Bread religion

From ancient grains to mills, three days dedicated to excellence in bread making at Lièvita

Rouge de Bordeaux is one of the autochthonous whea

Rouge de Bordeaux is one of the autochthonous wheats that Nicolas Supiot – Breton farmer, miller and bread maker – brought to the workshop organised within Lièvita, in Riccione, where, from June 7th to the 9th, an event dedicated to research on ancient wheat varieties and to in depth analysis on bread making techniques took place

It was born as a workshop promoted via a selected, almost whispered, word of mouth. It was considered a “mission impossible” because there were no spokespersons and it was the result of an intuition. However, the desire to find some answers after digging to unveil the roots of a work that is both life and passion, led three bread making professionals to thousands of grains of ancient wheat varieties.

Pastry and bread maker Alessandro Battazza of Lièvita in Riccione was the promoter of the three-day event (on June 7-9th). He invited his master and friend Ezio Marinato and Breton farmer Nicolas Supiot considered the guru of ancient wheat varieties. Certain that going against the tide is not a condemnation, but a life-choice, Battazza has always been researching the principle that gives a meaning to bread-making.

Nicolas Supiot, ancient wheat guru, working on his dough

Nicolas Supiot, ancient wheat guru, working on his dough

This job, if lived with intensity, is both a vocation and a creed, never a duty; and it leads professionals such as the 36-year-old from Riccione and his colleague Marinato to roam around the world in search for flours as if with a Diogenes lamp.
Only the skill given by experience can find the right words to unveil the mystery of bread, a universe that often experiences opposite currents, with prickly results and often visible dislikes.

During those three days, however, one could sense a different atmosphere, that is to say the conviction that “bread religion” is not a status symbol or something trendy, made up of empty gestures such as kneading any ordinary flour, baking it and see the result. In fact, it’s never been a banal issue. Bread is, by definition, life, and the flour with which it is made represents a story: that of the cereal but before that, that of the land where it was grown and of the wisdom of a miller who has wisely milled it.

Leavening time

Leavening time

Supiot is all of this together: he’s a farmer, a miller and a bread maker just like in the tradition of his region, Brittany. He became a farmer-bread-maker starting from the selection of autochthonous wheat varieties and by applying the principles of biodynamics given by Rudolf Steiner. His journey, which is also that of a philosophy of life, has led him to profess the primacy of ancient wheat. This is translated in a milling procedure that he patented and that can produce a flour and wheat middlings from which one can produce a mother yeast capable of expressing all the potential, the aromas and the flavours of the initial cereal.

From the Rouge de Bordeaux to the Petite Rouge de Morvar, the flours obtained by stone milling are silky, fat and damp, at different levels. By themselves, or finely mixed, they give life to a fragrant, flavourful, regularly alveolar bread. Even the oven in which to bake the loaves was created by the Breton farmer. He gave it the shape of an egg so that the internal room could maintain the necessary humidity and heat for a perfect bake.

Enzo Marinato at work with the panettone dough, under the observation of his Breton colleague

Enzo Marinato at work with the panettone dough, under the observation of his Breton colleague

The primacy of Supiot’s wheat was tested with the Italian colleagues’ modus operandi. Battazza and Marinato indeed write the story of a different belonging, focused on leavening. This must be supported by excellent raw materials – wheat and flour. The pastry maker from Riccione, indeed doesn’t spare any energy when researching the best Italian ancient wheat varieties: tumminia, perciasacchi, biancolilla just to name a few.

To seal the meeting between the different cultures, we witnessed the creation of a new mother yeast made with wheat middlings (according to the Breton method), to create a very Italian panettone kneaded by the expert hands of Ezio Marinato. This to demonstrate how respect for the human inclination and an open and intelligent confrontation can lead to a new way that can be more powerful and prolific than the two initial ones.

Via Emilia 18



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