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…