Tag Archives: Italy

Thriving through boundaries.

Sometimes we take decisions which lead us towards a less comfortable situation, pushing our boundaries so that we can grow into e new version of ourselves.  This often takes some kind of courage and, therefore, it’s not an easy thing to do. We like our good and bad habits because we know what to expect. But the nicest things happen when we thing outside the box.

In the past three years I’ve been learning about how to become a teacher, which at first felt pretty uncomfortable, in the same way I had some issues calling myself a photographer after twenty years of experience shooting in studio. But learning to become a better teacher might have made me a better version of myself, and perhaps a better photographer.  I don’t know, but I’d like to think so. Anyway, it feels good to look back and realize that we are not in the same place we were not long ago, as a really good friend said to me.

Just above the city…

It’s becoming a good habit of mine, to walk around town with a friend, my dog and my camera. Usually, you are so familiar with the place you live in that several things can get unnoticed, especially small things. The camera often works as a magnifying glass, where ordinary things gain importance while they are put into a different context. You choose and select the world around you in order to create a sequence of images which convey a personal vision and tell a unique story.

Around Genoa with my personal assistent…

All about light!

The more I photograph, the more I realize my pictures are all about light. So, when I manage to get the same lighting I use in the studio in an outdoor location, with natural light, then I feel as if I’ve just received the best gift.
In this shot the lighting is just perfect. Unfortunately, when I got home I realized that the picture was blurred. So tomorrow I ‘m going back to shoot with a tripodi the same picture. Finger crossed…

How are you?

How are you? I just wanted to say hello! It has been a while…I wanted to write something, but I didn’t quite know what to say. This is such a difficult time. We are all dealing with uncertanty and fear and at the same time, we are trying to get things done, while adapting to new realities.

In Italy, as you know, we have been in lockdown for some time. I’m currently teaching online. I had to learn how to do it quickly, just like many other teachers. I live in an apartment with my dog and two cute cats. I talk to my friends on video and with my lovely neighbour on my balcony :-).

I’ve decided to spend most of my time in lockdown to learn new skills. This is helpful, it keeps my mind occupied and relaxes me. Photography is also very helpful when I face hard times, so you’ll probably see me a bit more often on this blog, from now on, as I’m thinking to start a lockdown project.

I just hope that you are all well and safe.  If anyone needs to talk, I’ll be here. I’ll be available. Stay safe at home and use creativity in order to feel free.

Lots of love from Italy XX

Serena

 

Taking a Break

Yesterday, a friend and I decided to take a break. We had lunch at a nice coffee shop and walked for a couple of hours.  Sometimes you just have to take a walk to clear your mind, relax and recharge your energy….

Yes, this was the view! 🙂

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Do you have a favourite place when you feel like to take a break?

Bread making: choosing the right flour.

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  1. A good dough depends on the quality of the flour used. A good stone ground flour preserves most of the original nutritional values of the cereals.
  2. A few important factors determine the quality of a particular flour: tolerance to fermentation, good ability to absorb water, good consistency, extensibility and resistance.
  3. There are weak (soft) and strong (hard) flours. It’s important to understand the difference between these types of flour in order to use them in the best possible way.
  4. The strength of a flour is determined by the amount of protein (gluten) contained in the product. The higher the amount of protein (gluten), the stronger the flour.
  5. Weak flours have low protein (gluten) content and poor water absorption ability, consequently they are less active when leavening. For these reasons weak flours are mainly used for simple and dry preparations (e.g.to make cookies or bread sticks), while strong flours (e.g. manitoba) are used in more elaborate leavening processes.
  6. A plain strong flour dough is harder to work, therefore less extensible than a weaker one.

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Understanding flour strength.

In Italy, flour strength is indicated by a number followed by W. The W number is usually not indicated on the packaging of the product you buy at the supermarket. it’s possible to understand the strength of a flour by looking at the protein content indicated on the packaging.

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Below you will find some reference data that might help you to understand the relationship between protein, flour strengths (W) and their uses.

 

  • W
  • Protein
  • Use
  • 90/130
  • 9/10,5
  • Cookies (dough with baking powder)
  • 130/200
  • 10/11
  • Breadsticks, Crackers
  • 170/200
  • 10,5/11,5
  • Ciabatta, sandwich, focaccia bread, pizza, plain bread dough (with yeast or baking powder)
  • 220/240
  • 12/12,5
  • Baguettes, ciabatta bread, bread dough ( with yeast or baking powder) and biga (or sourdough) 5/6 h rising time
  • 300/310
  • 13
  • Worked bread, pastry dough with biga (or sourdough) up to 15 h rising time
  • 340/400
  • 13,5/15
  • Puffed bread, Pandoro, Panettone, dough leavened with long fermentation, pastry dough with biga (or sourdough) over 15 h rising time

The data shown here was taken from the teaching material of the Cereal Technology Course at Parma University (Italy), courtesy of Prof. Franco Antoniazzi.

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Guida alle farine.

  1. Un buon impasto dipende dalla qualità della farina utilizzata. Una buona farina ottenuta dalla macinazione in pietra (il metodo tradizionale) preserva al meglio le proprietà e i valori nutrizionali dei cereali macinati.
  2. Le caratteristiche da ricercare in una buona farina per fare il pane sono: tollerabilità alla fermentazione, buon assorbimento dell’acqua, buona consistenza, estensibilità dell’impasto e resistenza alla lavorazione.
  3. Esistono farine deboli e forti. E’ importante capire la differenza tra queste farine per utilizzarne al meglio le caratteristiche.
  4. Il fattore di panificabilità, o forza di panificazione, dipende dal contenuto di proteine (glutine) nella farina. Più alta è la percentuale di proteine contenuta nella farina e maggiore è la forza di panificazione.
  5. Le farine deboli hanno un basso contenuto di glutine, scarsa capacità di assorbimento dell’acqua e di conseguenza reagiscono meno attivamente alla lievitazione. Le farine deboli vengono quindi utilizzate nelle lavorazioni più fini e secche (per fare i biscotti o grissini), mante le farine forti (ad esempio la manitoba) si utilizzano per le lievitazioni più lunghe ed elaborate.
  6. Un impasto semplice, fatto con la farina forte, è più tenace e meno estensibile di un impasto fatto con la farina debole.

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Capire la forza delle farine.

In Italia, la forza della farina si indica con un numero seguito da W. Nella confezione al supermercato non troverete questi parametri riportati sulla confezione. E’ possibile però farsi un’idea sulla forza di panificazione della farina leggendo le percentuali di proteine riportate sulla confezione del prodotto.

In questa tabella troverete alcuni dati di riferimento per capire meglio il rapporto tra le proteine,la  forza di panificazione (W) delle farine e i loro utilizzi.

  • W
  • Proteine
  • Utilizzo
  • 90/130
  • 9/10,5
  • Biscotti ad impasto diretto (con lievito chimico)
  • 130/200
  • 10/11
  • Grissini, Crackers
  • 170/200
  • 10,5/11,5
  • Pane comune, impasto diretto (cioè con lievito chimico o lievito di birra), ciabatte, pancarré, pizze, focacce, fette biscottate
  • 220/240
  • 12/12,5
  • Baguettes, pane comune a impasto diretto (cioè con lievito chimico o lievito di birra), maggiolini, ciabatte a impasto diretto e biga di 5/6 h
  • 300/310
  • 13
  • Pane lavorato, pasticceria lievitata con biga di 15 h e impasto diretto
  • 340/400
  • 13,5/15
  • Pane soffiato, pandoro, panettone, lievitati a lunga fermentazione, pasticceria lievitata con biga oltre le 15 h

I dati riportati nella tabella sono stati presi dal materiale didattico del corso di Tecnologia dei Cereali dell’Univeristà di Parma, per gentile concessione del Prof. Franco Antoniazzi.

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