Posted by: Debra Kolkka | February 3, 2013

A bread event in Castelnuovo

I wonder how many of you knew that 2nd February was Pasta Madre Day. I didn’t, until Heather Jarman invited me to a bread event in Castelnuovo.

All over Italy bread starters were being given away along with instructions on how to make your own sour dough bread. What a great idea to encourage people to get cooking. There is absolutely nothing as good as fresh bread straight from your own oven…and it can be fun to make.

We arrived to find the table laden with different types of bread made from the same starter, little jars of which were lined up ready to be taken to their new homes.



Linda and friends were on hand with helpful advice for would be breadmakers.


My favourite bread of all was the stecche senza impasto. The dough is fairly wet and takes about 12 hours to prove and doesn’t require any kneading at all. It was delicious, with just the right amount of chewiness. (is that a word?)



For more helpful adice on bread making go to the Pasta Madre site…  It is in Italian, but perhaps you can get some help with translation.

Thank you Heather (from sapori-e-saperi) for inviting me along to this fun evening.


  1. Amazing! I had no idea. I haven’t made bread for years and perhaps I should start again! The pane comunale in my area is not great at all..

    • i often make bread at home in Brisbane. It is quite easy once you get the hang of it.

  2. Reblogged this on Greedybread and commented:
    You all know how much I LOVE LOVE LOVE bread!! I am tearing my hair out as I was in Lucca this time last year….can’t believe i missed it….
    Chcek out my Lucca adventures @

    • This is the first time I have heard of Pasta Madre Day. You should introduce yourself to Heather. She may be able to offer your guests some interesting things to do.

      • hi there
        yes, i have been in contact with her for the last 9-10 months. Her wonderful adventures are in my newest and other tour….she was kind enough to let me interview her via email and i am just doing up the final draft to post shortly……she is a fountain of wonderful, wonderful knowledge and you truly feel her love and passion for the area:) I am just doing up an interview with Joanna from love bagni di lucca too…would you consider it? for later in the year….as i will possibly not be back in lucca till October- difficulties here sadly…

  3. I would have loved to go but the weather yesterday was terrible! We have a little bakery in our tiny village of Longoio – where bread is baked in a wood burning oven. It’s delicious and if you go to the coop in Fornoli you can buy it there. I also make my own bread using a variety of flours – great fun. there’s no excuse for making your own these days: bread-making machines are are a good substitute if you haven’y got a wood-burning oven.

    • Can you buy the bread in Longoio as well?

  4. I absolutely love sour dough bread. It is delicious! Whenever I go to San Francisco, I eat it all the time. It is great to see that this traditional kind of dough is becoming more popular all over the world. What has surprised me is to see sour dough castagnaccio, as the dough is generally unleavened. Did you have a chance to taste it?

    • I must admit I am not a fan of some of the sour dough bread we get in Brisbane, it is actually sour. This bread was excellent and I did try the castagnaccio and it was delicious.

    • I don’t think the castagnaccio was made with pasta madre. It was there because it’s castagnaccio season. Linda Turrichi (the cook who made it) adds apple, which a good variant to the traditional one.

      • Thanks for that. The apple was a good addition, it was delicious.

  5. drooling! There’s nothing like bread fresh out of the oven…. What a wonderful experience!

    • You would have loved this bread. Linda does a great job.

  6. Never heard of this event before – a real eye opener. One of the basics we miss in the UK is fresh italian bread. We’ll definitely be investigating the little bakery in Longoio that Francis Pettit mentioned. One of the best breads i’ve tasted was in Sicily – Pane Pugliese, a delicious bread originating in Puglia, but which Sicilians produce aswell. Nice post Debra and Heather.

    • The saltless Tuscan bread can be a bit tasteless, but there are so many varieties here, we are spoilt for choice.

  7. Feb 2 = Ground Hog day over, here but I much prefer the idea of joining a Pasta Madre Day 😀 …. Drooling at your pictures and your informative descriptions… I guess your next post will be of your bread making adventure?

    • Perhaps you could start your own Pasta Madre Day. I won’t be making bread here. I am alone and I would eat it all myself…not a good idea.

  8. chewiness is a very good word! c

    • It was very good bread…just the way I like it.

  9. Can only imagine that unmistakable smell of delicious bread just baked.

    • It was all delicious…I tried it in the name of research.

  10. The cafe where I had breakfast yesterday had a quote from Don Quixote on their blackboard ‘All sorrows are less with bread’. I think I agree. I would love to have tasted some of the examples from the bread event.

    • I wonder if Pasta Madre Day happens outside Italy…the word Day is a bit of a clue.

  11. OMG, this sounds like my kind of event! I am a bread-pasta whore, if there ever was such a thing! And sour dough is my favorite!

    Sorry to have been so absent recently. Selling our house in the US and moving to Ecuador has proven more all-consuming than I might have imagined.


    • I wish you had been here to share the bread. Good luck with your house.

  12. AH delicious! I can just imagine sinking my teeth into one of those: crisp on the outside, and soft inside. Yumyumyum 😀

    • What a pity you weren’t here to share the bread.

  13. Omigod Debra, your blog is really something I love to hate whenver you post about Italian food. Evn Italian bread are not the same bread here in the US. I guess no italian food compares to my side of the sphere. Oh yeah, Italian bread are hard to chew 😀 but I don’t care. 😀

    • Some styles of bread are difficult to chew, but the one I liked was just right.

  14. Yum, yum, yum! I would be in bread nirvana if I was there.

    • I wish I could send you all a slice of the delicious bread.

  15. How fabulous that people gather to celebrate and share something so basic as bread. The Stecche Senze Impasto looks as if it would be really good dunked in olive oil. I love the saying “all sorrows are less with bread” – I think that’s probably true.

    • It was very good all by itself.

  16. Debra! Thank you for coming, for having appreciated my Stecche Senza Impasto and for writing this article full of enthusiasm.

    • I really enjoyed the evening and meeting you. I think lots of people have clicked onto your website to find out more.

  17. What a great idea giving away a starter for sourdough! I must admit that I find the idea of creating a starter daunting so this would definitely kick start that 😀

    • It is a good idea…I hope it spreads…like the starter.

  18. Good bread is what i miss most in India and your post isn’t helping any 🙁 The entire place must have smelled heavenly!

    • I like the flat bread in India and roti (is that how you spell it?)

      • Yes, I love it too. But regular bread is hard to find.

      • …a good reason to make your own.

      • I agree 🙂

  19. This sounds like my kind of event. There is nothing better than Italian breads.

    • I love German bread too…and Finnish. They do those lovely rye breads, which we don’t get here in Italy.

  20. If somebody wants to know more about Pasta Madre or Mother Yeast could visit my blog where I have a special section dedicated to this wonderful world with many tips.
    All is in english!

    • Thank you for that. I will certainly take a look.

  21. Heaven!

    • I really want to try the slow proving bread.

  22. What a great event! I heard of it the other day on Twitter but didn’t know what it involved. Looks fun 🙂

    • I wounder if it happens outside Italy.

  23. similar events are happing here in Italy even outside of the world day, to spread the knowledge, to give out samples of sour dough
    here are some pictures of one of the latest of such events
    Ciao, Ludmilla

    • Thank you for the information. It is great to see this happening.

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