A Great Italian Bread.
I so rarely buy bread now. Except for Very Special Bread and sourdough. I sometimes love to make my own. I don’t do it every week, mind you, although there have been times in my life where I have made bread several times per week.
I first cooked this bread in 2001 – it is an oldie but a goodie from my old Food Matters site. It is a wonderful, beautiful flavoured, light textured but very crusty bread. The basis of the recipe is from Giuliano Bugialli, but I have altered it somewhat across the years.
As with all breads, you can play. You can mix and match.
Flour Experiment with different flours. I have made this with white flour and with a grain flour. Both great. The real difference in the bread will come in the quality of the flour that you use – try to get some organic flour or flour from your bulk or health shop. My local ones – Goodies and Grains in the Central Market and the Organic Shop on The Parade in Norwood have wonderful ranges of flours to play and experiment with. I have added up to half a cup of semolina flour too – especially after I made Semolina Pasta. Semolina flour in bread gives it a great crust. Make sure it is semolina flour, though. Try sprinkling your loaf with it before baking for a great look and a great crust.
Oil You can play with different oils too – Olive, Walnut, Grapeseed etc. Each will provide just a subtle change of flavour. Personally I don’t use mustard or chilli oils etc in bread – I want my bread to taste like bread. But you can if you want………
Salt Use Celtic Sea Salt if you can find it. I use it exclusively at home. A wonderful mineralised salt, slightly grey in colour, with an excellent taste. Food IS different with a good salt. If you are in a part of the world that does not have Celtic Sea Salt available to you, visit your markets and taste the salt until you find one that you find exquisite. For example, Borough Markets in London. I grind my sea salt by hand in my old and trusty mortar.
Pane di Prato
Making the bread this time, I used a multi-grain flour from my organic shop, and cooked in an old fish steamer with lid, as it was just right for the elongated shape I chose for the bread.
|Starter||1 cup bakers flour||4 tspn dry yeast|
|0.5 cups tepid water|
|Dough||2.5 cup bakers flour||pinch salt|
|up to 1 cup tepid water|
Starter: Put the flour for the starter sponge in a large bowl and make a well in it. Dissolve the yeast in the water and pour into the well and mix with a wooden spoon or by hand, incorporating the flour to make a thick batter. Cover with a towel and let rest in a warm, draft free place for up to 12 hours. This can be done in the morning or night before.
Rising: When ready to make the bread, add the sponge, water, salt and flour to the breadmaker and, on the “dough only” setting, allow to knead and rise. Rest for 15 minutes after the breadmaker has finished its cycle.
To cook: Preheat the oven to 220C. Find a pot that is oven proof and is more than large enough to hold the dough. It is good if it has a lid, otherwise fashion one out of tin foil. Preheat the pot in the oven for 20 – 30 minutes. (Alternatively you can cook on an oven tray or on preheated unglazed terracotta tiles lining the bottom shelf of the oven.)
Turn the dough out on a floured board and knead lightly. It is Ok to incorporate a little more flour. Shape the dough as desired and leave to rise for another 30 – 60 minutes.
Place the dough into your preheated pot, cover and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the lid and continue to bake for around 30 more minutes or until browned and cooked.
Alternatively place the dough onto the oven tray or tiles and bake for around 45 minutes until cooked.
Cool (if you can be patient) on a rack. HOWEVER there is nothing like warm bread with home made jam, or just with butter, or with the Provolone left over from the Semolina Pasta.
People are Saying:
Cooking for the Young, Broke and Clueless says in a post of his favourite links:
This bread looks yummy.
Read some more:
- Fiordizucca makes a Pane alle barbabietole - bread with beetroot! Scroll down to see the English version of the recipe.
The Bread Series
- Bruschetta al Pomodoro
- No-Knead Quick Focaccia
- Pane di Prato – a great Italian bread
- Rosemary Focaccia Sheet