Moddizzosu Bread

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Moddizzosu bread (pane moddizzosu) is a typical bread of the Barbagia di Seulo area. It is a fresh, round bread that once cooked lasts for a week (or 10 days maximum). It has always been made exclusively with semolina and a frammentu, a mother dough starter, and cooked in a wood-burning oven with aromatic wood. It is made in two sizes, su civargiu with dimensions of 700 – 800 g, and sa civargedda of 300 – 400 g. It is locally enriched with potatoes (sadali) and, in season, with gerda (fried pork fat), to make civargedda cun erda. In all of Barbagia, but mainly in Seulo and in Esterzili it is used to make a stuffed bread with gerda called sa coccoi de erda.   Breadmaking in the region is a traditional activity with ancient origins documented by the large presence of archaeological artifacts dating back to the Nuragic Age (between 1900–730 BC) used in making bread, such as pestles and stamps for bread found in Esterzili. Moddizzosu bread has ancient origins and is documented regionally since the Sardinian Middle Age, though Barbagia the history and recipes of the product were passed down orally. The product influenced the craftsmanship and architecture so much that in historically, many houses had an entire area dedicated only to breadmaking and many towns had communal ovens for breadmaking. An inevitable element of a home’s breadmaking tools was the mesa ‘e fairi pani, or the “table for making bread” made of local walnut wood or other hardwoods. Still today some tables more than a century old are in use, and still used to make bread   The oral tradition in Barbagia is rich with proverbs and sayings that refer to bread. Some are: Pani e casu e binu a rasu. Bread, cheese and a full glass of wine: A saying indicating abundance but also used as an invitation. Deu non cou a pani purrili. I don’t put bread in to the oven if it hasn’t risen well: The response that a mother gives to those who would ask to marry a girl who is too young. Pani pappau, pani scaresciu. Eaten bread is forgotten bread: An invitation to not regret something good squandered. Candu su pani si saccada, suettura ddi mancada. When bread cracks during the baking, it wasn’t worked well: A saying refering to a poorly behaved child. Indi fai’ sa perda a pani. Able to turn a rock into bread: Said of a person unable to give up. Ha pappau pani de setti forrusu. He has eaten bread from seven ovens: Refers to a sneaky or crafty person. Cini teni pani non porta’dentisi, cini porta’dentisi non teni pani. Who has bread has no teeth, who has teeth has no bread: Meaning good opportunities that never happen at the right time.   Moddizzosu bread is still made in the artisanally in the home and by some commercial bakeries using wood-burning ovens, a starter dough, and capelli wheat flour. The bread is also used in traditional dishes filled with local fried pork fat or walnuts. Few households still make bread for daily use (about one in twenty), with about one in five making it more occasionally. Home production of this traditional bread has seen a progressive decline since the 1960s, with the appearance in the 1950s of the first semi-industrial bakeries, until the 1990s. Currently, production is stable but it is produced in much smaller quantities compared to the past. 

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Bread and baked goods