The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Paesano

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JoeVa's picture
JoeVa

Paesano

Ultimamente le miche di grande pezzatura hanno trovato il mio favore. Un pane tondo, con farina semi-integrale ed impasto tenero, profilo "basso", ben cotto e lievitato naturalmente. In letteratura questo tipo di pane è spesso descritto come "il pane di una volta" tipicamente prodotto nei piccoli paesi o nelle cascine e cotto in forno a legna. In Francia potrebbe assomigliare a quello fatto nei primi del '900 a cui si è ispirato Poilane, in Italia al pane di Genzano/Lariano ed in Canada a quello riportato da James MacGuire come il tipico pane mangiato negli insediamenti europei.


Lately very large miches found my favor. A large round bread, with sifted whole wheat flour, "low" profile, well cooked and naturally raised. In literature this type of bread is often described as "the old style bread" typically produced in small villages or farms and cooked in wood fired oven. In France it might look like the one baked in the first years of '900 that inspired the famous Pain Poilane, in Italy to the bread of Genzano /Lariano and in Canada to that one reported by James MacGuire as the type of bread typically eaten by the early European settlers.


     


Le persone un pò più anziane lo descrivono così e ne ricordano nostalgicamente i sapori ed i profumi. Purtroppo non ho mai avuto il piacere di parlare con qualcuno che ricordi veramente com'era quel pane e che riesca in modo razionale a confrontarlo con quello attuale. Le persone hanno ricordi che definirei romantici o di vita quotidiana come, ad esempio, "era molto buono e profumato", "durava più di una settimana", ... provo spesso a fare domande semplici ma più precise - "dove prendevano la farina?", "usavano il lievito madre?", "come conservavano il lievito?", "come impastavano?", "che consistenza aveva la mollica?" - ma il più delle volte ottengo risposte molto vaghe.


The elderly describe it like this and they remember the flavors and aromas with nostalgia. Unfortunately I never had the pleasure of speaking with someone who really remember how it was, I mean in a rational way to be able to compare that bread to the current one. People have memories that I define romantic or daily life as, for example, "it was very good and fragrant", "it lasted more than a week", ... often I try with more precise but simple questions - "where did you buy the flour?", "did you bake with sourdough?", "how did you store the  yeast?", "what about the kneading?", "what was the consistency of the crumb?" - but most times I get very vague answers.


I nomi utilizzati per questo tipo di pane sono tanti: micone, pane di campagna, pane paesano ..., ma il pane è sempre quello.


The names used for this type of bread are many: large miche, country bread, rustuc bread ... but the bread is always the same.


Mia madre mi racconta di quando era piccola e viveva in Sicilia. Avevano una piccola attività commerciale e suo padre faceva il pane in un grande forno a legna per poi venderlo in paese. Era il "pane di una volta", molto probabilmente con le stesse caratteristiche che ho descritto, ma prodotto con farina di grano duro siciliano. Nella "casa del forno", così la chiamavano, si svolgeva la panificazione. C'era una stanza adibita alla preparazione ed un'altra per il forno. In questi locali venivano ospitati anche dei piccoli pulcini che avevano bisogno di stare al caldo (... le norme sanitarie non esistevano). Usavano il "criscenti" (crescente in italiano) ovvero del lievito madre asciutto, nient'altro che un pezzo di impasto (una pagnotta) riportata da un impasto al successivo; nessuna indicazione sulla sua conservazione.


My mother tells me when she was young and she lived in Sicily. They had a small business, his father baked in a large wood fired oven and he sold the bread in town. It was the "old style bread", most likely with the same characteristics I have described, but produced with durum wheat grown in Sicily. In the "house of the oven", it took place the baking process. There was a room used for preparation and another for the oven. In these room were also hosted small chicks who needed to warm temperature of these rooms (... no health rules, I think). They used the "criscenti" ("crescente" in Italian, it means something that rise, very close to the French word "levain") a stiff sourdough, just a piece of dough preserved day by day, I have no indication of its conservation.


Ma com'era veramente "il pane di una volta"? Probabilmente non era esattamente quello che ricordano queste persone. La memoria del gusto è a mio parere qualcosa di molto complicato e facilmente influenzabile: avete presente come sembra buona una pietanza quando si ha molta fame mentre lo è molto meno se siamo sazi? E poi il gusto cambia e può accadere che venga influenzato, anche negativamente, dai nuovi cibi. Non è difficile trovare persone ormai assuefatte da quel pane bianco, borbido e senza crosta o dal classico francesino di gomma che fanno i nostri panettieri milanesi?


But was it really "the old style bread" we are thinking about? Probably it was not exactly what these people remember. In my opinion the memory of taste is something very complicated and easily influenced by many factors: you know how everything looks good when you are very hungry but it is much less if you are full? Moreover the taste changes over the time and it can happen to be influenced by the new bad foods. It is not difficult to find people now addicted to that soft white bread without crust.


Fatto stà che la mia ricerca continua e per ora mi accontento di questo:


The fact is that my research continues and for now I'll settle with this:


     


Utilizzo farina di tipo 1 (buratto) e due lieviti liquidi su differenti farine. Questa volta ho fatto due pagnotte una con lievito su buratto + lievito su segale e l'altra con lievito su buratto + lievito su enkir. La pezzatura è di 1.4Kg di impasto e la pagnotta prodotta ha un diametro di 25-30 cm, la massima portata della mia pietra refrattaria e del mio forno elettrico!


I use italian type 1 flour and two liquid levain on different flours. This time I baked two loaves one with a wheat levain + rye levain and the other with wheat levain + enkir levain. The dough weighs 1.4Kg and the baked miche has a diameter of 25-30 cm, the maximum capacity of my stone and my oven!


     


     


Lavorare in ciotola con questo impasto è molto bello soprattutto grazie alla consistenza morbida della pasta (idratazione del 75%). Non tutti riescono a gestire correttamente questo tipo di pasta. Bisogna essere gentili e non stressare il glutine, il modo migliore è utilizzare un impastamento breve e delle piegature. Anche la formatura può risultare un pò difficoltosa vista la consistenza e il peso dei pezzi, mano decisa ma leggera. Poi non parliamo dell'infornamento, sono costretto ad estrarre dal forno la pietra refrattaria su cui ribaldo la pagnotta, in questa fase il margine d'errore è minimo e basta poco che combinare un disastro.


Working in a bowl with this dough is very nice especially with the soft texture of the dough (about 75% hydration). You should be gentle and do not stress the gluten network, the best way is to use a short kneading and folding. Even the shaping can be a little difficult given the texture and the weight of the pieces, firm but gentle handling. Then the baking, I have to take out of the oven the hot baking stone and flip over the loaf, at this stage the range of error is minimal and it is really easy to make a mess.


Se l'impasto è condotto bene la mollica dovrebbe essere perfettamente fermentata:


If the dough was well treated the crumb should be perfectly fermented:


           


Visto che ho parlato di pane paesano, cascine e forni a legna, forse è il caso di concludere rivelandovi cos'è quella struttura in mattoni che si intravede dietro la mia foto personale: il forno di Cascina Croce, un piccolo paese a due passi da casa mia, restaurato nel 2001 da ItaliaNostra sezione Milano NordOvest. Sicuramente, un giorno vi racconterò qualcosa di più su questo forno ...


Since I spoke of country miche, farms and wood fired ovens, perhaps it is appropriate to conclude revailing what is the brick structure that can be glimpsed behind my personal picture: the wood fired oven of Cascina Croce, a small town not far from my house, it was restored in 2001 by ItaliaNostra Milano NordOvest section. Surely, one day I will tell you more about this oven ...


     


            


Giovanni

Comments

arlo's picture
arlo

What a story! What a loaf of bread! And what an oven! Thank you for sharing this great slice of history and love for bread.


The use of those different levains sounds like you ended up with a very intricate tasting recipe. Having read your other posts as well, I am rather jealous of your abilities in the kitchen I must say.


Thanks again for sharing!

Mebake's picture
Mebake

As you always had us a customed to, this is one spectacular crsut and crumb Giovani!


Very inspiring singht into the old bread of Europe. Thanks for posting this, and take care with your hot stone, a stone burn is irreversible.


khalid

Flo Makanai's picture
Flo Makanai

Stunning loaves, really, and a beautiful post Giovanni!


I'd love to use one of your pictures on tomorrow's "Weekly Bread", on www.votrepain.com, with a link toward your post, so that other bread lovers will be able to enjoy your work.


Would that be OK with you?


Encore bravo!


Flo

JoeVa's picture
JoeVa

Ciao Flo. Sure, it's ok.


Giovanni

Flo Makanai's picture
Flo Makanai

Thanks :-)

louie brown's picture
louie brown

Beautiful work. Could you please elaborate on removing the hot stones from the oven and flipping the loaf over? Thanks.

JoeVa's picture
JoeVa

The loaf is so big (and large) that I have no room to transfer the dough onto the peel and slide it over the stone into the oven. So I remove the hot stone from the oven, place it on the table (not in direct contact, it will burn the surface) grab the proofing basket with the dough and with a fast move flip it over the stone. Then, slash the dough, place the stuff back in the oven and turn on the steaming apparatus. If you are organized this doesn't take to much time, about 30 seconds.


PS: this is my stone: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/18203/nuovo-forno#comment-121015.


Giovanni


 

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

Absolutely beautiful!  You are becoming a master of the miche!


Paul

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

And a wonderful write up.


David

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Thank you for sharing about your family, so very interesting.  I enjoyed reading your post and the photos, very much, the WFO is beautiful and your loaves are gorgeous all around!


It's interesting to me to see the flue the way it's made on this type of oven, with fire inside, rather than underneath as some bread ovens are made, the hugh brick wall, harth area I think you might call it, is so large with wall of bricks, just beautiful...the loaves are beautiful baking inside.


I have seen and enjoyed very much some of the wonderful old photos of the hugh loaves.  I can see where they would last a family a week.  I was thinking too, that the ovens were shared by the locals and putting one large loaf in per family probably made better use of space in the ovens for all to be able to bake their breads. It is tempting and fun to think of making such hugh breads..A few would fit nicely inside my WFO...I would have to send a piece to all my neighbors from such hugh loaves.  I have been checking on getting a large wooden paddle for baguettes, something with about a 32" paddle section, they would work for miche, mine are wide enough but need to be much longer on the paddle section..the handles, some are short some are very long, some are metal some are wood...my paddles are really more designed for pizza and regular sized breads.  Your beautiful miche has given me the push to add another paddle to my growing collection of oven paddles.


Sylvia

JoeVa's picture
JoeVa

I think you will like to read these:


http://www.italianostramilano-nordovest.org/forno_cascina_croce.htm


http://www.italianostramilano-nordovest.org/forno_cascina_croce_restauro.htm


This is what I have reported on ItaliaNostra web site about the oven restoration and current usage. It is fired two times per year and we bake bread and focaccia.


It is a great oven wisely restored by our master surveyor Giuseppe. It's a piece of art, with a great thermal mass, and a 2 x 2.2 meters internal surface. It needs 4 / 5 days pre-heating ...


Yes it is a direct fired oven (a "Roman" oven) and compared with a French style gueulard oven it's more challenging in the firing process.


Till now I didn't bake my sourdough in this oven, we always used a big batch of white yeasted direct dough (did you understand I do not like it?) prepared by a bakery for us. But that is what we do and I couldn't change this because the bread is sold and I could not plan a failure. Every baking use about 40/45 Kg of dough (65 loaf of 700g each one) and we do from 2 to 4 baking in sequence, with some pause to give it a little firing if needed.


But I have in my short term plans a sourdough baking session in a smaller wood fired oven (also this one is direct fired). This is a new one we have close to our section and it's smaller. I think it should be full with 18-20 kg of dough and this is something I can easily (I think) work with by hand, from levain building, to mixing and shaping and baking.


... hope to bake and write about this as soon as possible! And if any of you is near Milano I will be happy to show these ovens and other interesting things.


Giovanni

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

What a project to undertake.  Giuseppe is a master oven builder, what beautiful restoration.  Though I only speak English...the pictures say a lot.  Thank you for sharing all.


Sylvia

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

the smiley face on the glass oven door : )

JoeVa's picture
JoeVa

The smiley face was drawn with a finger, the door is made with metal not glass.


Giovanni

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

I thought that unusual a glass door with a finger drawn smiley face.  It appears in the photo, looking at the loaves baking, that I'm looking through a glass door..so I thought the door was some sort of a heat resist glass door..makes sense, I've never seen a glass door on a wfo.


Sylvia

JoeVa's picture
JoeVa

If you look at the first photo you can see the metal door opened (with the smile drawn in the internal side) and a wood insulated door applied with a small glass in the upper side. This one is used for baking, it closes very well and you can see what's going inside, it has a light bulb inside. Another piece of art of our engineers!


Giovanni

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

the viewing window...that is a very nice door!


Sylvia

ananda's picture
ananda

Ciao Giovanni,


I've been away a few days, and it is a joy to come back to read of your latest ventures.


Best wishes


Andy

wally's picture
wally

Everything about them.  Crust, crumb and scoring.  And you story too!


Larry