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GOOD TIMES: By bread alone

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By Chuck Agonito
Posted Thursday, February 23, 2012

We have talked about bread before. I admit to knowing nothing about making dough or baking bread. I disposed of the deluxe bread machine I was given. Didn’t matter if I used scratch ingredients or a quality bread mix, my end result was more like a rock than a loaf of bread.

Normal bread in Geneva has already achieved legendary status in the world of artisan breads, and I enjoy Dustin Cutler’s creations. I never eat plain white store-bought American bread.

I can live just fine with one kind of bread. That would be Italian, either round or traditional loaf. Those loaves baked by supermarket chain stores will not do. They are usually mushy or doughy, and turn into sawdust one day later.

Breads I buy have a real crust and a chewy center with an almost nut-like flavor. Days later, this bread will still make great toast. Like I said, I have no idea how these qualities are achieved, or why supermarkets cannot make bread like this.

Lucky for me I have found two bakers who meet my criteria for Italian bread. Martusciello’s opened in 1959 and has a large store and bakery on Lyell Avenue in Rochester. They are open seven days a week. Some other Rochester bakeries may be more familiar to you, but Martusciello’s breads are clear winners. In Geneva, Madia’s Big M carries this brand, but only on Saturday mornings.

I have found an equally good bread source for the other days of the week, and it is in downtown Seneca Falls. Pat Sandroni owns Nonni’s Italian Imports at 55 Fall St. He has some special meats and cheeses, homemade sausage and meatballs, and pastries. He offers freshly baked bread Tuesday to Saturday.

His breads also meet all my standards- great crust, chewy inside, and long-lasting. When I ask what makes his bread so good, he just says “Ann.” He gives full credit to his wife for the bread; she bakes it each morning next door at the Downtown Deli.

As if I wasn’t addicted enough, the Sandronis also sell containers of ltalian herbs and spices- just add their blend to your favorite oil and start dipping.

The only problem I have with both these breads is they never make it home intact. Passengers in my car, and sometimes the driver too, rip these loaves apart.