Ciopeta bread – a croissant stitched through time
The bread of Bari in Arcugnano province prepared by the Vicentina Antica Forneria Bari, has been awarded a Communal Denomination of Origin (De.Co.). A bread that has been baked since 1903; made by the same family for generations, with the same method, and in the very same oven.
A few kilometres from central Vicenza, lies a convent of Saint Augustine, featuring an historic altar piece by painter Battista da Vicenza and an equally valuable fresco painting by Giotto. Nearby in Arcugano province is the ‘antica forneria’ (old bakery) opened in 1903, which has since become famous throughout the area for its delicious bread. The “pan de Bari” (bread of Bari), named after its home, is also known as “pane di Sant’Agostino” (bread of Saint Augustus).
In 2014, thanks to recognition from the local government, the historic and uniquely characteristic bread in Bari is considered a protected local cuisine, and has been granted Communal Denomination of Origin (De.Co.) status. Today, that tradition is carried on by Lorenzo, the grandson of the tradition’s founder Bortolo. The secret to the bread’s deliciousness lies in the stone oven which has been used to bake bread since the bakery was founded. The signature croissant-shaped bread, le ciopéte, is made up of two traditional dough recipes “stitched” or knotted together and baked into a single bread. The name for the bread in the local Venetian dialect is “ciopa” meaning “couple”, romantically referring to the bread’s coupled appearance.
Before entering the oven, le ciopéte bread is neatly lined on a pine table, and the dough is left downwind of the oven for around forty minutes to proof. As it reaches a suitable temperature, the oven surface is wiped with a damp cloth, and the dough is lined onto thin wooden boards. The boards allow the bread to be placed into the oven neatly and quickly, and prevents any drop in temperature. Through the internal radiative heat, the direct heat from the oven’s surface and the convection heat from the hot air, the bread is baked evenly on three fronts. After roughly half an hour the process is complete, and the white dough is dyed yellow, pink and chestnut-brown. After the bread has been extracted, the oven stays hot for about three to four days. As it slowly cools, it is reused to make other baked goods such as focaccia, panettone sweet bread or pastafrolla tart, depending on the temperature.
Artecibo editorial board
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