The main characteristic of Tuscan bread is being completely salt-free. In Tuscany they also call it ‘Pane Sciocco’ – Silly bread.
Bread without salt is not only the prerogative of Tuscany, they also make it in Umbria and some parts of Lazio, but as soon as you say Bread without salt the first thought goes immediately to the Tuscan bread.
It is a simple bread made with soft wheat flour, in Italy type “0”, water and brewer’s yeast.
It has a crunchy crust that can be recognized by its hazelnut color. The taste is precisely without salt but with a slightly acidulous note.
Biga is a pre-mix left to ferment for several hours (from 12 to 48) and is used in bread making. The use of Biga allows to obtain a product with great digestibility, longer storage times, but also more fragrant and a more compact crumb.
The typical traditional Tuscan bread is baked in a wood-fired oven. Since it’s salt-free, it is ideal to accompany particularly tasty foods such as hams, salami or for making Ribollita Toscana, Panzanella or Pappa al Pomodoro.
500g loaf, Preparation time 30 mins + 14 h rising, Cooking time 40 mins
- Soft wheat flour, Italian flour 0: 500 g
- Water room temperature: 300 ml
- Sugar: 1 teaspoon
- Fresh brewer’s yeast Cube – aka Baker’s Yeast: 12.5 g
- or the dried ones: 4 g
In a large bowl prepare Biga by kneading homogeneously:
100 g of flour with 50 ml of lukewarm water, 5 g of brewer’s yeast and leave it to rise by covering the bowl with a clingfilm for 12 hours.
When Biga is ready, pour it into a large bowl, add the rest of lukewarm water, flour, sugar, the rest of the yeast and kneading vigorously until you get a homogeneous, elastic, soft and non-sticky loaf of dough (add more flour if necessary). Let it rise for the second time for 1 hour again by covering the bowl with dough this time with a damp cloth.
As soon as the dough has risen for the second time, pour it on a flat surface, give it the shape of a elongated loaf and put it in a low baking tray lined with baking paper.
Now it has to rest again, thus cover it with a damp cloth and leave it to rest for 1 hour again.
Now bake to 200 C for about 40 minutes.