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Tuscan Bread


hamcolvin
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I have no idea how it would compare to the bread in Tuscany, but the "Tuscan pane" they sell at Trader Joe's makes some of the best grilled-cheese sandwiches ever. During tomatoes last year, I often had a grilled sandwich of the Tuscan pane, mozzarella, prosciutto, and sliced tomato, and plan to do so again when the tomatoes start coming in.

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Wouldn't bread with no salt taste really, really, bad?
Yes! Really Really! I always eat Pane Pugliese in Toscana if I can get it. Salted!

The Tuscans don't eat salt in their because the Dukes of Tuscany, the Medici, gave the salt monopoly to their friends and allies, making salted bread expensive. So non salted bread was a cheap way to be a resistance fighter. Especially when eaten with salumi loaded with salt! :D

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The Medici explanation is a new one for me. Wonder if the Sienese stopped storing their salt under the Campo long before the duke took over.

At any rate, Tuscan or Tuscany (love that!) bread in the U.S. is not true pane toscana! It's always salted.

It's funny, but The Ovens at Quail Creek sell what they call Pugliese, something that is usually quite good, and as in Italy, sold in quarters and half loaves if you prefer. Overhead one of the young bakers describing it as a Tuscan bread, not thinking about how far 9 is from 16 since his point of reference is American.

As for the unsalted bread, you get used to it and actually appreciate it with really good butter, preserves and strong coffee at breakfast. Its defenders say it serves as a foil for the highly seasoned food served with it (to mop) or on top (chicken liver spread, for example) when it's grilled. Fine for panzanella, strata and the like.

And when you bake and forget to add the salt...

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Its defenders say it serves as a foil for the highly seasoned food served with it (to mop) or on top (chicken liver spread, for example) when it's grilled. Fine for panzanella, strata and the like.
Luckily for Tuscans, salt-less bread won’t grow mold when it dries (salt attracts moisture) and can then be used as a vehicle to absorb soups and such. Whether you endorse the Taxea Buccarum, alleged Pisa vs. Florence salt blockade or plain poverty theories, a scarce/expensive commodity is better used to preserve proteins rather than making bread. There is probably a "Connections" episode on it.
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I bought some of the Pugliese bread and it was lovely.

We just got back from Italy Tuesday night. I brought home with me some wonderful olive oil we got from the Agrotourismo we stayed at in Montepulciano. I want make the simple toasted bread, rubbed with garlic and drizzled with olive oil that we had several time there. I have a feeling this oil will not last us long.

I liked the unsalted bread, particularly with the assorted cured meats and tasty cheeses. I tend not to like a lot of salt anyway. It is not the bread I would use for everything, but I really enjoyed it.

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I have no idea how it would compare to the bread in Tuscany, but the "Tuscan pane" they sell at Trader Joe's makes some of the best grilled-cheese sandwiches ever. During tomatoes last year, I often had a grilled sandwich of the Tuscan pane, mozzarella, prosciutto, and sliced tomato, and plan to do so again when the tomatoes start coming in.
Right - the TJ "Tuscan" bread may not be the real mcCoy, but it is excellent for Pannini
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We just got back from Italy Tuesday night. I brought home with me some wonderful olive oil we got from the Agrotourismo we stayed at in Montepulciano. I want make the simple toasted bread, rubbed with garlic and drizzled with olive oil that we had several time there. I have a feeling this oil will not last us long.

I liked the unsalted bread, particularly with the assorted cured meats and tasty cheeses. I tend not to like a lot of salt anyway. It is not the bread I would use for everything, but I really enjoyed it.

Getting back from Italy soon myself (sitting in a Rome hotel at the moment, packing for a flight to Munich tomorrow morning and then on to the US the next morning).

The Tuscans have great food, but good god has the bread been bad. We didn't eat all that much salume (I know, heresy, but the pasta, etc. has been so good) but some of the bread we've had, even at excellent restaurants, was so bad it was tough to even use to mop up sauces. And yet, the bread that they use for bruschetta (and not the bread basket) has been pretty good.

Bringing back two bottles of olive oil, three bottles of balsamic, a bottle of limoncello, and as much Brunello as my suitcase will hold (which unfortunately is only about 4 bottles after clothes and such are factored in)... and shell-shocked at how much some of this stuff would cost in the US compared to what I paid after I looked it up online.

I'm sure I've drifted off-topic by now... Two of the bottles we purchased we couldn't fit so we are drinking them now :D Thankfully only Rosso di Montalcino and Sant'Animo and not Brunello :blink:

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