Bread is a huge part of Italy’s cuisine and a table without bread is unheard of in Italy. Italians used to add salt in their bread, but then they started making saltless bread because salt was taxed and only the state was allowed to sell it. If a family wanted to get salt, they would have to go to a separate store to purchase it. Over time, Italians became annoyed about the salt tax and they decided to boycott salt in their bread. They still used salt in other things, but they refused to add it to their bread. Now, salt is added to bread, but the only bread that is saltess is Tuscan bread.
In the past salt was an essential item to have in the home because it was a preservative that helped keep items fresh by drawing out the liquid from meat. An interesting fact is that the word “salary” comes from the word “sal” which means “salt” and back in the day people were able to pay for items with either Euros or salt.
When it comes to older generations, bread is sacred because it represents the sacred side and it’s the body of Christ. If you have stale bread you don’t throw it away. Instead, you boil it and make it into a soup. There were even some families that would make it into a bread bowl and the older the bread, the more likely it wouldn’t break. Once you were finished with the bread bowl you weren’t allowed to eat it. Instead they would give it to the poor or they would put veggies in it and boil it. Another way to get rid of old bread was to give it to neighbors who had animals and let the animals eat it.
When baking bread, people would put a cross on top of the dough before it went into the oven to help it rise as well as bless it. If a child dropped a piece of bread, he had to kiss it and eat it. The only way you were allowed to throw your bread away was if it began to mold. Otherwise it would be considered rude.
Scacciata is type of bread that is made of water, yeast, flour, olive oil, and salt and it is absolutely delicious! If you would like to try to make it for yourself (and I think you should) I have added a recipe here!
While in Casentino, we stopped for dinner at this little restaurant. It was extremely cute and they served us homemade scacciata! They had a dish of different meats and cheese, tomatoes tossed in olive oil, and other yummy treats! They even let us try making it for ourselves. They already had the dough made, so we just prepared it for the oven. Below I have shown how we prepared the dough.
- Start by taking the dough and rolling it flat.
2. Make sure that you use flour so the dough won’t stick to the rolling pin!
3. Add a little bit of olive oil to the flattened dough and brush it until it’s covering all of the dough.
4. Stick it in the oven and when it’s ready it’s time to eat!
5. Add any toppings you would like! I added tomatoes because it makes it a little sweet and it’s absolutely delicious!
*All photos taken by Le Petit Traveler