Buccellato: The Raisin Bread of Lucca That Inspired a Local Proverb

Wed, 01/31/2024 - 07:30
Buccellato
Buccellato in Lucca / Photo: EQRoy via Shutterstock
Difficulty Level
Low
Cooking Time
40 minutes, plus 1 ½ hours to let the dough rest
Cost
Low

Simple to make and not too sweet, buccellato is a traditional dessert bread of Lucca. There’s even a local saying about it: Chi viene a Lucca e non mangia il buccellato è come non ci fosse mai stato (“Anyone who comes to Lucca and doesn’t eat buccellato is as if they’ve never been there”.) 

The name buccellato comes from the term for “morsel” used in ancient Rome. Back then, buccellatum was a donut-shaped loaf of individual rolls baked together. The modern version, though, dates to the mid-15th century and was created for Lucchese nobility by a local baker.

Flavored with raisins, a touch of anise seeds and a delicate honey glaze, this delicious aromatic bread is a local classic after meals, accompanied by a glass of Vin Santo. But some Tuscans also enjoy it as a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack, or toasted for breakfast. 

Serves 8

Ingredients
3 cups all purpose flour, plus more as needed
1 cup whole milk, room temperature
1 package yeast
¼ cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon anise seeds
2 tablespoons butter, melted, plus more for the pan
¾ cup raisins
1 egg
2 teaspoons honey
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Instructions

Put the flour in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and add the milk and yeast. Stir the yeast until it dissolves and starts to bubble, then mix in the sugar, salt, anise seeds and butter and raisins until dough forms. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes, cover with a cloth and let rise for about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 F.  On a lightly floured work surface, form the dough into a thick log and put it onto a lightly buttered parchment paper on a sheet pan. Connect the two ends of the log into a circle. Let rest for 15 minutes. Beat the egg and honey until well combined, then brush the bread with the mixture.  

Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted into a section comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack before slicing.