The Italian Bread Guide You ‘Knead’
If you’re a true-blue bread lover, here’s something to chew on — Italy is home to over 350 varieties of bread. This country is not just renowned for its variety of pasta and cheese, but also for its different breads. Each Italian region makes its own unique bread, resulting in everything from a divine focaccia to a moreish ciabatta. And, if you happen to be on the lookout for some absolutely delicious Italian bread, sit back and keep scrolling for our regional guide to some of Italy’s most popular breads.
One of Italy’s most-loved varieties, the focaccia is a real classic. Traditionally, this soft bread was made with flour, yeast and olive oil, dimpled and cooked in a hearth. While its origins can be traced back to Liguria, focaccia is now easily found across Italy. Popular toppings usually include mixed herbs, olives, mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, bell peppers and/or anchovies, to be finished with a drizzle of olive oil.
Order our Pomodoro Focaccia or Burnt Garlic & Olive Focaccia for that honest Italian flavour. Our focaccias are hand-kneaded in our kitchen, loaded with flavour and is fragrant with aromatic Italian herbs. We bake it to have a crusty top with an airy, spongey center that makes for a delicious bite.
One of the most commonly found varieties in Tuscany, this bread is made without salt and has been around since the Middle Ages. It was the immediate result of the high taxes imposed on salt in those times. Due to its bland taste, Tuscans pair this bread with cured meat dishes or lashings of salty cheese. It’s best served alongside soups and stews or with prosciutto and salami.
As this bread is ideal for sopping up a delicious sauce, it would also pair perfectly with our Italian Blush Pink Sauce. Our creamy sauce with a spicy kick would be worth wiping off with this bland-tasting bread.
This popular Italian bread pairs beautifully with almost all Italian classics. Made from wheat, flour, yeast and olive oil, this bread was actually created to combat the rising popularity of the French baguette. And now, this slipper-shaped white delight is relished not just in Italy, but across the globe. You can use it to prepare paninis, as an accompaniment to stews and soups, as a substitute for burger buns or simply as is, with an array of flavoured oils.
Buy Sorrentina’s Whole Wheat Ciabatta to try the bread out; it’s a 100% whole wheat loaf that you’ll enjoy making paninis with. Made with Sorrentina’s own sourdough culture, doused with fragrant and baked till it gets a crusty exterior and a chewy interior that’s spongey and airy when you take a bite. It's a sourdough that you simply must try.
Pane di Altamura
A simple but splendid bread, the Pane di Altamura boasts a *D.O.P classification, which means that it can only be made in Altamura. Traditionally made using only the finest semolina flour, this bread lends itself to many kinds of Italian preparations. Italians make sandwiches with it, use it as an accompaniment to stews and soups or simply eat it as is, with some olive oil.
While we’re dreaming of trying out Pane di Altamura, we’re reminded of our Sun-dried Tomato Pesto, which has intensely rich tart flavours and elevates a simple sandwich quite easily. Buy it and try to build a sandwich, we guarantee our pesto will make it taste better.
Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, this round bread is popularly relished in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. This bread is baked in special moulds, with a decorative symbol on both sides and is typically layered with Pesto Modenese — a spread containing lardo, garlic, rosemary and cheese. You can serve it with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, cured meats, pickled vegetables.
If a meaty sauce is what this bread needs, we wouldn’t mind spreading our umami-rich Truffled Mushroom Sauce on it. Although vegetarian, the woody-flavoured porcini mushrooms and earthy truffle oil, cream and butter would be just perfect on this bread.
Pane di Matera
This *IGP-protected sourdough bread can only be made in the town of Matera. Prepared using special kneading techniques, this type of bread has an unusual shape. It’s known to stay fresh for as long as a week and is commonly eaten with hunks of cheese and a side of cold cuts. An excellent addition to your charcuterie board, no? The bread is ideal to make bruschetta or serve alongside cheese and charcuterie products.
While we can’t offer you a Pane di Matera as we’re not in Matera, we’ve crafted our own Whole Wheat Spiced Sourdough loaf that you can use to make delicious bruschetta at home. Made with our own sourdough culture, this loaf has got the tang and the chewiness that’s typical of a sourdough, and it’s also fragrantly flavoured with Italian herbs and spices.
The most popular bread in all of Sardinia, this flatbread has a thin, cracker-like texture and so, it’s also called ‘carta di musica’ or ‘piano paper’, in Italy. A simple offering, pane carasau was favoured by shepherds in Sardinia, because it would keep for a longer period of time. Usually, this bread is seasoned with salt and rosemary and eaten as a snack. It has toppings like Pecorino cheese, olives, salt, chicken, salami or even fruits.
Pane Carasau might be hard to get a hold of, but you can take a bite of Sorrentina’s Pizza Pull Apart Bread. It’s loaded at its center with San Marzano tomatoes, jalapenos, olives and aromatic Italian herbs to bring out that typical pizza sauce flavour.
No lesson on Italian breads is complete without tasting some. Hop to The Italian Bakery and order in our hand-kneaded Italian breads, which we bake fresh everyday. Crafted using traditional recipes, our breads are doused with Italian herbs and offer an array of textures you'll have fun digging into.
ITALIAN FOOD & WINE CLASSIFICATIONS
* D.O.P classification
DOP — Denominazione di origine protetta (Protected Designation of Origin) denotes the tightest restrictions regarding where and how a food product is grown and produced.
IGP — Identificazione geografica protetta (Protected Geographical Indication) recognizes that the characteristics of a food product depend upon the geographical area in which the food product is prepared.
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