Even though Italy is famous for pizza and pastas, baking different types of breads has remained one of the passions of Italians. In fact, breads are included in all Italian meals. So spending time to explore different types of Italian breads and their design is certainly a worthy effort. If you routinely bake breads, then learning to craft breads in different ways would certainly make baking fun and enjoyable. One of the major challenges in bread design is to get a smooth flawless surface by still maintaining the design intact when the bread is baked.
Here is a list of popular Italian Breads:
1) Cuboid shaped Quadrotto bread
If you are looking for a simple Italian bread design, then Quadrotto bread may fit the bill. Quadrotto breads are usually square or cubic shaped with varying sizes. Even though the shape of the bread looks simple, the ingredients you use could make the task of getting the right shape quite difficult, especially if you use grano duro i.e semolina. The easiest way is to use white flour or other bread flours that are easily malleable. Once you are through with the dough making process, you can shape it as cuboids or squares. The important phase in this bread making is the flour mixing process. If you cannot get the dough right, then the bread could deform instead of having a smooth cuboid shape.
2) Star shaped Altamura bread
Altamura bread is one of the oldest and finest artisan bread from the city of Altamura in Italy. Even though it calls for many ingredients, the process of making the bread is actually simple. Just like in normal bread making, prepare the dough by following the recipe and allow it to rise. Before you stash it on a baking tray, you can make the bread design. Traditional Altamura breads have 5 slashes of varying length on the dough. Another interesting way is to run a sharp knife and make a star or cross shape on the top of the dough. Altamura means high wall. Even though the design may not have anything to represent the actual meaning, it is just another way of designing the Altamura Bread.
3) Small oval shaped Bocconcino bread
Bocconcio breads are small oval shaped balls with flawless shiny surface. This bread would certainly entice children for its tiny shape. Moreover, getting these tiny breads in perfect shape would be fun than baking single large ones. After you knead the dough, spread it on a flat board and cut it into rectangular shapes. Then roll these rectangular pieces into small oval shaped balls and allow it to rise. The major important step to get smooth and shiny surface is to treat the breads with water vapor continuously. One of the ways to achieve this is to place a bowl of water on the lower rack of your oven during baking. In this way, water vapor would continuously circulate the breads and prevent them from cracking.
4) Elongated Siciliano Breads
Siciliano breads are elongated ones with sesame seeds sprinkled on top of it. Normally, the lines on the surface of the bread indicate the weight of the bread. But when you bake at home, you can be creative in sprinkling the sesame seeds in various ways. As the bread itself is yellowish, the design of the sesame seed layer certainly would stand out.
5) Ring shaped Ciambella breads
This design is similar to donuts. You can make circular loops either from small balls of dough or by spreading the dough and then making a hole at the centre. By sprinkling sesame seeds on top of the breads, anyone can bake simple yet tasty ciambella breads with little effort. You also need to keep in mind that the type of flour you use could affect the final product.