Pane Pugliese, Puglian bread, is one of our favorites. We search for the best, as one does.
When we pushed open the door to the business end of Chichino Pane in Monte Sant’Angelo, the scene you see to the left was smack in front of us. Had we reached the holy grail of bread in Puglia?
If any one fits the phrase, “speak softly and carry a big stick,” it might be Lorenzo Accarino, who quit school at age 9 and has been making bread in Puglia since he was ten. The huge oven behind him in the picture is wood-fired, as bread ovens should be.
Chichino Pane makes a couple of different loaves. One is potato based—potato was often used in bread back in “the old days” because the addition of potato made the loaves moist and able to last a long time. We had one of these loaves at dinner, and it lived up to our expectations. The irregular internal texture (big holes, little holes, gigantic holes) was moist and only slightly chewy. The crispy crust was faintly smoky. Delicious bread.
They also make pizza.
What amazed us was the process that took place after the dough had been dumped out of the industrial-sized mixer onto the stainless steel work surface, where Lorenzo fashioned precisely sized loaves with a few quick motions, without kneading, just forming the bread into a round and throwing it into the raising drawer. If you have 30 seconds, you might want to see how he does it in the video below. And if you’re making the pilgrimage to Monte Sant’Angelo, stop by and have your daily bread. But beware, you might want to move to Puglia after you’ve tasted it.
Chichino Pane dal 1973
Via G. Tl Giordiani, 25
More on the Territory:
Visitor guide to Monte Sant Angelo and the Sanctuary of the Archangel Michael