Allumiere Yellow bread is characterized by the yellow color of its fine-grained crumb and a strong fragrance of grains. This is due to the use of organically produced durum wheat (Triticum durum). The yellow bread is prepared with semolina, so as to increase the grain’s fine character, mixed with water and natural yeast prepared by a company. Salt is not used to make this bread. The product is made as a flat, rectangular loaf and is prepared in two sizes: a loaf (which is square, though slightly rounded) and the couple (named thus in the Allumiere dialect because it is made of two loaves that have been coupled), which is twice the size of a normal loaf. The making of Allumiere Yellow bread begins with the preparation of a good yeast, obtained from sourdough from the previous day (which is mixed with flour and water and then left over night to ferment). The dough, made from durum wheat semolina, water, and natural yeast, is slowly kneaded for 20 minutes. The loaves are left to rise on wooden tables and covered with linen or cotton cloths. Both forms of the bread are left to rise for two hours at room temperature. To cook the bread, chestnut wood is used in a wood-burning stove in which the bakers prepare the sbracio, or an even distribution of the ashes on the oven floor which is then removed with a mondelo (a wooden cane with a wet dishcloth used to eliminate the dust and residual ashes). The cooking time is about one hour. Allumiere became an independent town in 1825 thanks to Pope Leon XIII. It is thanks to him as well that numerous bakeries were opened here to prepare bread for all the local citizens; even today there is still a working bakery in Allumiere that dates back to 1870. Tolfa Yellow bread is known and canonized today as Allumiere Yellow bread. The historic production area is found in Tolfa and Allumiere, two towns near Rome. The bread is currently for sale in artisan bakeries in both Allumiere and Tolfa. This bread risks disappearing because its very survival depends on the good will and knowledge of these artisan bakers.
Image: © Marco Del Comune & Oliver Migliore