Feb 16, 2010

Pane di Altamura

I like the smell of bread bakeries. They're simply called "forni" here, ovens. You walk in and the aroma is intoxicating! I usually rip off a warm chunk of bread from a just-baked loaf and eat it as I walk home from the forno. The "fornaio" is the bread baker, a person usually covered in white flour, whose day is articulated by odd sleeping patterns. He bakes all night, delivers at dawn and sleeps all day.

Apart from slabs of warm pizza bianca, in my daily stop at the forno, I always buy a loaf of delicious Pane di Altamura, a regional specialty.

Image © Il Mangione

With over 300 varieties of wheat still cultivated to this day, Puglia is the Italian region with the highest biodiversity record of whole wheat production. A large choice of breads is therefore available. All the high quality breads from Puglia are however guided by the famous champion Pane di Altamura.

Altamura is a small town in the olive-clad hills of inland, central Puglia. The bread made here is unusual. It is obtained according to the ancient process employing either a basic leavening agent, like lievito madre (soudough starter yeast compound) or biga naturale, a pre-fermented starter–that add a deeper complexity to the final product–sea salt and water.
I once went on a weight loss program whose sole carb intake was constituted by thick slices of Pane di Altamura eaten on a daily basis. The diet eventually didn’t work because I doubled the dosage constantly, wolverine-style.

The crust is brown and rough, while the crumb is yellow, fluffy and deliciously sweet and savory at the same time. This particular bread lasts five days if stored properly in its paper bag the fornaio wraps it in, which makes it perfect for lazy bread consumers. Towards the last day it becomes a little chewy, but popping it in the oven will restore and exalt its original fragrance and texture.


Pane di Altamura bread is produced uniquely in its territory of origin, with wheat harvested exclusively in the vicinity of the town of Altamura. Every delicious loaf is therefore guaranteed by a DOP protected designation of origin indication. When buying your imported Altamura bread you’ll be certain of its delicious authenticity. There is infact only one genuine Pane di Altamura.



Shall I cut you a few slices for some bruschetta?














Happy Fat Tuesday, Italian Mardi Gras!!

25 comments:

  1. i will take one or two...love the smell of fresh bread...ahh...

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  2. Yummy! I love everything about fresh pane - the smell, the taste ... and there are so many varieties, it boggles the mind.

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  3. Now I'm Weight Watching Lola I can't even read your posts any more :) I look quickly at the pictures and then rush here to leave my mark.

    xx

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  4. Ah, lovely bread! I'll be giving up all flour and dairy for Lent - please don't tempt me!!!

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  5. Now that's my idea of a great loaf of bread.

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  6. I'll take a slice!! It looks like a great loaf of bread.

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  7. Yes, please, I'd love a slice or two.

    Paz

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  8. Thank you friends for stopping by for a slice!

    Brian, warm bread: a prize for the senses!
    Rinaz, I know! In Italy alone the variety in bread choice is astounding.
    FF, You and I need to have a talk about diets... I think I've found something worth trying...
    Jim, I'm giving up red meat and chocolate. So tonight (Shrove Tuesday) I'm having a steak and choc orgy!
    CC Linda, I agree, mine too!
    Paz and Theresa, I'm feeling generous, here's half a loaf!

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  9. Don't suppose you have the recipe?I'm a bit of a bread baker and this sounds wonderful .....

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  10. I'll eat half a loaf when it's fresh from our grocery store bakery....but from a real bakery? Yikes....I'd be the size of a house.

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  11. Lola - I've only just signed up with weight watchers and I'm going to devote this year to losing lots and lots.

    xx

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  12. I'm salivating at the thought of a slice of warm fresh bread!!

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  13. Hello Eleonora, thank you for commenting on my blog Frog Hollow Farm Girl - I have just started blogging (as you can tell) and feel a little overwhelmed and want to be sure that I sound sincere and blog about things that people will enjoy. I absolutely loved your Aglio, Olio & Peperoncino site - loved, loved, loved it! My dream is to live in Italy for a year - we've visited many times and have close relatives in Spadafora, Messina,Sicily. Thank you for your very wonderful site! Warm regards, Ann Marie

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  14. I'm still a big bread lover, and I know well these kinds of bread.

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  15. my bum grows a little wider every time i leave here ;)

    I have an invitation for a creative project, for you over at my place....
    Please come and visit to read and collect when you can.

    thank you
    much love
    Ribbon

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  16. Eleonora these breads make me hungry! The photography is stunning and I still love the way you describe food, not mere sustenance but artistic and sensuous experience.

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  17. Ooooh this is gorgeous! Have you heard of Kamut Khorasan Wheat? It is a pure an ancient wheat that has all kinds of nutrients and hasn't been "messed with" and our family just tried some a few weeks ago. YUM! It tastes so great and has a nice texture too. Anyway- I would love a beautiful bread like this!

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  18. Ah! This, I'm fairly sure, is the bread that I'm given when I pop into my local rosticceria, although I never knew what it was called before. It's delicious, and I ate far too much of it on Friday night.

    I've just discovered this blog thanks to Italy Tutto, and am very glad to have done so. Your photography is beautiful, and your descriptions of food ... simply mouthwatering. I intend to pop by more often!

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  19. Ah Lola, my mouth is watering!
    A bread that looks that good and lasts five days is a treasure.
    Please do cut me some slices for bruscetta.

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  20. Oh yeah, bruscetta with fresh soiced tomatoes and garlic, olive oil and Basilikum - would be perfect with my latte just today. Hugs Myriam

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  21. these post are wonderful, i lov seeing and learning new recipes and foods from around the world! Noodles r lovely...mine never look that pretty!

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  22. Gorgeous! We love the bread in Puglia and Basilicata. We always say that the further south you go, the better the bread and the better the caffe!

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  23. bella puglia i love this bread too

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