Some interesting details about ovens and their bread ..

oven Ornetto (V)For generations now, men and women have dedicated much of their time into making bread. Not only wheat was used, but also corn, rye, barley, and chestnuts.

Cereal bread (pane di u ranellu) was usually barley, rye or wheat.

‘U pane pisticcinu’ or ‘pane castagninu’ was made entirely from chestnuts – it had the disadvantage of being conserved but a short time.

In the old days, baking was once a week and usually on a Saturday. Homemade bread (pane casanu) was made in the family oven (u furnu), if there was one of course. Otherwise, it was made beside the church in what was called ‘u furnu di campana’, beside the bell tower. Women used the ovens collectively, taking turns and were in charge of the firewood for heating. Waiting around the oven door was ideal for  chatting and catching up on the week’s news.

From the early Middle Ages, and up to the XIX century, the church imposed many taxes upon the farmers in the form of tithes and firstfruits. The donations (although optional) took on the appearance of a bond that lasted far too long.

Consequently, when each family baked their bread on a Saturday, a portion was reserved for the priest, or the monks from nearby monasteries.    Oven Cauro (V)

Abbot Gaudin reported that in 1787, the sixty-three convents that accommodated 1100 monks, and whose livelihood depended on the Corsican people, weighed heavily on economic life of the island.

As for the village priest, every Sunday he sent his servant to each house, in order to collect the bread that had been reserved for him – and in exchange, every Monday he would say mass for the dead from the village, or the parish. This is why this bread was called ‘u pane di u purgatoriu’ ! (purgatory bread) oven Pietracorbara (V)

Text: U Corsu
Source: Vescovato U Viscuvatu Casinca Corse

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