What is Italian Bread?

Have you ever become confused wondering what the difference is between Italian bread and other breads such as French bread?  Have you are wandered through the bakery asking yourself which one is the Italian bread?

You’re not alone.

The fact is, there are various shapes and sizes that Italians use when making their breads.  But traditionally, the round loaf with a crusty outside and softer inside is what is Italian.

If you go to Italy, it is most likely that if you get a sandwich you will not receive it on regular sandwich bread like you and I are familiar with.  Instead it will be served with fresh made bread from the bakery.

This round bread is commonly found not only in Italy, but also in Spain and Southern France.  It is the northern part of France where the stereotypical long baguette is from.

Italians incorporate bread with nearly all their meals.  They use it for sandwiches, soups and salads. It seems they always have it on hand.

Bread as Pizza

Bread also finds its home in what we know as pizza.  Pizza is actually a fairly general term which can be used for a pie, tart, or even a dessert.  There are many ways to eat bread Italian style.  One common way is by dipping the bread in some olive oil along with some salt and herbs.

What Kind of Breads

Italians tend to use wheat to make most of their bread, sometimes rye.  Buckwheat has its popularity more in the northern part of Italy.

Bread was often given to laborers as their lunch, along with some salami and cheese.  As I’m writing this, I have to say that sounds mighty good right now.

Easter Bread

There is another type of Italian bread which is very popular and is used during Easter.  I’ve only ever known it as Easter Bread – go figure.  I’m sure there is an official name the Italians use.  It is a sweet bread which uses anise seed and is typically accompanied by a hardboiled egg nestled in the top of the crust (still in the shell).

The Easter bread is not a quick bread and requires multiple risings, and bakes at a very low temperature for quite some time giving it its density and unique characteristics.

Panettone Bread

Another Italian bread is called Panettone bread.  And this is also a sweet bread which is a dessert and has lots of butter and is typically made by experts in the field.  I will never attempt to make this bread and instead will buy it at the store or through Amazon which carries it year round.

I am not an Italian baker, but I have made a homemade pizza.  I have also made the Easter bread which is fabulous, but I’ve never made a regular loaf of Italian bread.  So I will not give you a recipe of my own until I find one that I can make and I will share it with you at that time.

One thing that is nice is to use are modern conveniences such as a dough mixer or food processor like the Cuisinart Prep 11 Plus which has an actual dough setting.  These will save you time and make it much easier to mix and knead the dough, rather than by hand.

I hope you have found these helpful!

Let me know your Italian bread secrets, I’d love to give them a try!

Liz
SimpleItalianCooking.com

 

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