Anyone have a recipe for true authentic Italian bread?

arkansas girl

A friend of mine was telling me that her friend makes them a loaf of Italian bread about once a month and it is his Italian grandmother's secret recipe from many years ago. They were telling me they went to Italy a couple years ago and in all the restaurants they had bread exactly like they get from their friend. Since the recipe is "secret", they don't know how to make it. Anyone know what a recipe for real authentic Italian bread would be, like they give out at Italian restaurants in ITALY?

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Jim Mat

Italy is a large country...What is an authentic American bread?

When I think of Italian Style bread, it is the bread immigrants from Italy baked in San Francisco CA.

There is a bakery in SF named Boudin...Google them, if that is what you want, there are recipes on the internet.

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WalnutCreek Zone 7b/8a

Well couldn't post these under gardenweb so will try under houzz. No matter how I shortened, kept getting the notice that there were too many characters. I haven't made either of the breads I am trying to post.

Homemade Italian Bread The Real McCoy

https://anitalianinmykitchen.com/italian-bread/

This traditional Italian Bread made with a biga is the perfect homemade bread recipe. It may take time, but it's worth every second of it.

Rosemary Molloy is a Canadian who has lived in Italy for many years. Her mother is Italian, she married to an Italian, and her Italian mother-in-law has helped her learn to cook authentic, real Italian food. She started her blog because she was finding recipes that claimed to be authentic Italian, but when she would read the recipes, found they were not at all authentic Italian. Therefore, she decided to start her blog An Italian in My Kitchen.

FOR THE BIGA

1/2 cup water (lukewarm)* (120 grams)

3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast (2.6 grams)

2 cups all purpose flour (250 grams)

FOR THE DOUGH

3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon water (lukewarm)* divided (200 grams)

2 cups all purpose flour (250 grams)

1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast (1 3/4 grams)

1 3/4 teaspoons salt (10 grams)

*lukewarm water temperature should be between 100-110F (38-43C)

FOR THE BIGA

To make the Biga - In a large bowl add the water and yeast, let sit five minutes the stir to combine.Add the flour and stir just until the flour has absorbed all the water. Do not form a dough.

Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel, place in a warm draft free area and let rise 18-20 hours.

Once the time has passed, in the bowl of the stand up mixer add the Biga and 1/4 cup + 3 1 /2 tablespoons (112 grams) water, combine with a spatula.

Add the flour, yeast, salt and the remaining water (1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon / 74 grams). Start to knead the dough for about four minutes or until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.

Move the dough to a lightly floured flat surface and knead to form a smooth dough ball.

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with tea towel and let rise for two hours.

Form the dough into a round or long loaf or even small buns whichever you prefer. Place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Cover again and let rise for two hours.

Pre-heat oven to 425F (220C). Place a pan of water on the bottom of the oven.

Make a score in the bread and bake for about 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately place on a wire rack to cool. Enjoy!

Notes

To tell if the bread is done, give it a good knock on the bottom of the loaf if it sounds hollow it is done or Insert an instant read thermometer into centre of the loaf, the temperature should read 190F (90C).

Basic Italian Bread Dough Breadsticks

https://www.whatscookinitalianstylecuisine.com/2010/05/italian-bread-dough-hoagies-heroes.html

4 1/2 cups bread flour

1 pk dry yeast dissolved in 2 cups lukewarm water

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

4 tablespoons olive oil

Mix until forms a ball, knead until smooth and elastic, add more flour if dough is sticky , this should not be dry but firm until a ball forms. Rise in a bowl covered with a wet towel, until doubled in size in warm spot, away from draft.... On a large cookie sheet that has been coated with oil or sprayed with a lighter coating, take a handful of dough for each hoagie and shape into torpedo shapes, or round rolls or two small bread loaves, which ever shape you prefer. I also use this recipe for pizza dough. Very versatile dough, just a little different directions Let rise for another 1/2 hour. Bake on 430 degrees until light brown about 20 minutes. Remove from oven. Cool. You can keep these in plastic bags for a day or freeze them. Makes a dozen depending on the size or 2 small loaves of bread.

For Breadsticks:

After making the dough, take small pieces of dough, roll into ropes in 6 inches in length. Twist them and lay on a piece of parchment paper.

Brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with oregano, garlic powder, black pepper, salt, pinch of cayenne pepper.

Bake at 400 degree hot oven until light brown.


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jerzeegirl (FL zone 9B)

I wonder if they were talking about Tuscan Bread (Pane Toscano). This is a saltless bread which was virtually the only bread you could get in Florence. It's an acquired taste which I acquired very easily.

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plllog

I was thinking what Jim and Jerzeegirl said. :) And also what WalnutCreek posted. I don't know this recipe specifically, but it reads like the basic batard that is an Italian bread similar to what we call "French" bread. A white batard of basic bread. Most parts of Europe, and some parts of the Near East, have a similar kind of basic bread that you can find everywhere.

I'll be giving WalnutCreek's recipe a try.

The reason I've been told for the salt free nature of Tuscan bread is that it's meant to be eating with very flavorful things, like tapenade, pepper paste and the like.

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arkansas girl

I wish I had more info., they went to all the touristy places to see all the famous sites. They were just commenting that their friend makes a real different type of bread and it happened to be exactly like the breads that all the restaurants gave them when they were on their trip in Italy. I know it is a white bread, not wheat. When they got home, they told their friend about it and he said "well it makes sense since that was my Grandmother's recipe and she was Italian".

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lindac92

Walnut creek's recipe will make bread like you find in every restaurant in Northern Italy and in real Italian restaurants in the uS...

Or you can forget the biga ( but that enhances the flavor) and just make bread by mixing a pound of flour with 2 tsps salt 2 2/1 tsps dry yeast.....and add 1 1/3 to 1 1/2 cups of water until it makes a stiff cough....knead....cover and rest, punch down....rise again shape and bake at 425 until done.....the time depends on the shape.

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sushipup1

The bread found in San Francisco is actually French bread, with a crispy crust like a baguette. Italian bread of the same shape has a soft crust.

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sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)

Not clear in your post if you have had this bread, the 'secret recipe'. Maybe get a picture of it text to you the crust and the crumb.(slice)

Recipes are meant to be shared. But some do that family secret thing.

The recipe above seems ok but I don't remember such a tight crumb. And the crust is much lighter than I remember. (darker, more rustic)

Sure there are many regions and breads in Italy but the basic round rustic appears in all regions. Variations depending on opinion and no culture I know of is more opinionated about bread than Italians. 😂

This article is spot on. (not a rant)

10 RULES FOR EATING BREAD IN ITALY

Link, HERE

Pic from the link.

When I was asked to pick up bread when going out, I remember being directed to a specific bakery nearby and asking for a certain 'everyday' loaf. Other types were more specifically named with specific uses like a foccacia or ciabatta, etc. I'm sure the rustic 'everyday' has a name but the memory is gone.

Do you bake breads? If not, the simple JimLahey no-knead is a good place to start. It is very close if not identical to the Roman bread.


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arkansas girl

^^^that looks yummy!^^^ No, I haven't eaten the bread. I'm going to ask her some more questions about it the next time I see her! She was telling us that she didn't like that they didn't serve bread with butter in Italy! HA! I am a novice when it comes to making/baking bread. I have probably baked a couple dozen loaves in my life!

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Jim Mat

sushi, I was born and lived in San Mateo for ~20 yrs, I knew it as French bread too, but always thought it was Italian...I remember the local bakeries in Redwood City, San Jose, and Hayward...before the EPA forced them to close....gas was cheap in those days, traffic was light...drive to the bakery, get warm breads...remember the bread truck that killed a child..bakery had no insurance?

Close to me was a bakery by the old Franks Tannery in Redwood City, Pisano?


This is the bread I ate in Italian family homes in CA.

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aziline

The Italian Baker by Carol Field is an excellent book to pick up if you are into Italian bread. (side note - the Pane alla Cioccolata baked in a pullman pan becomes a favorite of anyone I share it with) Do get one from the first printing. The cover was changed when they republished it years later. Originally published in 1985 and includes weights!

If it's a light and soft crumb loaf I'd bet it's something like her Pane di Como. I could eat this all day long slathered in butter. Like the ones above hers includes a biga. It really does make all the difference in the flavor. I shape them into free standing loaves instead of boules for simpler slicing.

https://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2012/02/the-italian-bakers-pane-di-como-bread-recipe.html

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sushipup1

Jim. I moved to SF in 1969, and was in the Bay Area and then Monterey until we moved East 4 years ago. I had always learned that French bread has the crust, Italian doesn't, but even my Sicilian friends ate French (sourdough) bread. Here in the Philly area, there's lots of Italian (soft) loaves, but I have to really search to find crusty French bread, not even sourdough, in any form but baguettes.

Not the subject of the OP, but here's a history of bread in San Francisco. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_California_bread


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WalnutCreek Zone 7b/8a

Brooke, I have always been told that "real" Italian bread does not have any kind of oil in it.

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aziline

Oil isn't typically used in hearth breads. More of a sandwich loaf/enriched dough thing.

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Louiseab Ibbotson

I’m glad I found this post. I was watching tv the other day and they were in Tuscany and making sandwiches with this flatbread that they called Tuscan. I’ve been trying to find a recipe but haven’t one that looks like wheat they had on the show. The bread was flat and then sliced in half to make the sandwiches. It appealed to me as it was a bit crusty looking on top and not very thick.

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Jim Mat

sushi, thanks for the link..in the late 70’s, many large bakeries closed, the comforting smell of baking bread contributed to smog...

I now know The bread I knew as French Bread was French not Italian, even though I first experienced it at the home of Italians.

So, maybe S.F. style French bread is American....maybe after 170 years?, not Italian. When does something become authentic?

I remember focaccia bread, we called it “pizza bread”, sold in Italian Delis.


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plllog

Louise, when you say "flat" you mean flatter more than domed, right? That is true of Tuscan bread. It's usually wider and less domed than the average batard. I haven't made it yet, but I found a recipe on Epicurious which looks good.

https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/tuscan-bread-392128

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sushipup1

We used to buy a loaf of sourdough, a chunk of jack cheese, a Gallo salami and a bottle of wine and go up to the hill in Marin overlooking the bridge, near the old concrete bunkers. Back then you could just pull over to the side of the road and park, then walk up the hill for a picnic. Someone usually had a swiss army knife to cut the salami. ;-)

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plllog

A loaf of bread, a jug of wine and though....

I had a pocket knife that wandered down to me in the family. It never quite got over the cheese and salami... It sufficed once to open a watermelon, too.

Thanks for the memories!

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Jim Mat

A middle school classmates parents were from France. We would ride our bikes from San Carlos to Redwood City, Buy a loaf of bread from the bakery thrift store. Classmate would have a can of pate from home we would spread on a “second” loaf from the thrift store.

After a while, no more pate from France, but for kids, liver wurst spread from the supermarket was close enough.

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Louiseab Ibbotson

Thanks pillow, that recipe looks perfect!

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plllog

Thanks Autocorrect for the laugh! I hope you'll report back if you use the recipe. BTW, it's three L's, no i, if that'll stun Autocorrect into silence.

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Louiseab Ibbotson

Oops, lol! I really need to proofread

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plllog

Nah! It really was a good laugh!!!

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jerzeegirl (FL zone 9B)

I tried making Tuscan bread once and it didn't taste like real Tuscan bread. I can't say exactly but I think the flour and yeast are different in Tuscan bread that we would normally use here in the US. When I researched it I think I found out that they use brewer's yeast and farina debole (weak flour - less gluten).

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