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Our partner from Sicilia Integra programme bakes the most sought-after bread in Italy

In a village of just 11 inhabitant’s Maurizio Spinello was labelled ‘crazy’ when in 1999 he decided to open a bakery. From the 1960’s, the village of Santa Rita had become a ghost town as people slowly migrated outwards to find work elsewhere, but this did not deter Maurizio who, with a bank loan set up his micro-bakery and who’s gourmet bread is now considered the ‘best in Sicily’ and sought after throughout Italy.

His first approach was to sell to a chain of supermarkets and shops in neighbouring towns where he made a massive 250 kilos of bread a day, using his own van to make the low-cost-bread deliveries. However seven years later saw Maurizio take a new direction, using ancient Sicilian grains, rather than the faster growing GM grains, to make organic flours, he started on a less conventional journey that would see him search half of Sicily to find the ‘right’ millstone to process the grain. His bread is yeast free, so it stays fresh for 15 days and only contains flour, water, salt and a raising agent from sourdough that has already risen. Each time he makes the dough, he keeps a little for the next batch ensuring the cycle never stops before baking the bread in a traditional terracotta oven, fuelled by olive and almond wood and now quality certified by AIAB – the Italian Association of Organic Farming.

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Sicilia Integra is Gaia Education's Project-Based Learning programme aiming to support the socio-economic integration of migrants arriving in Sicily through sustainable community and agro-ecology capacity building activities. Read more about the programme here.