The texture of Tuscan bread really is unique. Salt, for some reason, makes a bread’s crumb a little chewier than it would otherwise be (maybe you’ve noticed this if you’ve ever left the salt out of a bread recipe by mistake). Tuscan bread is so fluffy and light it practically melts on your tongue. That translates into incredibly light and brittle toast.
And yes, I did make bruschetta over the weekend as threatened. I hadn’t been to our local farmers’ market in a couple of weeks, and when I got there Saturday it was tomatoes as far as they eye could see. I took’em home, sliced’em, sprinkled them with a good peppery olive oil, kosher salt, shredded basil leaves and a few shavings of parmesan, then heaped the whole mess on a 3/4-inch thick slab of grilled bread. Now that, my friends, is summer.
My one regret from my Tuscan bread adventure is that I made the loaf too big. I always dream of baking up one of those huge 2-pound peasant loaves that we used to make in the bakery. But then my poor little oven just can’t pump enough heat into a loaf that size before the crust hardens. My bread turned out a little dense with a fine, tight crumb. Not bad, mind you, just not what I’d hoped for. Next time I’ll face up to reality and do the smaller 1-pound loaves that homes ovens are designed for.
One day I’ll have my outdoor bread oven. You just wait and see.