When I saw that this bread was salt free I had my hesitations. Apparently the Tuscans eat this bread with full flavor spreads and the like, and this would seem to justify the exclusion of salt.
The other major oddity about this bread is that two cups of flour are cooked by pouring boiling water over the flour the day before and stored at room temperature overnight. I’ve used soakers before in my bread making experiment, but never had to cook it with boiling water. Reinhart says that this imparts a different flavor to the bread by extracting more flavor from the flour, and no doubt it does.
Other than these caveats Tuscan bread is a straightforward bread and can be made in about 4 hours. When I bit into my first slice I was surprised by how much flavor there actually was, no doubt in part to the cooking of the flour, but I couldn’t help but think to myself that it really would be better with a teaspoon or two of salt thrown in.
I probably could have continued baking for five or so minutes longer, but the exterior was already browned enough (the bread isn’t raw, but rather just a bit more moist than it probably should be). And my other problem continues to be in shaping boules – I always have one side that’s just imperfect where the dough doesn’t seem to come together too well, though this is getting better as I’m gaining more experience.
All in all I recommend this bread, and because it’s easy and relatively quick to make I’ll probably make it again, especially to have with some tapenade or roasted tomato spread, or even a white bean soup.
I’m not sure what I’ll be making next, though I’m cooking a big dinner 2 weekends from now and hope to revisit the anadama bread by making it into dinner rolls.