Sweetbread is the term with which a gland, the thymus, is identified; this is present in young animals (the calf and the lamb) and disappears with adulthood. The sweetbread looks like a globous mass. Its weight is around a pound if of veal, if of lamb, about 2 ounces. The sweetbread belongs to the category of white offal and, like these, it should be consumed when it is very fresh, otherwise, it tends to ferment.
It is all the more valuable, the younger the animal it comes from. The edible part is the «walnut», with a slightly elongated shape, which can be cut into medallions and escalopes. Before using it, the sweetbread should be left in cold water for a few hours, changing the water every time it acquires a pink color (an indication that the sweetbread continues to purify itself); then it is cooked in boiling water and deprived of the film that covers it and the nervous filaments. It is good stir-fried, breaded, or used as an ingredient in a finanziera, a traditional stew from Piedmont.