Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A problem developed in Forno 2 and there was some loud talk about mamas and idiots which I couldn’t quite follow; a few of the ciambelle were a bit too charred in spots. To me they looked like the most delicious ones of all.

By the second round of baking the ovens had cooled to a mere 280°C and things were a bit more relaxed; a slower oven of course allows more margin for error. This round and succeeding rounds were for the main stars of the show, the panoni. By the end of the third round the ovens had lost enough heat that Giuseppe called for them to be re-fired briefly. And then the process continued, round after round of delicious breads tumbling out of the ovens and stacked in hampers to be loaded into the bakery’s van and delivered all over Agropoli fresh and steaming.

On my first trip to a forno à legna years ago I showed up about 10 am and was mystified by the absence of goods. “Sir, where are the breads?” The baker and the neighbor with whom he was gossiping laughed uproariously. “Come back tomorrow at 7.” For an Italian, fresh bread should be very fresh indeed, and that may involve a daily trip to the panetteria. But once you’ve enjoyed the real thing, it’s hard to settle for an imitation.

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