PANIFICIO LONGONI // BAKERY
With a friend from Finland and another one from Portugal, we often had this discussion about the bread in Italy. We all 3 agree on the fact that we can find better bread in France. I never understood why though, cause Italians make the best pizza crust I have ever tasted.
We tried a couple of times to explain to our Italian friends why, but without managing to express it properly. And when we started mentioning the moisture of the crumb, they were looking at us with eyes wide-open, lol.
For us, the Italian bread texture looks often like “air”, like eating nothing. I tried so many varieties of bread, from different regions, including the ones with no salt, that I feel authorized to say in general the bread in Italy is like that.
I will confess though, the bread in France has became less tasty with the last oven regulations and the cost optimization strategy. 20 years ago, you could find a good baguette everywhere, now if you don’t select the right place, you end with a “last minute put in the electric oven” frozen baguette (supermarket) or a baguette with ready-made dough (franchised bakery). After one hour, the baguette is disgusting and has this air consistency as well, coupled with a sour taste.
However, it does not prevent us from finding good bakeries and eating good bread everyday. I remember my autumn bread with chestnuts inside with envy; I could buy it whenever I wish…
A couple of times, I brought back some cheese from France for tasting events and I was not sure where to go to get good bread. I heard a few people mentioning Eataly, but it’s a bit far from home. Bread is something that you should be able to buy everyday, it’s a convenient product. I feel in Italy good bread is (or became ?) almost a luxury goods, and to find it, you need to look to trendy place that promote elaboration method from the ancient time.
Recently, one of my teacher mentioned Longoni when he heard I was living in Piazzale Libia area.
One day I went there.
It’s not easy to find the place, I tried to go there once without checking the exact address first and could not find it. But when I went there for the second time, I understood why: there is no big sign, the window is covered with a curtain; you barely feel authorized to go there even if I heard they do aperitivo.
The place is quite small, I can’t remember anything “wow effect” from a visual aspect.
I asked them what would be their specialties: they show me some bread with raisins (that I could even tasted), one with spelt and one made with old grains. But this latter was so big, that I was not imagining myself, asking them to cut even a little piece. So I bought some of the spelt one and I have to say: it’s the best bread I found in Milan so far. You have this firmness I like: the crumb is heavy enough but still light, perfect moisture, the crust is crispy.
They use lievito madre (better for the digestion) and flour processed on stone mill (so you keep all the aromas and the good minerals from the rind).
Last, they bake those old grain breads which are supposed to be better for the health, as not using the standard wheat with a high gluten concentration (facilitating the rise but “killing” your stomach) and 42 chromosomes (vs.14 for the ancient wheat, generating proteins you’re not used to process).
If you live in the area, and look for some nice bread, I recommend you to go there.
I never tried the aperitivo there, I heard it’s simple, but will try next summer, as I believe they have a terrace.
address: Via Gerolamo Tiraboschi, 19, Milano
tel: +39 02 9163 8069