History of Bread
Always, the Bread represents the staple food for the population of Alta Murgia. Among the many varieties on the market, available in different shapes and variations, Altamura bread stands out for its properties that make it famous throughout Italy: the crispness of the characteristic brown crust, the softness of the bread with its typical yellow color, the high digestibility and excellent conservation.
That’s why in 2003 the European Union has obtained the Protected Designation of Origin *. Even the Latin poet Horace, in his “Satires” (37 A.C.), wrote about the bread of Altamura, so tasty and appreciated by travelers of the time, they used to take it back in their movements, as it had a shelf life of two weeks. In the past our farmers and shepherds used to do large stocks of bread homemade and because of the work in the fields or in the pastures, they knew they had to spend entire weeks away from home, often in lost masserie on the hills of the Murgia. In an ancient city statute, dating back to 1527, numerous paragraphs are dedicated to the “duties” of the bakers, as well as the taxes that they were required to pay to the authorities.
The original recipe has been passed down from generation to generation, from mother to daughter. The women kneaded bread at home, but went to bake it at the public wood ovens. To avoid confusion with the others, each loaf was marked with the initials of the owner, “the head of the family”, which were reported on an iron stamp. It was the baker himself who then distributed the loaves of bread, carried on a long wooden plank, to their respective housewives, to whom he announced the delivery, calling them loudly from the street. His fee consisted of a piece of raw pasta (the so-called “cecì”).