Marco Bianco of Pizzeria Bianco on Heirloom Wheat and What Makes Great Bread

Categories: Chef and Tell

Lauren Saria
Marco Biano at Pane Bianco in front of a portrait painted by his father, Leonard.
Marco Bianco, Bread Baker
Pizzeria Bianco
623 East Adams Street

This is the first part of our interview with Marco Bianco, the bread baker for the Bianco restaurants. Today, we get the scoop on Arizona's heirloom wheat and Bianco's thoughts about bread's big comeback. Be sure to return tomorrow when he dishes on his brother Chris -- the pizza savant -- as a child and how their parents met.

See also:
- Tastemaker 45: Marco Bianco
- - Chris Bianco to Open Pizzeria Bianco in Tucson This Fall
- In A New Space Behind Pane Bianco, Hayden Flour Mills Is Back In Action

Lauren Saria
Bianco's bread and a piece of wheat
It doesn't take much to get Marco Bianco talking about the intricate science of bread baking. In fact, the simplest question (for example, "What do you do?") will be enough to set him on a speech about the importance of fermentation, perfect timing, and practice.

As bread baker for Pizzeria Bianco, Trattoria Bianco and Pane Bianco, he's responsible for pulling between 200 and 300 crusty loaves of bread out of the oven at Pane Bianco every day. Though he does the baking for all the restaurants, he does most of his work out of Pane Bianco. Preparing that much bread means constantly working a day or two ahead, lots of planning, and a great sense of timing. Bianco compares baking bread to surfing: A baker must know when the bread's yeast has created the perfect amount of fermentation, the same way a surfer has to catch a wave just before it crests. Wait too long and the bread loses flavor; you've missed the wave. Go too early and it won't have the perfect texture; you get crushed.

"I'm a good baker," he'll admit. "But I'm doing it backwards"

Location Info

Pizzeria Bianco

623 E. Adams St., Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Trattoria Bianco

4743 N. 20th St., Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Pane Bianco

4404 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant

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Hr Hamada
Hr Hamada

baker extraordinaire and birthday boy


Adam Mandell:  OVERRATED?  Where have you gone for pizza?  My second post.  Even OPRAH (I don't follow her) even came to Phoenix to taste his Pizza.  How about that?


While I agree that Pizzeria Bianco is a fantastic place serving great pizza, I can't give any credence to the fact that a few television celebrities have raved about it. What makes oprah an expert on pizza, or any food for that matter?

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