Bread is taken very seriously in Italy. More than a mere culinary staple, bread is the cornerstone of the Italian culture, which takes deep pride in simply transforming the gifts of nature. Bread, in Italy, is even used to express the pleasant mannerisms of people. Someone with a good character, for example, would be “good… like bread”. A big-hearted person would be “warm… like bread. If someone were flexible, they would be “soft.. like bread”. The list of Italian bread metaphors is endless.
This is a simple, crusty bread which is perfect for soaking up the sauce from hearty, tomato-based stews. It is best eaten on the day it is baked. Leftover, day old pieces can be used for bruschetta, bread crumbs or croutons. It can also be frozen, defrosted, and reheated in a 400 degree oven for approximately 5 minutes, or until warm. To slice it, use a long serrated knife, and cut 1/4 -inch slices on the diagonal. For extra crusty bread, place a baking pan with a shallow layer of boiling water on the bottom shelf in the oven, or spray the walls of the oven with water after it is preheated.