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Why is Tuscan bread unsalted?

Filone Toscano

If you’ve been lucky enough to travel to Italy more than once, you've realized that almost every town and for sure every region has its own delicious culinary tradition.

You can easily enjoy polenta with ‘osei’ in the northeast while you may have a hard time finding ‘arancini’. That’s why you need to visit Italy in its entirety: from the Dolomites to the Mediterranean small islands that stretch out south of Sicily.

Tuscany is known for its land and food, but between the food the first thing that Italians also recognize as 'different' is the bread. Tuscan bread is in fact traditionally unsalted.

There are many stories that try to explain why in Tuscany the bread is baked this way, but the most interesting (and probably most realistic) one is this: in the 12th century the Maritime Republic of Pisa raised taxes to deliver salt that was coming to its docks to the inland, particularly to Florence (the two cities at the time were terrible rivals). The Florentine people, in this case the bakers of Florence and surrounding cities, as a response, decided to start baking their breads without using the expensive condiment. This became the norm, and even in Dante’s Divina Commedia we find a citation “Tu proverai sì come sa di sale / lo pane altrui” (you will try how salty/ the foreign bread tastes).

Centuries have passed from the Medieval quarrels between city-states but the tradition of unsalted bread remained as a staple of the Tuscan food and the reason is to be found in our cuisine being so flavorful that doesn’t need any more salt added to it: think of all the tasteful cured meats, the cheese.. and the roast meat with all the herbs, the 'fettunta', a simple slice of tuscan bread with olive oil, used to try the purity of the new harvest.

Unsalted bread is a constant in every Tuscan home, like a good bottle of Chianti.

Now you can try our Filone Toscano outside of Tuscany! At Prato Bakery we bake our bread, as everything else, following the traditional recipe. The Filone Toscano is baked with only three ingredients and a long levitation time: flour, water and natural brewer’s yeast.

It is a perfect base for our bruschetta and eggplant or tomatoes caprese. Try the difference! You cannot disagree with Dante...


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