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Best Bread for Bruschetta - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community



I'm Peter Reinhart! Ask Me Anything! Monday, February 15, 2016 7:00-8:00 pm EST

To kick off our AMA feature, we have invited author, chef and master bread maker and host of Pizza Quest, Peter Reinhart, to be our first host! Peter will be in the Forum on Monday, February 15th, from 7:00 - 8:00 pm EST. If you are unable to be online during the live session, you can post your questions in the sticky post. Peter will answer those questions during the live session on February 15th. You can view Peter's answers to your questions as well as what happened during the live session in the session thread.

Ask Me Anything New Forum Feature

You will notice a new forum at the top of the main page called, "Ask Me Anything". This forum will be used for live one hour "Ask Me Anything" (AMA) sessions hosted by people who are knowledgeable in different areas pertaining to wood fired ovens. How it works:
- Each AMA will have a "sticky" thread where the community can post questions they would like answered during the live session. This will allow everyone to participate even if you can't be online for the live session. These questions will not be answered by the host until the live AMA; if you need an answer quickly, you should post it in the appropriate Forum area for the community to respond.
- Another thread will be posted for the live AMA. Registered users who are logged in during the live session can interact with the host by asking questions and receiving responses.
- The live thread will remain in the AMA forum to view after the session.

We hope you enjoy this new feature! Please let us know if there is a topic that you'd like to have as an AMA and we'll look for a host!

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Best Bread for Bruschetta

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  • Best Bread for Bruschetta

    Hi All -

    What is the best bread to use for Bruschetta? We've tried a bunch of different artisan breads from around Dallas, but can't find one that is just perfect...

    Any thoughts...James report in from Italy? CanuckJim??


  • #2
    Re: Best Bread for Bruschetta

    There is no doubt that Pane Toscana is perfetto per bruschette. It's made for that purpose. But, I don't think you can find it locally. It has a very dense crumb, with a moderate, traditional crust. It is pretty dry compared with a Pugliese, and there is not as developed as a hearth bread you would find in the states. It's almost crumbly. This is one of the things that non-Tuscan's enjoy talking about. Everyone who isn't from here (including non-Tuscan Italians) likes poking fun at Pane Toscana. It's pretty terrible with dinner, but it's very good with prosciutto, it's very good in a ribollita, and it makes great bruschetta.

    You need to avoid Ciabatta, and other new-age breads, which have big hole development, and a chewy texture. You want dense.

    I wonder if there is anyone who might learn to make Pane Toscana locally.

    The heritage of Pane Toscana goes back to the wars between Pisa and Florence, when Florence was cut off from the sea, and salt.

    Jim, what do you think.
    Pizza Ovens
    Outdoor Fireplaces


    • #3
      Re: Best Bread for Bruschetta

      Jay, James,

      Looked into this question a bit, and so far I've come up with a few answers and two formulas. First of all, it depends on who you read about the origins of saltless bread. Field says that it's because Tuscans were so cheap they refused to pay a government salt tax . But, the consensus seems to be that Pane Toscano was developed in part because Tuscan food is very highly spiced. They want this kind of bread to be a complement, not a star, therefore no salt. This type of bread stales quickly, but it can be revived with EVO, and it's very tasty for a salad or soup, like panzanella or ribollita. All that adds up to the perfect bread for bruschette, I think.

      Both formulas involve a simple overnight starter made with ADY, water and AP flour. The Pane Toscano dough made the next day uses more yeast, water, the starter, AP flour and a pinch of salt as an option. Pane Toscano Scuro dough uses the starter, ADY, water, a small proportion of AP flour, a majority of stone ground whole wheat flour, and no optional salt. This yields more of a typical country bread as made by "Tuscan housewives."

      It's interesting that this bread stales quickly, because it goes back to our discussion of salt. Salt is, of course, a preservative used in all sorts of things, from bread and fast foods to salt cod. Leaving it out results in accelerated staling.

      I have not tried either formula, but they are quite simple. Jay, I'll send them on to you if you like or post them in this thread if others are interested.

      From what I can see, this type of bread would like a hot hearth, around 550F, for max spring. Steaming would be a good idea, but it should be vented once the loaves show color. That would give you a thickish, chewy crust.

      I'll search around a bit more to see what I come up with.

      "Made are tools, and born are hands"--William Blake, 1757-1827