This bread from The Italian Baker uses what it calls a "starter" but it's not a sourdough starter. It's a pre-ferment using commercial yeast. The long pre-ferment adds a lot of flavor and the method of rising in a basket adds texture to the surface of the bread.
'The Italian Baker' on Serious Eats
When you think about potatoes, Italy is probably not the first country you think of. But that doesn't mean potatoes aren't grown there. I mean, there's gnocchi, right? So why not use potatoes in bread as well?
I'd never heard of Italian cornbread before I saw this recipe in The Italian Baker. This bread is nothing like American cornbread. It isn't soft or squishy or sweet. The bread is very dense, very firm.
Semelle are little rolls from Florence where the dough is used to make several different buns including some that require special cutters. This recipe from The Italian Baker is astonishingly easy (you don't need the special cutters) and the results are pretty darned good.
Grissini Torinesi, or breadsticks from Turin, are not thin, delicate breadsticks. These are country-style thick and possibly knobby sticks, perfect for the new baker who hasn't mastered perfect shaping skills. And even if your skills are good, these sticks from The Italian Baker stretch when you lift them, making it nearly impossible to shape them perfectly, which is just fine.