The breads of Italy. What a topic! Think of all the glorious, delicious breads made from the Alps almost to Africa and you’ll realize that “Italian bread” means more than that crusty boule on the table at the Italian restaurant. It’s difficult to know where to start, but here are two good books on Italian breads.
Carol Field, “The Italian Baker.” The title says it and it’s the truth. She put together the definitive book on Italian baking. Here’s my review. It’s over 25 years old, but it’s still the standard.
Franco Galli, “The Il Fornaio Baking Book.” This is a somewhat smaller, more limited coverage of Italian breads. Galli was in on the beginning of the artisan bread movement in the mid 1980s in San Francisco. This book is interesting in that it presents a master recipe and then shows how this recipe can be used to create several breads that at first glance appear to be different. He also covers some breads that aren’t in “The Italian Baker.” All in all, if you have these two books, you’ll have Italian breads covered pretty well.
And just what are Italian breads?
Take a look at some of the recipes here and you’ll have an idea of the variety of both texture and form that there is in Italian breads. They range from large boules to small rolls, from pizza to long thin baguettes. There is truly something for everyone.