According to tradition, traditional bread from Lentini has been made since the beginning of the 1900s. It was prepared by housewives who prepared the dough and then brought it for cooking at communal ovens. At these ovens part of the bread was left for the owner as a form of payment.
The bread was intended to sustain workers who worked far away from their homes, and so it was designed to last without going stale too quickly. The recipes were handed down across the generations and contained slight variations from one family to another.
The typical characteristics of traditional Lentini are that they are normally baked in a ring shape and have a soft, thin crust. They are hazelnut brown and covered with sesame seeds.
The bread is thin, soft, yellowish and contains small air pockets. The bread is very aromatic and contains elements of dry fruit, spices, bran and wood. Normally loaves are about 500g but they can reach up to a kilo.
The traditional recipe calls for durum wheat flour, water, sea salt, and natural yeast. The process is lengthy and labour intensive as the work is carried out by hand. The recipe uses a preferment or mother dough which is renewed everyday by adding water and semolina. The mother dough constitutes 10% of the final weight of the dough.
Dopo l'impasto la massa riposa solo brevemente prima di essere porzionata e modellata manualmente nelle forme classiche, cosparse poi di semi di sesamo. Coperte da teli di cotone, le forme lievitano da due ore a due ore e mezza, secondo la stagione e la temperatura esterna. Grazie a questo processo il pane assume fragranza, consistenza e serbevolezza. Un altro elemento decisivo è la cottura a fuoco diretto.
After kneading the dough is rested briefly before being cut and shaped by hand into its typical forms. It is then covered with sesame seeds and a a cotton cloth. The loaves prove from anywhere between two to two and a half hours depending on the season and external temperature. The bread is then cooked over a direct heat. These processes give the bread its distinctive flavor and texture.
Photos — Archivio Slow Food