Tucked away in the heel of Southern Italy lies the cozy little town of Altamura. This small village, like many Italian cities, is famous for a particular cuisine. Naples has Pizza, Sicily has Cannoli, but Altamura has the Altamura Bread. This bread is so renowned for its flavorful crust and soft, moist crumb that it has been called the “Best Bread in the World” as early as 37 B.C. by the Roman author Horace.
What makes this bread so special is the combination of a unique sourdough starter and local durum flour milled from the fields surrounding the region. When you put them together, you have a signature bread like nowhere else in the world.
But don’t worry. You don’t have to travel to Italy to try Altamura bread.
For quite some time, researchers have been fascinated with the science behind sourdough and fermentation. Could it be possible to re-create signature breads, like the kind made in Altamura? It turns out it is.
How to bake your own Altamura bread
Puratos has gently captured the qualities of the Altamura bread in our O-tentic Tutto Pugliese, a complete solution that only requires water to be able to bake the best breads in the world. Special attention was paid to ensure that the nutty-roasted flavor from the sourdough and delicate yellow crumb from the durum wheat were not lost. We even went as far as ensuring every bag of O-tentic Tutto Pugliese is made strictly from flour grown around the town of Altamura.
What makes a sourdough unique?
In a sourdough starter, wild yeast and bacteria, as well as the fermentation time and temperature, creates different acids and volatile compounds. All of these factors impact the final texture, taste and aroma of a bread made with sourdough. By understanding the local, wild microorganisms and the way a sourdough starter is fermented, it is possible to recreate a starter and produce it anywhere around the world.
This means the signature Altamura bread can be created in any bakery, letting everyone experience and enjoy this delicious bread.
Why should you care about signature bread?
Over the last few years, the bread market has been quite challenging with trendy low-carb and gluten-free products curbing the consumption of bread throughout the world. One strong area of growth, however, has come through consumers’ interest in sourdough and artisan-style breads. As its popularity begins to rise, consumers and bakers are realizing that sourdough is much more than the typical San Francisco sour flavor profile we often think of.
As the Altamura bread so beautifully illustrates, a signature sourdough starter can greatly influence the final product to create a unique loaf with complex flavor. As bakeries search for a way to make their bread stand out on in the aisle, they’re finding the unique and compelling story of sourdough helps. Thanks to the sourdough starter, there are almost endless opportunities when it comes to style and flavor.