The Italian cuisine is famous all over the world for its strong savor and taste. Still, today we are talking about a specific type of bread baked without salt. Here you have the recipe for the “Unsalted Bread” from Perugia, a town in the centre of Italy. Let’s discover its history and secrets!
The Salt War: Perugia versus the Pope
The year was 1540, when the city of Perugia rose up against the Papal States, during the pontificate of Pope Paul III (Alessandro Farnese). We have do admit that Perugia has never liked the idea of being under the control of someone. In 41-40 b.C., indeed, Augustus besieged the town, because Marcus Antonius was hiding there. Clearly, Augustus won the battle and killed the members of the aristocracy of Perugia. Then, he took control of the town and he called it “Augusta Perusia”.
However, let’s go back to the year 1540. Perugia had been a free comune until 1370. Then, it became de iure part of the Papal States. Its aristocracy kept enjoying some privileges, especially those regarding taxes. During the successive centuries, Popes have been trying to reduce Perugia’s autonomy, without actually being able to do so.
In 1539 a terrible harvest hit Perugia and the land nearby. The economic situation was unbearable. Still, Pope Paul III imposed a high tax on salt for ALL his subjects. The Perugians considered this imposition as a violation of the previous treaties between the town and the Papal States. They started to protest, but it was in vain. On 4 June 1540, the papal army suppressed the insurgency.
According to the traditional sources, since then, the Perugians stopped to bake salted bread, as an act of rebellion.
The Unsalted Bread from Perugia
Here you have the recipe for the perfect traditional Unsalted Bread from Perugia! Follow the steps and amaze all of your friends!
- 500 g of flour 00
- 10 g of beer yeast
- 350 g of warm water
- 1 teaspoon of sugar
First, you want to sift the flour and to put it in a bowl. Then, melt the beer yeast in the warm water. Add the teaspoon of sugar: it will help with the process! Pour it in the bowl with flour and mix it up! Lay the pastry on a floured top. Keep kneading the mixture until it is smooth and elastic. Now, put it in another bowl, with some flour on the sides. Cover it with some transparent film. Let it yeast for 2 hours. When it is ready, put it back on the floured board and shape it as you like. The traditional shape is called “Filone”. add some more flour on the top of it. Cover it with a dump cloth.
Turno on the oven and set the temperature at 250°. When it is hot enough, turn it down to 230° and put a small bowl filled with water inside. This trick will give you a super soft bread! Now, place the mixture in the oven and let it bake for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, lower the temperature again, this time to 180°, and let the bread bake for other 30/35 minutes.
Your Unsalted Bread is finally ready! Before enjoying it, let it cool down, or you’ll get your tongue burned!!
The Unsalted bread: how to best enjoy it
Clearly, this type of bread is not really tasty ad flavored. For this reason, you need to “stuff” it. In Umbria, the region in which Perugia is, is well-know for its variety of cuts and cheeses. They are very tasty and salted and, because of that, they are the perfect match for a bread like that. Moreover, even the oil from Umbria is pretty famous and its quality is excellent.
They something called “Bruschetta“. You cut a slice (or more!) of bread and you toast it on a hot pan. Be careful, do not burn it! Then, take a clove of garlic and rub it on the slice of bread. Add some salt and pepper and pour your favorite oil generously. I guarantee, this easy “recipe” is amazing but, after that, you do not want to kiss your partner!
Choose the type of beer you like the most and enjoy it with your friends and family!
If you are interested into the process of bread-baking, you might want to have a look at this article, about Challah, the sanctified Jewish bread!