Altamura Bread: Pane di Altamura
Pane di Altamura is made in the town of Altamura, also known as “Città del Pane”, and dates back to before 37 BC. Altamura is located in the Southeast of Italy in the province of Bari, Apulia (Puglia). There are over 350 different breads recognised in Italy, which is not surprising as it is the backbone to all Italian meals and the first thing put on the table, this is one of the most famous recipes.
This bread is another of the food produces that has acquired D.O.P (Denominazione d’Origine Protetta – Protected Designation of Origin) similar to the Fontina cheese. To be able to be called Pane di Altamura, the bread requires specific water along with the regional ground semolina durum flour (semola di grano duro rimacinata).
The honey coloured crust, which must be 3mm thick or more, has a delicious crunch but is not hard like a typical crusty loaf. A normal loaf of this bread weighs approximately 500g to 1kg, but they can go up higher than this. The fascinating thing about this loaf is that it can stay fresh for around 15 days (no preservatives needed!) while still retaining it’s soft centre, taste and aroma (of course in reality it is eaten well before this time),
Although the bread can be moulded into any shape, it generally takes the form of either a “Priest’s hat” (Dialect: a cappidde de prèvete, Italian: a cappello di prete) or a taller folded style loaf (Local dialect name U Sckuanète, Italian: pane accavallato).
The loaves are baked in a wood fired oven, where the fire helps to give a pleasant fragrance to the bakery and add charm to the bread.
Another fantastic story from this town is that the locals love of their traditional food, in particular this bread, led to the closure of the McDonald’s restaurant who could no longer compete regardless of their many ways to market their food, read the longer story here.
Samira Francesca and Happy Dog Team
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