Black bread, authenticity, types and trends
Black bread refers to several different types of bread, from the kind typical in Northern Italy, often recommended for those following a diet low in calories, to the new trend of including charcoal in the dough (reducing intestinal gas and giving a distinctive dark colour to the loaf, hence “black”). An unusual example of black bread is that of Castelvetrano, Slow Food recognized and a gem of centuries-old tradition, made with “tumminìa”, a rare variety of local durum wheat, and always using wholemeal flour.
The types of bread most commonly known as “black”, baked with rye flours, are a peasant dish once eaten by the less well-off, and are widespread in the Alpine regions of the northernmost Italian borders. In Alto Adige black breads are called Vinschger Paarl (“pairbread”, due to its form of two buns joined together), Schüttelbroto or “shakenbread”, as it is beaten when 2/3 risen, and Pusterer Breatl, originating in the Puster Valley. In Valtellina it traditionally goes under the names ciambella and Brizzaldella. It is delicious with all kinds of fillings, an ideal accompaniment to regional dishes, and the black version is lower in kilocalories than others: the calories in black bread are only 219 kcal per 100g, compared to 269 for white.