The bread in Lombardy

Published on Jan 23, 2017

“...the bread our is daily,
tell you in the light of another hunger that does not live by bread alone
and there will come a time, very close, bread to bread, wine to wine,
and for men, raw and violent, there will be bread for their teeth,
it will be so, like it or hate it, the will be rendered tit for tat...”

“The legend of bread” by Giorgio Faletti


We all know of the infinite ways to say linked to the bread, sayings or proverbs that reflect its importance in the popular culture, which emphasize how much this simple food is the most present on our tables and stands, as well as a cultural value, a religious value that is deeply rooted in our tradition.

Have come down to us, many ways to do that now create some doubt. For example, the cut that is on the surface of the dough, leave to rise: the cross, a christian symbol, it was used to bless the bread, and to cast out demons that would have hindered the rising of the dough. Tradition or belief, reinforced by the legend of the miracle of Santa Chiara: it is said that, having received the order from the pope to bless the loaves, and Santa Chiara he made over them the sign of the cross, by a miracle, was soon visible, carved on the breads.
Cocì also the superstition that the bread placed upside down on the table is considered bad luck.

The same tradition, fortunately, has inherited a lot of recipes to prepare with stale bread. That bread the precious that was kneaded only once a week, which was to last for days and that was not a waste.

Today, as then, if the bread has more of the characteristics to be brought to the table, is used for the preparation of many traditional dishes are tasty and delicious, from appetizer to dessert.
One of the most classic and housewares, there are: the bread dumplings to the sauce and bergamaschi, the ômaricondeö or (meatballs with breadcrumbs, cheese and egg dipped in the broth, and panada (soup thickened with fried bread crumbs) brescia, zuppa pavese, the " torta paesana (bread and milk) of the Brianza, and the pancotto (bread soaked in broth and then cooked with fat and aromatic vegetables) and, of course, cutlets alla milanese and meatballs of every kind and quality. More simply, you can toast it in the oven, so that it is maintained for a long time to be consumed in the café au lait for breakfast, dipped in the wine as an aperitif or as a starter, or seasoned with aromatic herbs.

Each recipe has endless variations, because each family prepared with different ingredients, depending on your taste, but more importantly the availability of the moment.

There are endless varieties of bread, that we find every day by our bakers, different in shape, dimensions, tastes and flavors. The basic ingredients remain flour and water and yeast, but just add an ingredient, work more or less time the dough and vary the shape, to obtain different results.
In Lombardy, like other regions of Italy, the types of bread are numerous and vary from one province to another.
I have chosen to list some of the most well-known or with a particular history.



The bread of milanese excellence, also called rosetta or star in Bergamo, for his engraving the star with a hat central that is made in the surface, opening in the shape of a rose.
Comes from the Keisersemmel, the rosetta tyrolean, who arrived in Italy in the 1700's. But if Vienna was a fresh bread and crisp, in Milan, he was not fragrant until the evening, rammolliva, because of the humid climate. Here, thanks to the changes of the master bakers in milan, was born the michetta, a bread made of blown cable, without breadcrumbs, consumed, almost exclusively, stuffed with salami and cold cuts. Product with flour, water, malt and yeast, fragrant and easy to digest, has always been known as the sandwich of the workers: a practical and tasty lunch to bring to work in the classic “schiscetta”.
In 2007, he obtained the recognition DE.CO. (City name), assigned by the municipality of Milan to gastronomic products of traditional milanese.
Similar to the michetta, are products of the beetle and the turtle.

photos of Marina Riccitelli



Typical sandwich lombardo elongated and slightly curved, made with semolina flour and wheat flour, water, salt, natural yeast and beer, melted lard, and oil. At the end of a long leavening, the dough is divided into small portions to 70 g approximately, which are molded in the shape of a banana before being cooked.



The bread is dark in color, also called Black Bread, is typical of the Valchiavenna and Valtellina of the greater resistance of corn to the cold climates of the mountains and the aridity compared to soft wheat.
It is good and healthy, thanks to its high content of minerals, phosphorus and fibers.



Bread Como, but widespread in the whole of Lombardy, it is made with wheat flour, water, salt, yeast and oil extra virgin olive oil. It has a crisp crust and a dough that is stretched, elongated and flattened shape.



Loaf of como is distinguished by a crisp crust and crumb, well-leavened. Light, fluffy and fragrant, produced from wheat flour type 1, combined to whole grain flours.
The main feature of this bread is based on the use of the yeast preparation of the biga (the rising of the dough is obtained from the many refreshments from the preparation), and by a careful and accurate manual processing, in various stages of processing of the dough, ensure the softness of the crumb.
Today is also known as French Bread.



Bread, hard cheese, produced with soft wheat flour, water, yeast and salt, in sizes of about a kg. It is kneaded and formed a braid, incised longitudinally just before cooking. From the long process, the result is a loaf with the crumb white and soft, and a decided aroma of leavened dough.
Once stale, it is used to prepare the zuppa pavese: cut into slices, brown in butter and put in a dish, pour over the eggs and parmesan, all coated then from the boiling broth.
This bread is tied up in an ancient religious ritual: the legend tells that Baby Jesus, in a moment of danger, he was hidden in a container with the mixture. The jews do not use the yeast, but the dough lievitò, wrapping it and protecting it. The shape of the Miccone, can remember a bassoon. Was consumed the two days before Christmas, to prepare for the fast of the 24, as a wish of health and prosperity.



Bread typical of the province of Mantua, obtained by rolling on themselves, two flutes, prepared with wheat flour, but hard paste, to form a lock, and characterized by the classic central cut that creates the ridges. This bread is also produced in the smaller version, the trunk, and in the crumbly version, with the addition of oil and lard, ricciolona.

photos of Michela De Filio


And still: bread with figs, bread, rice, to the pumpkin bread, pancakes, cakes, etc

A selection of traditional breads that are incomplete, inaccurate and, above all, the infinite, if we consider, in addition to the variants, the proposed types forget or the news that, logically, are introduced on the market. For example:



A typical bread of Bergamo, hard-dough, similar to bread mantovano, but different in the processing and in the form: after a slow leavening, the dough is prepared with wheat flour, water, yeast and lard, is divided in parts of 100 g to form pre-crushed. They are greased on the ends, rolled up and folded and left to rise again before cooking in the oven without steam. Bread forgotten, but recently reinterpreted that he is back present in the baskets of the bakers.



The bread winner of the 2009 prize for “A bread for Bergamo”, promoted by the Chamber of Commerce in collaboration with the Association of Bakers of the Province of Bergamo (ASPAN), made with four types of flour (durum wheat semolina, wheat flour, yellow flour and buckwheat flour), from the intense perfume and rich aromas; a bread today, but linked to the past, also very good after two days, just like the loaves of a time, thanks to the long rising process that guarantees the freshness and long shelf life.

“...From that shrub, with the stem in line that rises to the sky like an ear,
a man took in his work was born this little masterpiece:
in a conflict between summer and winter, and baked in an oven that seems to have been hell,
flour, water, yeast and lard, is called bread and this is it.”

“The legend of bread” by Giorgio Faletti


Photographic sources and bibliographical:
Giacomo Ceruti, il Pitocchetto
Cesare Tallone
Notebooks Historical





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