Pane Toscano - First Recipe

(Tuscan Bread) 

Translated and adapted from Pane e Roba Dolce by the Sorelli Simili.  According to the Similli sisters, this bread can be made from the poorest of ingredients, and does not even need salt.   Note that it is important to mix and knead this dough as little as possible, or risk forming too strong a gluten which will, in turn, work against the taste and aroma of the bread.

Ingredients - Starter - Stage I 

 3/4 Tsp. Yeast - active dry or 3/10th of a small cake yeast (5 g)
3/4 Cup Water - (180 ml)
2 1/4 Cups Flour - unbleached-all purpose (300 g)

Dissolve the yeast in 3/4 cup water and allow it to stand for approximately 5-10 minutes. Add the unbleached all-purpose flour (2 1/4 cups), and mix until the ingredients are amalgamated, being careful not to over mix. Cover the leaven and allow it to remain at room temperature for 20-24 hours.

 Ingredients - Starter - Stage II 

3/8 Cup Water (50 ml)
All Starter  From Above
3/4 Cup Flour - all purpose unbleached (100 g)

Loosen the starter from above by adding 3/8 cup water and mixing it gently.  Add the unbleached all-purpose flour (3/4 cup), and continue to mix until the ingredients are amalgamated, being careful not to over mix.  Cover the starter and allow it to remain at room temperature for 20-24 hours.

Dough:   

1/4 Tsp. Yeast - active dry or 1/10th of a small cake yeast (2 g)
3/4 Cup Water - warm (180 ml)
All Starter From above 
1 3/4 Cups + 2 Tbl. Flour - unbleached-all purpose (250 g)

Procedure

Dissolve the yeast in 3/4 cup water and allow it to stand for approximately 5-10 minutes. Add the starter from above and loosen it by gently mixing the ingredients until they are amalgamated. The mixture will have the consistency of porridge. Add the unbleached all-purpose flour (1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons), and gently knead until a smooth dough is obtained. 

Dust a linen or cotton towel with flour. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Gently flatten the dough into a large circle. Using your thumbs as a guide, lift the dough from the top and carefully roll it  toward you into a fat cylinder. Place the dough seam side down on the floured towel. Dust the top of the dough with flour and wrap the towel around the dough as if you were wrapping a package.>Allow the dough to rise for at least 1 1/2 hours. The dough is ready to be baked when the surface is covered with cracks and gaps. 

As the dough is rising, place a baking stone in the oven and set the temperature to 425 F. Allow the oven to heat for 30 minutes.

Unwrap the towel. Place your hand and forearm beside the dough lengthwise. Use the towel to turn the dough onto your hand and forearm. Ease the dough back onto a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper. Slide a bakerís peel beneath the parchment paper. Slide the parchment paper from the peel onto the baking stone.  Bake at 425 F for 10 minutes. Lower the temperature to 350 F for an additional 30-40 minutes.

Remove the bread from the oven and allow it to cool on a rack.


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Last updated on: 11/28/99 11:50:38 PM