVa's picture

I think she will be another student ... I'll teach a (sourdough) baking course on May. I hope to post some photos.

I wrote the post also in Italian because Angela doesn't understand English. But I think you are right, I should write also in Italian. Next post maybe ...


Shiao-Ping's picture

Apart from the French T80 flour that you are still waiting for, are you now happy with flour?  You didn't talk about the flavour.



JoeVa's picture

Yes, I'm happy. As Gérard Rubaud said, I have my white filler, and this could be elevated to a good tasting filler. You know what I'm seeking ...

The flavor. I'm not keen on flavor description. But this is a very good tasting pain au levain. The crumb is light, well developed and it melts in your mouth (creamy?) leaving you with a great crust to chew.

The day before baking I bought a white sourdough loaf from a new bakery. I saw on the door a message: "bread without yeast on Wednesday and Saturday". I stopped in front of the door and I thought. 1) without yeast? if this is a sourdough, you chose a bad expression 2) On Wednesday and Saturday ... this cycle suggest me this is sourdough. So I asked and the woman said yes, this is lievito madre. Ok, on Saturday morning (7:30 am) I went to the bakery. The smell: yes it's sourdough, it's OK. At home the first slice. I was soooo disappointed to see a super intensive mixed bread, with a cottony white crumb, I never see a crumb like that! It cannot be possible! Now I know what intensive mixing is. I wanted to go back to the bakery to ask them, what's that? You can't do that! But I didn't.

This teach me there is always room on the lower scale of bread quality, but also a lot of room on the high marks.


Rodger's picture

Ciao Giovanni,

I hope you publish your lecture notes to TFL.  Of course I would prefer attending class on site, hands-on, but that is not possible ahimè.


eliabel's picture

Ciao, Giovanni. Ho scoperto il tuo blog e le tuoi meraviglosi pani grazie à una amica russa, Mariana (aga). Anche io sono nata in Russia, in Mosca, ma ho vissuto la maggiore parte della vita in Spagna. Adesso habito a Bruxelles, ho tantissimi amici  italiani e sto imparando a fare a casa i pani italiani. Vorrei sapere si posso demandare il tuo consiglio nel caso necessario.  Comme dici tu, il pane fa amici. Magari, il pane italiano mi fa possibile di trovare una nuova amicizia et un nuovo maestro.

JoeVa's picture

Certo, chiedi pure. Puoi mandarmi un messaggio quando vuoi.


eliabel's picture

Giovanni, sei veramente gentile. Grazie mille.

Io sto imparando a lavorare con la farina di semola. Mi piaccionno tantissimo, noi piaccianno a tutti nella famiglia, i pani del Sud d'Italia.

Per mé è difficule capire quanto tempo si deve impastare l'impasto di semola per non rompere il gluten fragile di durum. Nel caso mio dopo di due o tre minuti l'impasto si amalgama (sembra che prende corda), ma non è lisso. Se continuo impastare, perde corda e tarda tantissimo in essere incordato. Ho paura di che la temperatura interna del impasto diventa troppo caldo, fermo la maquina, faccio l'autolis e dopo continuo. Ma non è facile e posso stare un sacco di tempo (20 o 30 minuti di tempo puro) impastando per la corda.

Una altra domanda è comme devo fare per sapere che il pan è lievitato è presto per essere infornato. Il pane di pasta dura di semola non cambia troppo di volume, e per me non è facile di trovare il punto giusto per infornarlo.

Giovanni, io non parlo bene l'italiano e scrivo nella questa lingua ancora peggio. Ma capire, io capisco molto bene. Puoi spieghare tutto senza pensare che stai parlando con una straniera. Grazie per la tua disponibilità ancora una volta.



JoeVa's picture

Ti ho inviato un messaggio. Continuiamo la discussione in privato.