Monday, June 11, 2007

Pane di Terni

Saturday, June 9, 2007
According to Carol Field, author of The Italian Baker, this rustic bread from Terni, a city in southern Umbria, "is in such great demand that quantities of it are rushed to Rome daily." Neither the people of Terni nor the people of Rome would recognize this as Pane di Terni, however, because I mistakenly baked it upside down.
I chose this bread not because I had a hankering for Pane di Terni; I've never heard of the bread or the city. I chose it because it calls for whole-wheat pastry flour, and I have some that I picked up for some reason or another and I wanted to use it up.
First you make a biga the night before you want the bread; the next morning, you mix the biga with water, all-purpose flour, and the pastry flour, as well as yeast and a little salt (optional because the authentic pane di Terni doesn't use salt). Then you form it into four round loaves and let it rise. Of course, I assumed that the top of the loaves was going to be the top of the bread. But then you turn it over, dimple the bottoms ot the loaves, and brush them with olive oil.
That's funny, I said to myself, usually when you dimple bread, you dimple the top. So I dimpled, oiled, and turned over. Only after they were baked did I see that actually the bottoms were supposed to become the dimpled tops. And maybe that accounts for why the bread turned out to be kind of shapeless. But, you know, it turned out to be quite good anyway, with a nice crust amd a good texture. I had some for toast the next morning, and it was excellent that way too.
We had a dinner party on Saturday with two other couples. I told Jim that I thought I'd give away two of the loaves to them if they were good. Jim told me I should let them know ahead of time to give them incentive. I said, "incentive to do what?" "To be good," he said, "you know how Doug is. He's sure to misbehave otherwise." I explained that it was a question of whether the bread was good, not the guests. And Doug did not misbehave.


pinknest said...

mmm, that DOES look like it has a nice crust! i love rustic looking breads.

Melinda said...

I was none the wiser looking at the pictures that it was not dimpled properly. I just thought,'Four loaves, she's been industrious! I bet she had a dinner party.' I was right!
Did you use your starter?

breadbasketcase said...

Pink Nest,
I love rustic-looking breads too because it really doesn't matter whether they're upside down or rightside up.

I didn't use my starter for this, but I'm keeping it going. My problem now is that I have so many different breads I want to make. And I got several new gadgets--including the banetton--for my birthday, and I want to try them all. And I want to use my starter. And I want to make homemade tortillas. Etc., etc. I think I may have to retire soon in order to have enough time to bake bread.

evil cake lady said...

like Jim, I thought you were referring to your guests being good--not the bread! of course the bread will be good!

breadbasketcase said...

Jim covered his tracks by saying the same thing--that he just assumed the bread would be good. However, I feel that I'm about due for a major disaster.

Bethany said...

So...did you use the salt?
After following your blog from almost the very beginning, I can't believe it is my curiosity about something this little that finally got me to stop lurking and leave a comment. But inquiring baker-friends want to know!

breadbasketcase said...

Your comment made me laugh--that's just the kind of thing that would nag at me. Yes, I used the salt--4 teaspoons, 1 teaspoon per loaf. I really don't like bread without salt, and since we don't have to pay a hefty salt tax, like they used to in Italy, I don't see any reason not to use it, even for tradition's sake.

Michael said...

I know I'm commenting on an old blog entry, but wanted to say thank you for your description. I just bought some pane di terni at the local bakery (south of Rome) and was trying to figure out what it was. I couldn't find a translation for terni because I didn't realize it was the name of a city.
It's... "hefty" but good. Definitely no salt. I'm eating some now with some brie spread on it.

breadbasketcase said...

Thanks for commenting. I'd completely forgotten about this bread, but now I remember that it was good. I'd like to try it again, this time getting it right side up. (And using some salt--I really don't like no-salt bread, but slathering it with brie is definitely a good idea).