Tuscan Bread (Pane Toscano)

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Tuscan Bread (Pane Toscano)

star rating (13) rate this recipe »
Published prior to 2008

This traditional Tuscan bread is as simple as bread can be: it's just yeast, water and flour mixed together, kneaded, shaped and baked. Salt is the missing element here. Because Tuscans often eat their bread with very spicy main dishes, or top it with salty, strong-flavored meats or cheeses, it is very bland tasting by itself, so as not to interfere with other tastes it's teamed with. Unless you're on a salt-free diet and are used to saltless food, this bread probably won't taste very appealing to you, if eaten by itself. But pair it with a salty prosciutto or a strong Parmesan cheese; or broil it, then spread with olive oil and crushed garlic; or eat it with a savory stew, and you'll see why Tuscans have baked and loved their saltless bread for many centuries.

Sponge
1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
2/3 cup lukewarm (110°F) water
1 1/3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

Dough
1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/3 cup warm water
1 cup room-temperature water
3 3/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

Make the sponge the night before you want to make bread. Stir the 1/4 teaspoon yeast into the 2/3 cup warm water. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add the 1 1/3 cups flour and mix well. Cover and let stand at room temperature overnight.

The next day, stir the 1 1/4 teaspoons yeast into the 1/3 cup warm water. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add the sponge and 1 cup of water. Mix well. Beat in the flour until dough is stiff enough to knead. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Place the dough in a well-greased bowl, turning to coat all sides, cover and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface without punching it down or handling it roughly. Gently form it into a large, round loaf by pulling all the edges underneath, gathering them and squeezing them together, leaving the top smooth. If you have a baking stone, place the loaf on a sheet of parchment paper; if you're using a pan, sprinkle some cornmeal on the bottom of the pan, and place loaf on it. Cover with a towel, and set aside to rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Slash the top of the bread in a tic-tac-toe pattern. If you're using a baking stone, use a peel to transfer the loaf, parchment paper and all, to the stone in the oven. Otherwise, put the pan of bread into the oven. Bake for 15 minutes, misting bread with water from a spray bottle three times during the 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 400°F and bake 25 to 30 minutes longer. Makes 1 large loaf of bread.

Reviews

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  • star rating 04/17/2015
  • Pua from Lahaina
  • Needing a no-salt bread recipe, I tried this as it is the only one on the KAF site. Interesting. The dough is a batter. I don't see how it would become a free-form loaf. I weighed the ingredients then added an ounce of flourvas it was kneading in the mixer.. I was afraid to add more. The dough rose fast in an extremely well greased bowl. I decided that since I didn't want a huge pancake, I needed to find some support for it. I lined a crock with parchment ala the no-knead bread and dumped the whole mess in for the second rise. I then baked it at 425 degrees for 15 minutes with the lid on for moisture, then I took the lid off for the final 25 minutes. I did not adjust the temperature. It came out nicely browned and cooked in the center (205 degrees.) The bottom was also nicely browned. I wound up flipping it over so that the bottom side was featured as the top was rather dented looking. (I couldnt score it as that would have been useless in the batter.) It came out airy and quite good. My no-salt eating spouse was impressed. Next time I will use olive oil since the only flavor comes from the yeast. More no-salt bread recipes would be appreciated.
    We're glad this bread turned out for you, but it does sound like your dough was wetter than it should have been. Please call our Baker's Hotline for help troubleshooting this recipe: 855-371-2253. Barb@KAF
  • star rating 02/17/2015
  • wmpottsjr from KAF Community
  • Excellent! The loaf weighed 845 g so that is about fifteen 2 oz servings. It includes a tbsp of olive oil to coat the bowl, otherwise it is as written. Each serving: 142 cal, 1 g total fat, 1 g monounsat fat, 1 mg sodium, 61 mg potassium, 29 g tot carb, 1 g fiber, 1 g sugar, and 4 g protein. I am a heart patient and must make my own sodium free bread. This is good tasting and has a good crust.
  • star rating 01/13/2015
  • Mary from Charleston, WV
  • This was perfect. It made a HUGE boule. The crust was crisp and crackly with a soft, plush interior. I actually called the Baker's Hotline and chatted with someone because I was worried that the dough was somewhat sticky and I added an extra cup of total flour as I kneaded the dough in my stand mixer. All of my worry was for no reason at all. I wish I could attach a photo of my gorgeous bread.
    That is great news! You may send us a picture to customercare(at)kingarthurflour. Elisabeth@KAF
  • star rating 10/29/2014
  • Janet from Salem, VA
  • This recipe turned out a little better than I expected. I still have a problem of the dough spreading while it's rising making for a flatter shaped loaf. Taste and texture is good and I will keep working with this recipe to try to correct the problem I've been having.
  • star rating 03/28/2014
  • KaliLaren from KAF Community
  • I really like this bread because as the recipe suggests, its easy to pair it with many different things. I've made it twice so far and its my favorite recipe. The salt-less quality was a little different at first but is something I rather enjoy now, and this makes a delicious, hearty bread. :)
  • star rating 02/14/2014
  • CarloD from Stoney Creek, Ontario Canada
  • Made a traditional Tuscan loaf just like I remember from Italy.
  • star rating 11/16/2013
  • quinn from big sky, montana
  • Easy to make, one of the better rustic italian breads on the web. I add salt, because lets face it... salt makes everything taste better. So what if its not "Tuscan". Add rosemary for some flava. Double the recipe and bake as one massive loaf to make deli style sandwiches. Smells like an italian grandmas house. Really just great dimensions for great bread. Speed up your sponge in a pinch by putting it in pyrex in a warm (not hot) oven.
  • star rating 12/05/2011
  • serafinadellarosa from KAF Community
  • Just got back to the USa after 7 years in Tuscany. Finally broke down and made the real thing and was not disappointed. a little bit of a denser crumb but really delicious. Sliced it and drizzled some olive oil and a sprinkle of salt on one slice and toasted another and rubbed with garlic, oo and sale. And poured some vino rosso. BUONO! I enjoyed everything about making and eating the bread.
  • star rating 01/28/2011
  • SpokaneLinda from KAF Community
  • This worked great for me! We are on a no salt, no sugar, no fat diet for another 6 months to get DH blood pressure and diebeties under control. The one problem I had was going with out bread! This one works and it taste great! Holds up to a sandwich filling without falling apart. We have been off salt for a while now so our taste buds have adjusted and we did not miss the salt at all in this recipe. I did add 2 T of flax just because I had them. (Yes, they are approved even with the oil) I did have a problem with the amount of flour however. I had to add almost 1 extra cup just to get any shape at all. Thank you so much again for this. I feel we can change our diet and not give up everything we love!
  • star rating 11/30/2010
  • sue b from KAF Community
  • This is every thing a good artisan bread should be. Crispy, chewy crust, tender flavorful inside. The recipe calls for too much flour. I reduced the amount of flour in the sponge to no more than 1 cup. I also reduced the amount of flour for the dough to about 3 cups and added 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of salt for added flavor. Left overs makes excellent croutons. I will never buy artisan bread at the bakery again. I've been searching for years to find a recipe like this one. It is now my standard when ever I make bread.
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