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  • Serves: 1 Servings

Pane Toscano O Pane Sciocco-Saltless Tuscan Bread

  • Recipe Submitted by on

Category: Breads

 Ingredients List

  • ----------------------------------STARTER----------------------------------
  • 1/4 ts Active dry yeast
  • 2/3 c Warm water
  • 1 1/3 c All-Purpose Flour;
  • -Unbleached


1 1/4 ts Active dry yeast
1/3 c Warm water
1 c Water; room temperature
3 3/4 c All-Purpose Flour;
1 pn Salt; Optional

From _The Italian Baker_ by Carol Field

Some cookbook authors insist a bread made without salt could only be flat
and insipid, but the Tuscans have been making this saltless bread for many
centuries. . . The big flat rounds scored in tac-tac-toe patterns or the
smaller crusty ovals of bread are sometimes rough and somewhat coarse,
sometimes more compact inside, but they are always mellow and bland.

One explanation of the saltless bread is that the Tuscans, well known for
being tightfisted, couldn't bear to pay the government salt tax and chose
instead to make bread without it. Perhaps, but gastronomes point out that
the Tuscan bread is perfectly suited to their cuisine, which is full of
strong flavors. . .

Makes 1 large _ruota_ or wheel, or 2 oval loaves.

STARTER: Stir the yeast into the water in a small bowl; let stand until
creamy, about 10 minutes. Add the flour and stir with about 100 strokes of
a wooden spoon, or stir with the paddle of an electric mixer for about 1
minute. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until tripled, 6 hours to

DOUGH: BY HAND: Stir the yeast into the warm water in a large bowl; let
stand until creamy, about 10 minutes. Add the starter and 1 cup water and
mix well, squeezing the starter between your fingers to break it up. Beat
in the flour, 1 cup at a time, and continue beating until the dough is
thoroughly mixed, about 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the salt, if desired, in
the last minutes. Turn out onto a well-floured surface and knead, using a
dough scraper to begin with, until elastic, resilient, and some- what
velvety, 8 to 10 minutes.

BY MIXER: Stir the yeast into the warm water in a small bowl; let stand
until creamy, 10 minutes. Add the dissolved yeast and 1 cup water to the
starter in a large mixer bowl and mix with the paddle. Beat in the flour
and continue beating until thoroughly mixed, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the salt,
if desired, and beat 1 more minute. Change to the dough hook and knead
until the dough is elastic, resilient, and somewhat velvety, about 4
minutes. Finish kneading by hand on a floured surface.

BY PROCESSOR: If the capacity of your food processor is 7 cups or less,
process this dough in 2 batches. Refrigerate the starter until cold. Stir
the yeast into the warm water; let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
Process the dissolved yeast, cold starter, and 1 cup cold water with the
steel blade to the consistency of lumpy pancake batter. Pour the mixture
into another container and change to the dough blade without cleaning the
bowl. Add the flour and salt, if desired, to the bowl and process with 2
or 3 pulses to sift. With the machine running, pour the starter mixture
through the feed tube as quickly as the flour can absorb it and process
until the dough gathers into a ball. Process 20 seconds longer to knead.
Don't worry if the dough never truly forms a ball, but it should hold its
shape and not ooze. Finish kneading by hand on a lightly floured surface
until elastic, resilient, and somewhat velvety.

First Rise. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and
let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

Shaping and Second Rise. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and
lightly dust the top with flour. The dough will be very moist and soft,
but don't punch it down. Flatten it with your hands and shape into a large
flat round loaf, or cut it in half and shape each half into an oval. Place
on a well-floured baking sheet or peel and gently turn the loaf over to
collect some of the flour onto its surface. Turn it again, smooth side up,
cover with a towel, and let rise until doubled, 45 minutes to 1-1/4 hours.

Baking: Thirty minutes before baking, heat the oven with a baking stone in
it to 450 degrees F. If you have shaped the dough into a single large
wheel, score a tic-tac-toe pattern on top with a razor or sharp bread
knife. Just before baking, sprinkle the stone with cornmeal and slide the
loaf into it. Bake 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 400 degrees F., and
bake 20 minutes for the smaller ovals and 25 to 30 minutes for the large
_ruota._ Cool on a rack.

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