January 30, 2010

Tuscan Bread: BBAC #38

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Tuscan Bread
Tuscan Bread
The Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge #38: Tuscan Bread

Making this saltless bread was not the real challenge, but looking for ways to enjoy the bread or the reasons to justify its existence was. I actually liked its natural sweet flavor but after eating 2 slices plain, I was craving for something savory to eat it with. According to Peter this bread should be eaten with rich flavorful meats and soups.

After rubbing the slices with garlic, I drizzled some olive oil, then topped it with spicy Portuguese sardines, strips of roasted sweet pepper, capers, flaked sea salt, and a few drops of sriracha sauce. It was delicious, but then the same toppings tasted way better on salted bread. Sorry but Tuscan bread just can't win. The wonderful texture and ease of preparation aren't good enough reasons to make this again.

One important thing I learned from baking Tuscan bread: now I know what bread to avoid if ever I visit Tuscany. I just saw an episode of Food Trip With Todd English on PBS where he was in an open market in Tuscany. He was offered a slice of Tuscan bread but was also told that very few people buy them because they're tasteless. The seller offered him another type of rustic bread to try. So, why do they still bake their bread without salt when it seems it is not very popular even in Tuscany? Just asking.;-)

Tuscan Bread
egg salad and inexpensive lumpfish caviar
spicy Portuguese sardines, roasted sweet red pepper, capers, hot sauce

flavor 1
texture 5
visual appeal 4
ease of preparation 5
performance 5
worth 0
Total: 20
Average: 3.3


gaaarp said...

I'm with you. This bread was the first one in the BBAC that I would call flavorless. There are some breads I didn't enjoy as much as others, but this one was just bleh.

Rosemary & Garlic said...

My husband and I were discussing the upcoming breads and I told him about the negative comments. I guess adding salt would defeat the purpose, and I have come so far. I'm thinking anchovie dip...

SallyBR said...

Ha! Now I don't even feel guilty about hating the bread! If people from Tuscany recommend a different one... that means something! :-)

Your slashing turned out perfect, though... gorgeous loaf!

oggi said...

Phyl, it's so bland, no amount of salty stuff makes it any better.

Anne Marie, I also like the idea of anchovy filets and pickled jalapenos as topping.

Sally, when I saw the episode I couldn't believe my ears when Todd translated what the girl said about the bread.:-)

Sidney said...

Salt of no salt...it looks good...especially with spicy Portuguese sardines, strips of roasted sweet peppers...

Barbara said...

I am not sure if people from Tuscany don't like this bread. In fact I eat it everyday. :) It's so good with olive oil and even better with "la finocchiona". This bread is not with salt but it's not sweet as well. Well, I would try it in Tuscany if I were you ;)
Ciao ciao

Oriana said...

hi, congrats on the bread making (of any kind that is)! there is a reason for which bread in Tuscany is not salted, simply a matter of poverty and secondly around here cheese and cured meats are very tasty so the bread actually balances out on the taste....just like yours with the sardines!
oriana tuscanycious.com

Cindy said...

Your Tuscan bread looks so wonderful. I'm so disappointed you didn't like it, but not surprised. Traditional or not, YOU NEED SALT! I am still undecided about whether or not I will cheat with this one and add salt.

oggi said...

Sidney, it's very yummy specially with the hot sauce.

Barbara, maybe the seller meant that it isn't popular with tourists like Todd and something got lost in translation. That's why I couldn't believe it when he said that.:D

Oriana, that's what Peter says in the book, that the bread should complement highly seasoned meats, stews, and the delicious Tuscan bean soup.:)

Cindy, it's bland but edible if paired with salty meats and cheeses. At least mine didn't end up in the trash.:)

misterrios said...

It's too bad your beautiful loaf was tasteless! I actually used a darker flour, and it really highlighted the olive oil flavor. Still, it left a lot to be desired, but was fabulous with other (salty) food.

oggi said...

Daniel, I actually liked the first bite but got bored with it eventually.:)

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