CHEESE BREAD FROM LUNIGIANA or PANE AL FORMAGGIO DELLA LUNIGIANA and a review
OK, you asked for it so here we go. One of the Italian cookbooks that I bought recently is called Curiosità e golosità di Toscana by Carla Geri Camporesi and Barbara Golini, the title isn’t easy to translate but approximately it means Curiosities and Gourmandise in Tuscany, golosità means something that is really good to eat. (If someone can come up with a better translation feel free to tell me!) There are 30 recipes featuring local specialties like the long Florentine zucchini, the chicken from Valdarno, Tuscan bread or the Leghorn artichoke and each recipe is accompanied by a text about the specialty in question. I like books like this where you get to know local products and produce and I always like to read about food, facts and stories or anecdotes that gives you some background to the recipe you are making. And for the most part this approach is successful in this book even if it is a bit uneven, some of the introductions leaves me wondering why they were included but I suppose they wanted to include the recipe and then maybe couldn’t really find an appropriate text. But the recipes are inspiring, I immediately found several that I wanted to make and after some more reading I have found several others to make later on when the autumn comes. There are no photos, just monochrome illustrations (details from paintings) but I have to say that in a book like this where the text is the central point, it works well.
I have chosen a recipe from the north-western part of Tuscany, la Lunigiana, a montain region close to Massa Carrara where a cheese called caciotta della Lunigiana is made, a cheese with Etruscan origins which was made in enormous forms, even up to 1 meter in diameter, during the Roman era. I made pane al formaggio or cheese bread but I deviated almost immediately from the recipe because I used a Tuscan pecorino cheese instead. And I had to add some more flour but apart from that I was a good girl and followed the recipe like I was supposed to.
CHEESE BREAD FROM LUNIGIANA or PANE AL FORMAGGIO DELLA LUNIGIANA
350 g/12 3/8 oz flour (I had to add another 70 g/2 1/2 oz)
150 g/ 5 3/8 oz finely chopped caciotta cheese. I used a mild pecorino
150 g/ 5 3/8 oz finely chopped parmesan cheese
150 g/ 5 3/8 oz melted butter, I used salted but the recipe uses unsalted
25 g/ 0 7/8 oz fresh yeast
125 ml/0.53 cup milk
– Dissolve the yeast in the tepid milk and add it to the flour. Mix and then add the chopped cheeses, the eggs and the melted butter and work the dough until it all sticks together. (it was at this point I realized that I had to add some more flour)
– Put it in a greased rectangular cake tin or loaf tin, press it down and then leave it to grow for 2 hours.
– Bake in a pre-heated oven (175°C/347°F) for 35 minutes.
You can also add chopped walnuts, olives and/or salsicce if you want.