Italy is not only known for its many different kinds of pasta and other delectable dishes, but it is also a big producer of bread. Bread is often served with Italian meals in restaurants, or just as a snack in bakeries, and there is no shortage of options.
There are ten popular types of Italian bread found in many restaurants and bakeries:
Typically made from wheat flour, water, salt, olive oil, and yeast, ciabatta is a flat, elongated bread. It was created in 1982, and the word itself literally means “slipper” in Italian. It is said that the creation of this Italian bread was intended to rival the popularity of baguettes in France.
These types of Italian bread are eaten in many ways, including dipped or drizzled in olive oil, or dipped in pasta sauce. They can also be used as bread for a panini filled with Italian meats and cheeses.
These types of Italian bread are basically flatbread baked in the oven that closely resembles pizza dough. Focaccia often accompanies a meal, or is used to make paninis. It is typically made of a high-gluten flour, water, salt, yeast, and olive oil.
3. Focaccia al rosmarino
This style of focaccia bread has rosemary in it, and is often eaten as an appetizer, snack, or is used as table bread with a meal. It is made differently in may different regions, and can even be made as a sweet, rather than savoury, bread. Although there are many variations of focaccia bread, focaccia al rosmarino is one of the most common.
Friselle, known locally as Friseddhre, is a twice-baked, ring-shaped bread which are a specialty of the Puglia region of Italy. To eat it, the bread is dipped in cold water, pressed to remove excess water, and then topped with olive oil, tomatoes, capers, oregano, salt, and pepper. The bread itself is most often made with durum flour.
5. Pane Laterza
A traditional type of Italian bread of the southeastern municipality of Laterza, pane Laterza is most commonly made with durum flour, water, salt, and sourdough. A characteristic of this bread is the brown, crispy outer crust, which contrasts with the soft, white inside.
Ciambella could actually be considered more of a cake than a bread, although it does come in both savoury and sweet flavours. Typically it is made with eggs, sugar, butter, baking powder, lemon zest, flour, and milk. Just as most Italian dishes are regionalized, ciambella is no different. Many different regions have listed a variety of ciambella as a traditional dish.
7. Pane di Matera
Literally bread of Matera, this type of Italian bread has become famous throughout Italy due to its very distinctive taste and scent. There are some very peculiar characteristics of pane di Matera. A proper loaf is conical in shape, and it must weigh between one and two kilograms.
It must be made up of at least 20 per cent yeast, and have a thick, dark, crispy outer crust, but be soft and salty on the inside. This is one dish that does not have a bunch of varieties. Due to the regulations, proper or traditional Pane di Matera is all made quite the same.
Piadina is a simple flatbread made of flour, lard or olive oil, water and salt. It is a tradition of and is most common in the Emilia-Romagna region. It is commonly sold like a crepe might be sold in France – freshly made and filled with meats and cheeses or jams and other sweet fillings.
9. Coppia ferrarese
This bread is a twisted X-shaped bread that is common in the Emilia-Romagna region. Generally, this bread is made of white flour, pork lard, olive oil, natural yeast beer, natural leaven, and water. It is a protected traditional bread, and therefore there are rules that exist in order for it to be considered a “real” coppia ferrarese. Specifically, no baking additives can be used.
This is a festive loaf, often enjoyed at Christmas and New Year, and is a sweet bread made with candied fruit and raisins. It originated in Milan, but is now enjoyed in many countries around the world.
Typically, the loaf is cylindrical in shape, being not too big around, but rather tall – about 12 to 15 centimetres. It can be made into other shapes as well, though, including octagons or stars. Panettone takes several days to make, due to the long dough curing process.