When the time comes to harvest olives, what springs to everyone’s mind is a nice slice of bread soaked in freshly pressed olive oil, for breakfast or as a snack – a true ritual here in Italy.
But the best thing is making the bread at home, because the freshly baked aroma mingles with that of the new oil: cut grass, artichoke, almond, arugola, tomato leaves, only a few of the intense flavours of quality extra virgin olive oil that has just been extracted.
In Tuscany, bread is usually “sciapo”, i.e. without salt, because in the old days a lot of food stuff was commonly preserved in salt, so it would taste better when eaten with saltless bread. Some like it, others don’t, but we can all agree that, when tasting new oil, it is the best kind of bread. Here is a simple recipe that everyone can muster for pane sciapo.
You can use any type of flour, but I prefer a stone ground, wholemeal flour: it requires more water for the dough, but it preserves the nutrients of the grains. It is important that the flour is both organic and from a certified source, otherwise it might contain chemicals and other substances used for growing wheat.
Bread and Oil with Home-Baked Bread