L'Aquila homestyle bread
The traditional agrifood product label “Pane Casereccio Aquilano” refers specifically to bread made in compliance with conditions and requisites laid down in the production regulations whose geographical territory is the entire Province of L’Aquila.
This bread is made with top quality fine or superfine flour, wholemeal flour, natural yeast, cooking salt and water, with no chemical products or additives.
The finished product must have a series of specific characteristics: the crust should be varying shades of golden brown, about 3-4mm thick, crispy and with the fragrance typical of toasted cereal. The interior is light brown, even and uniform with small pocking and a penetrating, appetising aroma, and typical sapid taste.
The “Pane Casereccio Aquilano” label requires loaves to weigh about 1.5kg, if they are to go on sale, and they cannot be vacuum-packed or in plastic containers or packs that may alter the flavour. Preparation requires 2.5kg natural culture yeast (made by using the leavened dough from the previous day’s baking, containing only autochthonous yeasts from the natural environment and which should be refreshed daily) to be added to 10kg of fine and superfine flour, with six litres of room temperature water. The dough is left at room temperature for about 12 hours before it is used. Subsequently 70kg of domestic fine flour, mixed with 20% whole flour, 1kg of salt and about 40 litres of water at 20°C are added.
The next stage is to leave the dough to grow for about 90 minutes but only after a direct check made by the baker ensures the right level of leavening has been reached, so the dough can split. This is then cut by hand, shaped and flattened into 2kg loaves, left to rise for 30-40 minutes on wooden shelves covered with cloths, but only after the springiness has been checked.
The shaped loaves are baked in traditional ovens at about 220/250°C, for two hours. When baked, the bread is removed and left to settle at room temperature. The preparation and natural rising method in the recipe are fundamental requisites if the bread is to retain at length its natural fragrance (even over 10 days). What is now seen
as a production feature was actually a necessity in home economics of the past: in fact, families could not bake bread too often because it used too much wood and also because of the ancient “focatico” tax applied to bread baking.