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Plymouth, MA Italian-Portuguese flatbread

I know this is going to be a long shot, but its worth a try. There are a few Italian and Portuguese bakeries in Plymouth, MA that sell this round flatbread that has minced meats cooked into it. I'm trying to get the proper spelling of the name and or recipe. They call it Gnoch bread (sp?). sounds like nioke like in Gnocchi.

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  1. You're in luck that I'm visiting home for the 4th and came across your post! Clyde's in North Plymouth has one with chorico, IIRC. It's not as good as I remember from years back, but still pretty addictive.

    I see a lot of proscuitto bread in Brooklyn, NY but never recall seeing in the North End, Boston.

    1. Are you thinking of lebanese meat pies? Triangular shaped pita bread with finely ground hamburg or chourico/linguica in it. They also have round flatbread with spices and sesame seeds called meneach.

      1 Reply
      1. re: mrsNEPATSfan

        nope. it's not at all the same thing.

        and clyde's version is actually linguica

      2. My husband grew up in Plymouth...said to try Balboni's. Don't know if you could find a recipe. Except maybe from one of the bakeries in town.

        1. My husband's family spent their summers in Plymouth and often bought the bread you refer to. Back in the 60's and 70's it was available in several places made by the Balboni's. It is from Northern Italy called Gnoccho or Crescente. I enjoy baking bread and have been trying to master the recipe for years. We had been told years ago that the Balboni's wouldn't give it out. Just today we were in Plymouth and stopped at Clyde's. I had been hoping that with the new version clearly not measuring up that maybe we could get the recipe, but no such luck. The current version available at Clyde's is now made by them (I inadvertently insulted the baker!). They apparently have always been the source of the meat which is mixed cold cuts that they grind. (I actually use proscuitto per my mother-in-law's knowledge of how it is made in Bologna.) My family says I make a better version than the one currently available, but it's still a work in progress. I could share my recipe if anyone is interested and would appreciate any thoughts from those who know the original bread.

          8 Replies
          1. re: gnoccho girl

            I remember the original bread to have assorted diced meats, peppercorns and very chewy dough that was crunchy on the top and edges and soft in the middle. If you got there at the right time of day, around noon, you would be rewarded with bread fresh from the bakery (which was not Clyde's, but the Balboni's). I haven't had anything to compare it to since...the new version is just not the same. I would be very interested in seeing what you have to try to bake some up here in the frozen tundra that is VT...

            1. re: gnoccho girl

              would love recipe.... grew up in plymouth and only get it when vi
              siting

              1. re: gnoccho girl

                I would love to see where your experiments with the bread have taken you. I grew up in Plymouth and the bread we bought at Clyde's called "gnocch" was a family tradition (we ate it every Saturday night.) My recent trips to both Clydes and Pantadosi's (a great butcher shop) have yielded only lack-luster gnocch wanna-bees. Anyway, I am a food writer working on an article about the Bolognese community in Plymouth and would love to see your recipe. My own attempts I have started with focaccia recipes but I think I am going to try beginning with a spianata recipe next (From Lynne Rossetto Kasper).

                1. re: gnoccho girl

                  Hi gnoccho girl, I'm hoping you are describing something I'm trying to find the recipe for. My husband's family is from Republic of San Marino in Italy, which is near Bologna. It is the crescente bread that is small little rounds, first cooked on a griddle, and then continued in the oven. Perhaps your recipe involves a different method, but I would love to hear your version. Please send me the recipe, and then I will try it out. I just ate some last night at a cousin's house, whose mom used to make them. But all the older ladies of the family are deceased and we're basing the recipe on memory. Thanks so much.
                  aggie. Have you ever made Piada, or piadina??? also from the emilio romagna region of italy?

                  1. re: gnoccho girl

                    Hi, Gnoccho Girl!
                    My grandparents lived in North Plymouth (down to one, now) and as a kid my sister and I would treasure the times we could walk down and pick up a fresh loaf during our visits (my memory is probably faulty; I want to remember that we would get it on our trips to the now-defunct Danforth's bakery, but Balboni's was a 5-minute walk from the Grandparents place..). The new version (tried on my last trip out there a year ago) isn't the same; it seems much heavier and with a different flavor profile... I would love to try to recreate this as I know of no other place that sells anything like it, especially in my current home of Arizona. Please let me know how I can receive a copy of the recipe that you're working with. -M-

                    1. re: gnoccho girl

                      I'd love to get the recipe if you are willing to share it.

                      1. re: mchaves12

                        Agree, the new recipe is NOTHING like it used to be! It used to be knobby, thicker and full of black pepper and chorizo. Now it is thinner without even half of the taste. I wish I was better at dough, I don't even know where to start to recreate it at home.

                      2. re: gnoccho girl

                        Hi, I would love to ave a copy of te recipe, I left plymouth around 1973 I really miss the old bakeries in te area

                      3. hi i love this bread have not had it in years used to get it down the cape if you guys are willing to share the recipe with us that would be appreciated thank you really miss this stuff

                        1. oh YES please post the recipe!! I have been trying to find it online for years and no luck. I'd be excited to try your version! Thanks

                          1. The best gnoch in Plymouth can be bought at Mayflower Foods on the corner of South and Obery Streets. Not sure what bakery makes it, but it tastes just like it did when I was a kid.

                            sorry I don't have a recipe.

                            1. Gnocchi Bread...It started as a potatoe based dough and evolved from there..potatoes being more readily available and/or cheaper than flour at different periods in time and according to your cultural background...Gnocchi

                              1. I know what you're talking about. The Balboni family made it and sold it at their store Clyde's. My grandmother would say that the bread was an accident. Her neighbor had only the ends and bits of Italian cold cuts. She chopped it up and included it into the bread dough. Everyone loved it and she started selling it in her North Plymouth neighborhood. My grandma would buy it fresh from the oven for thirty-five cents.

                                The Balboni family recipe was given to the the convenience store in Jabez Corner in Plymouth. They charge $3.50 for the bread and they bake it right there. Clyde's and Skippy does sell gnocchi ( pronounced nouck ) but you can only get Clyde's original from this store. My grandmother ran into one of the Balboni daughters and she told her where to find it. Luckily, she was able to have it one more time before her death last October.

                                I don't think you can find it anywhere in the world except Plymouth, MA and the recipe? You can ask. Good luck.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Kimfer81

                                  Thanks for the info on this, I've never tried this even though I've been going to Plymouth for years. I will check it out!

                                2. Txs Kimmfer81 ! I also used to get the 'Nouck' at Clydes in the old days..lol ! The late 60's to whenever Clydes changed hands...My dad was Scotty's Barber on Main St in Plymouth. And dad loved discovering and introducing me to all different kinds of cultures and food. We'd drive all over for Portuguese bread, Italian, seafood (the fishermen would bring it the house in exchange for haircuts, or whatever culture touched him and his barber chair and or neighborhood..
                                  I researched the Gnocchi bread looking for 'our' local recipe or its origin. Indeed there is a potatoe based bread that is similar, not with the meat though...It is a joy to know its a local invention and can still be found in its original version !!

                                  1. Txs Kimmfer81 ! I also used to get the 'Nouck' at Clydes in the old days..lol ! The late 60's to whenever Clydes changed hands...My dad was Scotty's Barber on Main St in Plymouth. And dad loved discovering and introducing me to all different kinds of cultures and food. We'd drive all over for Portuguese bread, Italian, seafood (the fishermen would bring it the house in exchange for haircuts, or whatever culture touched him and his barber chair and or neighborhood..

                                    I researched the Gnocchi bread looking for 'our' local recipe or its origin. Indeed there is a potatoe based bread that is similar, not with the meat though...It is a joy to know its a local invention and can still be found in its original version !!