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Bianca Bread: A Versatile Italian Staple

Here's what you need to know about bianca bread, the Roman-style focaccia that's great for sandwiches, antipasto plates, or a simple snack.

bianca bread sandwich

A sandwich served on bianca bread.

Bianca bread, also known as pizza bianca, is a type of Italian flatbread that is made without tomato sauce. It is typically topped with olive oil, salt, and herbs, while ingredients such as cheese, vegetables, and meat have been finding their way onto bianca bread as well.

Where Bianca Bread Comes From

Bianca bread originated in the Lazio region of Italy, and is particularly popular in the city of Rome. It is believed to have been developed as a way to use up leftover pizza dough. It is a popular street food in Italy, where it is commonly served as an appetizer or side dish. Lately, it's been showing up on menus at Italian restaurants and sandwich shops in the United States.

What is Bianca Bread?

Bianca bread is a thin, crispy flatbread with a slightly chewy texture. It is made with wheat flour, water, yeast, salt, and olive oil. The dough is typically kneaded and then allowed to rise before being rolled out and cooked in a hot oven.

bianca bread sandwich
A panini on bianca bread. Photo: Fooding Around is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

How Bianca Bread is Made

To make bianca bread, first combine the flour, water, yeast, and salt in a large bowl. Mix until a dough forms, then knead the dough for 10-15 minutes, or until it is smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

Once the dough has risen, punch it down and divide it in half. Roll out each half into a thin circle, about 12 inches in diameter. Place the dough circles on a lightly greased baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and herbs to taste.

Bake the bianca bread in a preheated oven at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy. Let the bread cool slightly before slicing and serving.

For a more thorough look at how to make bianca bread or pizza bianca, Serious Eats has a guide with detailed instructions.

Use it for Sandwiches

Bianca bread is a versatile bread that can be used for a variety of sandwiches. It is particularly popular for making paninis, which are grilled sandwiches that are often filled with cheese, meat, and vegetables. Bianca bread can also be used to make other types of sandwiches, such as caprese sandwiches, which are made with fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil.

In addition to being used for sandwiches, bianca bread can also be used to make other dishes, such as pizza, crostini, and bruschetta. It's also great served plain with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Tips for Making Bianca Bread

  • For a more flavorful bianca bread, use whole wheat flour or bread flour instead of all-purpose flour.
  • If you don't have a pizza stone, you can bake the bianca bread on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Be careful not to overbake the bianca bread, or it will become hard and dry.
  • For a crispy crust, brush the bianca bread with olive oil before baking.
  • Bianca bread can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two days.

Bianca bread is a delicious and versatile Italian flatbread that can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. It is easy to make at home, and is a great addition to any meal.

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