On every Tuscan table, is the bread basket. Slices of plain white, saltless bread is a tradition here. The reason behind the lack of salt is rumored to be because of an imposed tax centuries ago, but has grown to be appreciated by locals who prefer it to saltier versions. Best eaten fresh, you can make your own at home this winter with our recipe. The importance is the crust, and in order to do it right, you need to allow the bread to have two risings then bake it on a hearth where it rises again. If you have no hearth, just use an oven pan with parchment paper.
To make the dough, prepare 1 1/4 cups of lukewarm water and six cups of all purpose flour. For the sponge itself, you will need 1 ounce compressed fresh yeast, 1/4 cup lukewarm water 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon all purpose flour.
Then you’ll want to dissolve the yeast in the water in a small bowl, stirring with a spoon, them take the half cup of flours in a big bowl, add the dissolved yeast and mix with a spoon until all the flour is mixed completely and a small ball of dough is formed.
Sprinkle more flour then you’ll need to leave it to rest, lay a clean dish towel over it and place in a warmer spot for about an hour, and the dough has doubled in size.
Then pour the six cups of flour on a clean work surface and make a little well in the middle, take your sponge and put it in the well and add 1/2 cup of lukewarm water mix the water and sponge together.
Add more water and start mixing in the flour around the well, slowly. You’ll want to keep doing this until almost all flour is added, then start kneading the dough using the palms of your hands. The dough should then be smooth but it will probably take 25 minutes. You don’t want the dough to be sticky so add a bit of flour to get the right consistency.
Shape the dough into a round loaf and place on a floured dish towel, which you will wrap around it. Keep it in a warm spot for another hour like previously.
Turn your oven to 200 degrees (Celsius) and put it in the bricks or tiles in the oven, leave for 50 minutes. Place on a cooking rack for a few hours before eating.
Perfect for everyday, or even drizzled with our extra-virgin olive oil and salt.
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