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Pane di Altamura D.O.P.

Legend has it that in 1232, when Frederick II of Swabia, emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, built the cathedral of Altamura in Puglia, he hid a treasure in one of the pillars of the church to be able to rebuild in case of destruction. The Altamurans instead guard another treasure in each one of their ovens: the famous Altamura bread , toda y known and exported everywhere for its goodness.
The result of a centuries-old tradition (which the Latin poet Horace, in 37 BC, already called “the best bread in the world”), it is produced only in Altamura by mixing semolina durum wheat with water, salt and yeast, the so-called “mother yeast” or “sourdough”, which is obtained by fermenting a small amount of bread dough prepared earlier.
Pane di Altamura, which has enjoyed the European recognition of Protected Designation of Origin since 2003, is supported by the Consortium of the same name for its protection and enhancement. It certifies the origin of the product and the absolute respect of the Production Regulations. The bread is produced in two forms, high or “crossed over” and low or “priest’s hat” and is traditionally cooked in wood-fired ovens. It possesses unique organoleptic characteristics that only the geographical and environmental factors of the north-west Murgia where it was created make possible: the excellent quality of durum wheat, water and air. A loaf of this typical Pugliese bread, which has the advantage of lasting for several days, must not weigh less than a pound (half a kilogram), have a crust that is crispy and at least three millimeters thick and straw yellow crumbs, a homogeneous alveolation and humidity of not more than 33 percent.
Pane di Altamura was once mainly kneaded and worked in the home before being prepared and baked in public ovens where the baker proceeded with the marking of the loaves with a wood or iron brand bearing the initials of the head of the family. It can be eaten fresh, by itself or used in the preparation of various dishes, but can also be used when it becomes stale in traditional recipes such as Cold Waffle, in which it is seasoned with tomatoes, onion, garlic, boiled turnip tops and olives (or with potatoes and eggs) and extra virgin olive oil, and Baked Bread, in which it is boiled in salted water with seasonal vegetables and then sprinkled with grated cheese, usually Pecorino delle Murge. Dishes that have been staple foods for shepherds and peasants of Altamura for centuries have now became specialties appreciated by the most discerning palates.