What is a bread stamp?

The fascinating history of the bread stamps is rich in traditions and popular beliefs. Until the mid-twentieth century the inhabitants of the Sassi baked the bread in public wood ovens. This means that every housewife kneaded the dough with water, flour, salt and yeast in their homes. Once ready, the oven boy passed door by door asking for it. He carried the dough to these ancient wood-burning furnaces to be baked. But the housewife really needed to be sure her bread was not confused with other housewives’ one. It would have been very serious! The bread, the basic element of each dish, served to feed the entire family and was supposed to last for up to one week. You can understand that she could have not risked that something went wrong.

Each woman prepared it with the utmost care. She let the dough rise in the warm bed where her husband had slept. It’s not just for the heat, but because she believed that bed was magical and sacred. It represented the love and the birth of a new life. On the dough she marked a cross sign and then said a prayer

Cresci pane, cresci bene come crebbe Gesù nelle fasce. Nel nome del Padre, del Figlio e dello Spirito Santo

Grow well bread, grow well how Jesus grew up in bands. In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit

And finally she marked the dough with a bread stamp. This wooden stamp has the initials of the head of the family at the base to give the hallmark to the loaves.

Made by the shepherds who were out to pasture for days, the stamps of bread are about 20 cm high depicting flowering branches, hens and stylization of the female figures (symbols of prosperity), roosters, dogs and male figures (symbols of virility), but also sacred and architectural elements symbols.

The stamp of bread was also used as a token of love from suitor to the woman he loves. If willing, she kept and used it. But if the girl returned it to the poor young man there was no hope that the damsel would accept the proposal. Ouch!
Still exist many artisans who make the stamps of bread such as those used once. We remind you the stamps of Massimo Casiello that is in Via S. Francesco da Paola Vecchio, 15.. He can customize it with your initials and maybe finally you will find the courage to step forward with your love!

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