The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Good Tuscan bread

Ashleymeadow's picture
Ashleymeadow

Good Tuscan bread

I have tried many times to make bread that has the taste and texture of breads that I get at good restaurant (not sourdough) especially the Italian restaurants. I have tried using recipes from this sight and others, but it is just plain bread compared to really good Tuscan bread. What makes these bread better than mine?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I think you need a good no salt bread recipe served with a salty dip.  That's what makes it tease the taste buds.  Try a bread recipe that uses a poolish or long pre-ferment.  Or even combine the dough without the yeast and let it sit overnight and add the yeast the next day.  

varda's picture
varda

Hi,  I just took a stab at Tuscan bread recently and posted about it here: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/22833/tuscan-bread   It was definitely delicious but I don't know if you would find it authentic or not.  -Varda

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi,


Mini has the first part right: a good process with some complex fermentation.


The other factor has to be choice of flour.   Can you get your hands on the same type of flour used in the restaurant breads you are so fond of?


Afterall, there isn't much more to Pane Tuscano aprt from flour, water and yeast leavening of some description.   But that's the beauty of it isn't it?   Utter simplicity, yet far from easy to perfect!


Best wishes


Andy

Ashleymeadow's picture
Ashleymeadow

Thanks all of you for your tips. I have never asked what the restaurants what flour they use - good idea! I have been using a "bread" flour that is from Costco, and I have used King Arthur, although it is hard to ger here on the islands of Puget Sound. I have also made up the batch the night before (I forget what that is called) then add more flour and water the next day. It is good bread, but not too Italian.


Varda, I have have used that recipe, but I think that I will try yours. The loaf looks good.


Jerry

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

and play music from Andrea Bocelli while making the dough until it's risen and baked.   If you sing along...  well...  be careful with the magic.  


Jerry, where did you say you were?  (Open the windows if you can carry a tune.) 

Ashleymeadow's picture
Ashleymeadow

Seattle is 75 miles from the Pacific coast, but we are surrounded by sea water. The area is called the Puget Sound. I live on one of the island about 25 miles north of Seattle. Sort of romantic because it can be reached by a ferry boat, and we have lots of trees and the area stays green all year. That's because it rains all year! And, it never get warm here.


I have tried listning to Bocelli, and thinking about those golden hill of the Tucan countyside, but I think my flour know where it is at. The Northwest is not famous for its bread.


I miss Napa and Sonoma counties!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

That varies.   Try watching your barometer and when you have successful bakes see if there is some kind of correlation.  In the meantime, a salt free bread will rise lower than a salted one, it's chemistry.  You might end up adding just 1% salt.


Try beating an egg white to soft peaks and including it into the liquids before adding the flour.  You may have to reduce your liquids by the same weight as the egg reserving some of the flour to mix in when adding the egg white foam.  Add the egg white after any preferments so the raw egg is not long in the dough. You can also include the yeast at this time.  

Chuck's picture
Chuck

My experience is sometimes (certainly not always) restaurant bread is actually a "cheat" (even sometimes containing a bit of white sugar). Yes it's different than what you make at home, and yes it has the same name as an "authentic" bread  ...but no it's not actually exactly like what you'd get if you went to that place.


In any case, my own reaction whenever I want a bread to be "softer and fluffier and tastier" is more olive oil. (Also it may help to purposely use "cheap flour" that hasn't got a high gluten content [although it's still unbleached and unbromated and fine and pure]. It's all too easy at home using our best bread flour with its very high gluten content to bake something that's "too toothy".)

jcking's picture
jcking

I go along with Chuck. Some restaurants and bakeries feel free to name their breads any way they like in order to induce the customer to purchase their goods. Adding things that would cause an authenic Italian Baker to cry. With some trial and error I'm sure you could do better. Home made bread, with the care, love and attention only you can provide, is what I consider World Class.


Jim

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

So if you find it tasty in a restaurant, just plain by itself, then (like suggested) the recipe is not authentic or it is a more modern version (it could still be Tuscan or the baker could be Tuscan) which includes salt and sugar.  The real stuff is rather bland until it is dipped, topped with salty meats and aged cheeses when a normal 2% salted bread would become too salty.  Many tourists in Tuscany complain about the bread being too bland especially if they're used to eating high amounts of salt in their diets.  


Well...  it's all a matter of understanding, taste buds, and what to expect.