Little, but good. It is healthy. This, data in hand, is the consumption trend that characterizes the food symbol of life: the bread.
If during 1978 they ate 84 kg each and in 2008 we had dropped to 50, in 2021 consumption settled on 31 kg per capita per year (Source Assopanificatori). A decisive decline, which however - as often happens - affects an entire sector but goes to reward some excellences. Which? According to research conducted by the country's Bakery Ingredients Association, 85% of the bread consumed in some country is fresh (not frozen and "regenerated" like certain baguettes from large retailers) and artisanal. In this slice of the market, products made with highly selected ingredients they represent 22% of the demand. The demand for high quality breads such as loaves with multigrain or wholemeal from little-known grains (which have names such as margherita, russello or strazzavisaz), but also flours at zero km and from organic production.
The urban bakers
A cultural change of which a new category of bakers is becoming the standard bearer: the "urban bakers" who work in places that seem more bistros than bakeries. Young, cultured and vibrant with a passion for ancient grains and yeasts, they are skilled and skilled bakers, who come from school backgrounds far from the white art and who often have precedents in starry kitchens. As an example Giovanni Mineo, Palermo and failed engineer, who dedicates every bit of his time to improve the quality of "Crust" , a brand new bakery in Milan that offers retail bread or bread to be enjoyed at the table with bread and wine. "Consumption has changed, but so has lifestyle," he confirms. "Population decline with fewer and fewer families and more meals eaten out than at home lowered the request. But I don't think the reason is just that. Bread is a social thermometer what a measure of conviviality and sharing: a loaf of bread at a single table may be missing, but it is the first thing you bring to the table when you are surrounded by friends and loved ones ".
Mother yeast & microbiota
The greatest common denominator of super-breads is "he-she", or the yeast mother. "Brewer's yeast is also a natural yeast, but it does not have the richness of organoleptic properties of the mother yeast, which transforms bread into a respectable probiotic", he observes Paolo Minguzzi of the "collective oven" in Milan
The nutritionist also confirms this Elena Paglia: «The mother yeast makes the bread more digestible why the fermentation is a pre-digestion process. If it is used in synergy with wholemeal flours, it does not raise the glycemic index like white bread. In addition, it is made up of more than 300 species of lactic acid bacteria who actively collaborate with ours microbiota, that is, that universe of bacteria, viruses and fungi that inhabit our body and interact with the immune system ».
Each mother yeast however, it has its own characteristics. And each baker has his own, in some cases dating back as far as 300 years ago. For example, at the "collective oven" they use one that gives the bread a particular flavor, typical of the Californian one. Minguzzi explains: «His name is sourdoug and it is a mother yeast that confers maximum digestibility, a pleasantly acidic aftertaste and can be stored for up to five days. Indeed, I would say that the more time passes, the more the flavor improves". The merit, the experts who studied this American yeast discovered, is due to a particular bacteria called Lactobacillus sanfrancisciensis in honor of the Californian city.
An increasingly varied offer
The virtuous circle of the new urban bakers provides an updated and aware clientele and that is why on Saturday afternoon the "collective oven", in honor of the name, makes its oven available to those who arrive with their own dough. «An experiment», continues our baker, «which attracts different home bakers every time, a bit like it used to be when there was only one oven in the villages. In the abundant hour in which cooking is awaited, we drink something and discuss yeasts and flours, exchange recipes, compare the results ».
Regarding the recipes, it must be said that the proposal is exterminated, because new bakers do not lack the desire for experimentation. It is these days the news that, according to the first Gambero Rosso guide dedicated to white art (see gallery below), the best bread in the country is Giovanni Mineo's sack flour: a rye bread topped with Ivory Coast chocolate by Marco Colzani. «Perfect», explains the craftsman, «with salami or jam, always to be garnished with a few needles of rosemary. However, the combinations are purely subjective. Personally, I love to accompany fatty or slightly acidic foods with rye bread, while the stone-worked grains (I always speak of wholemeal flours) go well with cooked vegetables, but are also perfect for the meatball on a roast base. With chef's dishes, however, it is better to choose a more neutral bread, a semi-wholemeal one, which does not interfere with the flavor of the food ».
Will it be large format
One thing immediately catches the eye: the most baked is the loaf, which with its large format is annihilating sandwiches and slippers. And with good reasons: «The mother yeast it needs a good amount of flour to give best results, therefore at the time of purchase it is advisable not to go under a size of 750 grams»Explains Giovanni Mineo. «Let's not forget that a loaf retains its freshness better than individual rolls. Finally, do you want to put the ancient and sacred pleasure of slicing bread and distributing it to all your guests? ».
3 buying tips
According to the baker Giovanni Mineo, according to the baker Giovanni Mineo, there are three rules to recognize a good loaf on the baker's counter.
1. Look for a trusted baker who cares about the ingredients.
2. Be wary of those shiny breads with a very brown crust: it is likely that malt has been added, which makes the taste softer and "ruffian".
3. Pay attention to the price: if you are looking for quality bread, you will hardly find it for less
of 4 € per kg.
Browse the gallery below: you will find the new guide of the Red shrimp dedicated to the country bakeries and the 5 breads of the village that have obtained special prizes.
The first guide of the Red shrimp which indicates the best loaves of the boot (Pane e panettier'del Paese, € 8,90).
Keep browsing, you will find the special prizes dedicated to the five "fathers" of modern baking.
The bread with wild herbs of Eugenio Pol, Vulaiga bakery in Fobello (Vicenza).
The baguette of David bedu, by Pank La Boulangeria in Florence.
Bread with salami and eggs Gabriele Bonci, of the Bonci Bakery in Rome
The pan polenta of Ezio Marinato, Marinato bakery in Cinto Caomaggiore (Venice).
Sicilian black with tumminia grain Davide Longoni, Davide Longoni bakery in Milan.