There are many things we miss about Italy when we are in the States (just as there are things we miss about the States when in Italy). Aside from missing friends, a lot of our pangs for Italy have to do with food, especially bread. Good bread is available here, but it is quite expensive. At home in Italy we routinely visit one of two bakeries for our daily loaf, as well as for assorted pizza treats, and sweeties to accompany tea.
The first bakery we fell in love with in Rapallo is called Paneficio Campo (Via Trieste) and is owned and operated by Nino and Maddallena and their three daughters. They are originally from Calabria, and are true artists with their rustic loaves. The Captain, who has spent no small amount of time on his bread recipes, has dubbed Nino a Genius.
Our ‘local’ bakery,Panificio Schenone Giorgio on Via Betti, is closer to our house, and makes killer pizzette, which are excellent for a before dinner treat. They also make very nice ciabatta, the shoe-shaped loaf which originated in Liguria, but which is now common throughout the boot. We don’t know the proprietors, but it is clearly a family operation.
What to do about bread while in America? Easy! We make our own. Last year we discovered the wonderful La Cloche Covered Baker, a domed ceramic baking pot which we bought from King Arthur Flour. (You can see from the photo above it’s received a lot of use).
How’s the bread that’s cooked in La Cloche? Fantastic!
The loaf above was made from a very simple bread recipe (with a surprise ingredient) developed and given to us by Sherri Harris, about whom you’ve previously read in these pages. The recipe is over on the right, called ‘No-Knead Bread (Almost).‘ Also on the right is another recipe which was sent along with the cloche by King Arthur (himself! really!!): ‘Rustic Hearth Bread.’
Making your own bread is such a pleasure. If one didn’t want the expense of the cloche there is surely something one could substitute: perhaps a heat-proof bowl upside down on a tile-lined baking sheets? The house smells wonderful during and after bread-baking, and nothing tastes better than a warm slab of fresh bread with a lot of butter on top. Oh yum!