BBA #38: TUSCAN BREAD

Before starting the BBA Challenge I browsed the book to see what  I was getting into. Two breads seemed most intimidating: Poilane, for obvious reasons, and Tuscan, for less obvious, but still relevant reasons.   Tuscan bread is a traditional Italian loaf made without salt. Yes, that’s it, no salt whatsoever.  The idea is downright scary.  If you ever baked a bread and forgot to add the salt, then you know what I’m talking about.

As far as its looks are concerned, the Tuscan loaf did not disappoint.

The recipe required a flour paste (flour plus boiling water) that sat overnight at room temperature, and looked like this…

The flour paste was used as part of the dough on the next day, together with bread flour, olive oil, and instant yeast. The dough more than doubled in size after 2 hours at room temperature…

The crumb was tighter than I expected for a dough that rose  so well, and felt airy to the touch…

Now, for the taste….

I don’t know how to soften it, so here’s my verdict: this bread was tasteless.  I tried it with olive oil + salt, with butter + salt, and with jam, and I didn’t enjoy it either way.  On the other hand, my husband, who’s not a salt addict, actually liked the bread quite a bit in a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  His comment was that the strong flavor of the peanut butter was good with the sweetness of the bread.

Maybe in Italy the flour is different, or maybe if you grow up eating this bread you learn to love it, but the lesson I took from this recipe was “the fact that you can make a bread without salt, doesn’t mean you should” ;-)

You can read about Phyl’s take on Tuscan bread by clicking here

and for a very informative post on saltless bread, please visit Susan’s website by clicking here

Next…. Vienna bread….  I look forward to this one!  Stay tuned…

16 thoughts on “BBA #38: TUSCAN BREAD

  1. Is this supposed to be an accompaniment to salty foods? Did I dream I read that somewhere? I have never tried it, I like my salt too much…
    all the best, Joanna

  2. That does it, I’m going to add salt when I make this. I’ve also read that the others who’ve tried it didn’t like it because of the lack of salt and I’m sure I’ll feel the same way.

    Your loaf sure does look pretty though!

  3. Amanda and Zeb: thanks for stopping by…

    you are right, Zeb – this is supposed to be served with salty foods, traditionally folks like to dunk the bread in olive oil. I think tapenade is also quite popular – but maybe I like salt too much, I could not overcome how bland and tasteless the bread itself was. But, if you read Susan’s post about it, you will see she liked it quite a bit.

    Maybe Tuscan bread is just not for us… :-)

  4. Thanks for the shout out. Too bad this bread was such a disappointment. Aren’t you glad this wasn’t one of the first breads we made? I think half of us would’ve dropped out!

  5. Wow, a bread without salt?! That’s so interesting . . . maybe it’s good that I didn’t read too far ahead! I’m glad I had a warning from you, though . . . .

  6. “Maybe in Italy the flour is different”

    I had Tuscan bread in Tuscany – it was as you describe, tasteless. My understanding is that the recipe developed as a protest to a tax on salt. I can give up grapes (reference to Chavez and UFW), I will not give up salt!

  7. I am with your husband, I kinda like its sweet flavor. I had a few slices with spicy Portuguese sardines sprinkled with a few capers which are salty and sprinkled more sea salt on top. It was delicious. Buuut… I still prefer to eat salted bread.:-)

  8. Pingback: BBA#39: VIENNA BREAD « Bewitching Kitchen

  9. It’s too bad about the salt. Well, the lack thereof. The bread looked great, though. I was actually surprised that I liked this one. The olive oil definitely had a lot to do with it.

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