I have been meaning to share some photos of making pane Calabrese in Sicily. When my mother-in-law Teresa comes to visit us from Italy, I give her free reign in my kitchen. The first couple times she visited, I wasn't too willing to give up the culinary control. I know, what was I thinking?!?
When we returned from our errands, Teresa was a little flustered. The bread rose a little too long and they still had to get the brick oven going. Alessio was trying to help get the oven going. My father-in-law had his way of starting the oven. Alessio had a different way of doing things with the oven. I was really beginning to doubt if Teresa would get to see her famous bread baked in Sicily.
Even though there were some slight baking technical difficulties, the bread turned out quite perfect. Winnie was thrilled. We had some with dinner with our fresh fish dishes. Teresa was still commenting after we ate that the texture wasn't right. That it rose too long and that they didn't know how to start the oven. But most importantly, she was missing her lievito madre (her mother yeast)and that would've made all the difference.
No matter what she says was wrong with the bread (and that there was any thing wrong was solely Teresa's opinion), we couldn't get enough of her bread! One day I will try to share her recipe here. It won't be the same. I have had her bread here in Florida, at their house near Como, and in Sicily. The only time it seemed as perfect as it could be was when Teresa was baking it in the comfort of her own home in Calabria.