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"To read a book about a country's cuisine isn't simply to go looking for 'good things'; it is also to better know - by means of the recipes - the customs and the richness or poverty of a place, and the spirit of those who inhabit it. It is above all, to participate in the symbolic celebration of the shared repast."

~ Ginette Olivesi-Lorenzi, La Cuisine Mentonnaise

Savoring Tuscany : Recipes and Reflections on Tuscan Cooking

Savoring Tuscany : Recipes and Reflections on Tuscan Cooking (The Savoring Series)
by Lori De Mori

Part of the Savoring Series, which is one of my favorite series of books about Regional Cuisine, Savoring Tuscany is a beautiful book filled with sumptuous recipes and delectable writing about the cuisine and culture of Tuscany. As with all the books in the series, Savoring Tuscany is put together beautifully and all of the recipes are well written and presented. The recipes that we tested were all superb and the book is an excellent source for fans of Tuscan cuisine.

All text, graphics, recipes, and articles copyright Regional Recipes 2001-2010, unless otherwise attributed. Please do not reprint or distribute any of the material on this website without permission. For reprint permission, information about recipe or menu development, recipe and article submission guidelines, advertising quotes, or for information about how to get your product or book reviewed, please e-mail us. Thank you.
Pane fresco (Perfect Daily Bread)
by The Art of Cookery: Traditional Florentine and Tuscan Recipes and Wines

Learn about the traditional Tuscan art of breadmaking and make some at home with these detailed instructions and recipe.

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Pane fresco(Perfect Daily Bread)

Those days it might seem something of an anchronism to dedicate an entire section to the ancient art of bread making.

However, I thought it was a shame to ignore such an important part of our diet, not only common to every nation but also, after all, the basis of many more imaginative recipes.

1. Make sure that all the ingredients are at the temperature; they should be kept cool at around 18 C.

2. Prepare a basic yeast dough mixture as follows: pour a mound of flour onto the work surface and make a well in the centre; dissolve the yeast in some tepid water and pour into the well. Work the liquid into the flour and knead until you obtain a soft, elastic dough; leave aside.

3. Cover with a cloth and put in a dry, draught-free place to rise.

4. The dough has risen completely when it has doubled in bulk.

5. If adding spices or herbs, these should be finely chopped or powdered.

6. It is a good idea to put a shallow bowl of water beneath the bread while it is baking. This produces steam which not only helps the bread to rise but also prevents a hard crust forming immediately and perhaps even burning.

7. Bread should be eaten when it has cooled completely.

8. The bigger the loaf of bread, the better and longer it will keep.

Preparation time: 30 minutes.
Raising time for the dough: 2 hours.
Baking time: about 30 minutes.

500 plain white flour
30g dried yeast
250ml water
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
10g salt

Sadly, hardly anyone makes their own homemade bread anymore, and yet it really is good idea to try at least once in your life just for the fun of it. The feeling of pleasure and satisfaction you experience when you take your very own crispy loaf out of oven is unique and yet as old as time, indeed it is not too much to say that it is really quite moving.

To make the dough, dissolve the yeast in a large bowl with some warm water. Add the oil, salt and flour and mix together thoroughly. Turn out on to a work surface and knead well; form into a ball and leave to rise, covered, in a warm place for two hours. The bulk of the dough will increase visibly once the yeast begins to work. Once risen, put the dough on a floured work surface and divide into the shapes and sizes you desire. Bake the bread in an oven pre-heated to 200 C. The time required for baking depends on the size of the loaves you are making, but in general the bread is ready when it is an even golden-brown colour and hollow-sounding when tapped on top. Turn the oven off and leave the bread to cool with the door half open to avoid any moisture forming.

This recipe was reprinted with the gracious permission of The Art of Cookery: Traditional Florentine and Tuscan Recipes and Wines. The Art of Cookery: Traditional Florentine and Tuscan Recipes and Wines offers a wide variety of information about traditional Florentine and Tuscan cuisine, including a huge collection of fantastic recipes and basic information about this fascinating cuisine.

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