From mother to daughter the Italian art of baking bread

May I introduce you to Maria, a lady from the region of Calabria, who is my friend’s mum. She, like many women in the country (especially in the south) makes her own pasta, bread, pizza and lots more. A hard working generation of women who I will never be tired of saying I admire very much. These days with our busy lives we are losing these skills which is a shame as food cooked in a hurry (or worse ready-made) cannot taste the same as slow cooked food.

Making bread in calabria

Making bread in calabria

Learning how to feed a family is a skill and a passion that is passed down the generations. No book  can teach you how your mother would, this is mainly because the passion, love and experiences of the person making the food all go into the food itself. Cooking is not simply making food, cooking is passion and wanting to give something about yourself to the people you love.

stone oven for bread baking

There are so many different types of bread in Italy. Every region has its own speciality.

Sicily has the unique “Pan Forte” with sesame seeds whereas in Calabria there is “Pitta” (like the one in the photograph), which is a bread made with flour or durum wheat, natural yeast and water and has a hole in the middle.

 Making bread in calabria

In Sardegna there is the unique “Pan Carasau” which is made with durum wheat and natural yeast. The dough is flattened, then cooked until it swells. When it is cooked, it is divided and then cooked again.

In Tuscany “Pan Toscano” is made with durum wheat has the typical cross in the middle.

In Emilia Romagna the “Piadina” is a flat bread made with flour, water and salt and cooked in a terracotta dish straight onto the fire whereas in Trentino Alto Adige you can find “Pane di Segale” which is rye sour bread. Brown or cereal bread is more typical of northern regions.

The well known “Ciabatta”, or literally slipper, because of its shape, has its origins in Liguria and it is popular all over Italy and abroad.

In Piemonte the “Mica” is a salty bread which has been left to rise for a whole night.

There are still many more types of breads, all different and all interesting, I still haven’t managed to try them all myself. Every time I visit the regions there is always something new, it is a never ending discovery of flavours.

freshly baked bread and pizza al metro

Maria’s home made bread and pizza..plenty to feed the family!

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29 Responses to From mother to daughter the Italian art of baking bread

  1. Sarah Scott

    Beautiful post Alida, and how true – cooking is about wanting to give something of yourself. I lost you for a while there, stopped getting my updates when you changed your blog. I’m all signed up again. 🙂

  2. canelakitchenGloria

    I love this post and love how she cook is awesome and lov ethe oven here many women still have these type of oven and I love how she cook in the empanadas and bread love thsese Alidam thanks by sharing!

  3. My Little Italian Kitchen

    Thank you Rita. In the south of Italy they know how to keep their traditions even more I think. I am pleased you like the post 🙂

  4. Our Growing Paynes

    Sigh, I need to go back to Italy. 🙂 Homemade bread and pizza is hard to beat. Thanks for posting about the wonderful bread traditions!

    • My Little Italian Kitchen

      Yes, nothing can taste better than freshly baked bread!

      • Our Growing Paynes

        We rarely buy bread. We just make it at home. Tastes better and it’s cheaper.

      • My Little Italian Kitchen

        I agree 😉

  5. Unwind Cooking | CA Realtor

    I’ve always wanted to visit Italy … this is precious indeed.

  6. Olga Lopez

    Wow what a very yummy bread.

  7. Linda

    Wow, that is awesome. Look at all of that bread. Now, I really want to go Italy.

  8. rsmacaalay

    Wow thats what you call a proper bread, made and baked traditionally

  9. Maria @ Feisty Tapas

    We have the same type of woman in Spain too, when I think back now I have no idea how these women I met during my childhood managed to fit so much into their days and not ever look like it was a struggle, many of them worked the land from the early hours on top of everything else! I guess it’s what they grew up with and so it was part of who they were

  10. Ciabatta is my favorite bread and now after seeing your mums heart warming face and hard work behind this.. I will adore it even more.. bless her heart she is up to her ears in flour of the love and art in her… I love this post BRAVA! Xo Claudia

  11. lory b

    Che meraviglia questo post!!!! Profumo di casa e di tradizione!!!
    Siamo sempre di corsa e non ricordiamo più l’amore e la dedizione che mettevano le nostre nonne per portare in tavola cibi sani e gustosi!!!!
    Bravissima e complimenti alla Signora Maria!!!!!
    Un bacione e felice giornata!!!!

  12. Mich - Piece of Cake

    I am amazed at how talented your mother’s friend is at baking bread… I would have loved to try all of the different types of Italian breads.

  13. Ozlem's Turkish Table

    Oh, what a lovely post; and so true, how important to pass on these wonderful, precious traditions to the next generation; loved your post and the photos!

  14. Ombretta

    Mamma mia che bontà tutti quei lievitati:)

  15. la cucina di Molly

    Ma che brava questa signora Maria! è vero in Italia ogni regione ha una specialità di pane e molto buoni! Bel post, grazie per averlo condiviso! Ciao

  16. Balvinder

    love this post and very true, cooking is passion and cooking for your family is just a way of showing your love.

  17. Zoe

    Maria is such a fascinating baker! She is like a human machine baking so many bread.

  18. unikorna

    What a fantastic post, says the journalist in me, Alida. I love making bread, and I know what a huge difference is to bake bread in one of those fantastic ovens. Congrats to your mom’s friend Maria and to the beautiful writer of this post :).

  19. Elly

    Ci hai regalato un bellissimo post!! E’ vero, regione che vai, pane che trovi. Anche noi non li conosciamo tutti. Fare il pane in casa è una vecchia tradizione che ancora nelle campagne viene portata avanti. Noi foodblogger ogni tanto ci proviamo a farne uno!! A Roma ci sono le rosette (che ho provato a fare e ho postato) e le ciriole, che però non si trovano più come quelle di una volta. Un giorno proverò a rifarle!! Complimenti Alida. E complimenti all’amica di tua madre che ha sfornato pane e pizza eccezionali!!!

    • My Little Italian Kitchen

      grazie Elly. Adoro le rosette e le ciriole non le conosco. La prossima volta che passo per Roma le devo assaggiare!

  20. All That I'm Eating

    This is brilliant, how wonderful to be able to share these skills. I love making bread but it’s nowhere as good as this lot!

  21. Choclette

    What a lovely post and it is no wonder Italy has such a prestigious reputation for its food. It has such great diversity. Britain suffered from its early industrialisation and lost so much of it’s food heritage because of it.

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