“I want my bread quickly!”, said I to the Kandur, the bread baker of our little town. Unfazed by my apparent impatience, he kept kneading his dough as though in a trance. When he was done kneading, he covered the dough with a moist cloth and addressed the trouble maker (aka me) with a lot of patience. “Making good bread takes time. You have to feel the “nabz” (pulse) of the dough and it will tell you when it is ready. There is no rushing the process because the bread always has a mind and life of its own.”
He finally gave me my bread and I paid him in cash and giggles and shaking of my head. Because all those years ago, when I was a teen, I never thought I would be repeating his words to the world and telling everyone that making good bread takes time.
Pane di Genzano is one bread that requires a lot of time. This technically can not be called Pane di Genzano because it was not made in Genzano. This bread is IGP certified which means only the breads made in Genzano can be called that. But I went ahead and still called it Pane di Genzano because this bread is special. You do have to plan to make it if you don’t make bread every day. You also need a sourdough starter and a biga and lot of time to ferment the dough on the day of baking.
The bread is made in both a 4 kilo round and a long oblong loaf called a Filone, but I didn’t want all that bread at home. So I ended up making two boules.
But the bread rewards you with a webby network of crumb, and the most beautiful crust. Once you make this bread at home, you will never buy a loaf of bread from anywhere. Ok maybe you will buy it in Genzano when you visit Italy where it is a country bread.
This was my selection for the #Breadbakers theme ” Breads from Italy” That I am hosting this month.
#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.
We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to firstname.lastname@example.org
Let’s take you on a Breadventure across Italy with out #Breadbakers who have made breads from all regions in Italy.
- Casatiello by A Shaggy Dough Story
- Ciabatta Sandwich Rolls by Herbivore Cucina
- Classic Italian Bread by Hostess At Heart
- Cornetti by Gayathri’s Cook Spot
- Einkorn Parmesan Piadina by The Wimpy Vegetarian
- Fingermillet and Rosemary Focaccia by Sizzling Tastebuds
- Focaccia Caprese by Sneha’s Recipe
- Grissini by Sara’s Tasty Buds
- Gubana – An Italian Sweet Bread by The Schizo Chef
- Il Pane di Matera by Food Lust People Love
- Italian BLT Focaccia by A Salad For All Seasons
- Italian Easter Bread by Palatable Pastime
- Italian Easter Cheese Bread by A Baker’s House
- Italian Herb and Garlic Focaccia by Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Italian Stuffed Pane Bianco by Cook’s Hideout
- Mini Panettone by Mayuri’s Jikoni
- Pane Bianco by Veenas Vegnation
- Pane di Genzano by Spiceroots
- Piadina by Passion Kneaded
- Pizza alla Siciliana by Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- Rosemary and Cabernet Salt Focaccia by What Smells So Good?
- Torta Salata Pasquale by A day in the Life on the Farm
- Tuscan Coffeecake by Ambrosia
Here’s a recipe for the bread that I minimally adapted from Daniel Leader’s Bread Alone.
Pane Di Genzano
Pane di Genzano is baked dark. More dark than you would normally bake your darkest bread. It also doesn't go stale fast, so that makes it a great bread to use everyday.
- 50 gms Sourdough starter
- 140 gms water ( warm - 105*F to 110*F)
- 200 gms All purpose flour
- 390 gms Biga Naturale
- 400 gms water
- 4 gms active dry yeast
- 500 gms bread flour
- 20 gms salt
Feed your sourdough starter a few hours before making the biga.
Mix all ingredients together, cover and set it aside for 8 to 12 hours
Make the bread
Put the biga naturale in the bowl of the mixer and then add the water. Using the paddle attachment, Stir to break up the biga.
Add in the yeast, mix and then add the flour and salt.
Mix until a wet dough forms. Switch to a dough hook, and knead on medium speed for about 7 to 10 minutes. The dough is ready when it forms a ball on the hook and leaves the sides of the bowl while it is mixing. When you stop the mixing, the dough will fall back into the bowl.
When the dough passes the window pane test, stop kneading and put the dough in a well oiled bowl, cover and let it ferment for about 1- 2 hours, until doubled.
Punch and degas the dough by stretching and folding the outer sides into the center, turning around and repeating it. Then, divide it into 2 equal parts and let it rest for another 1- 2 hours or until doubled.
Sprinkle a good amount of bran on the inner lining of two bannetons. Take the dough out of the bowl without tearing it and then degas it and form a tight ball. Place the dough with the seam up in the banneton. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 ½ – 2 hrs.
Preheat the oven to 500*F a good 45 minutes before you are baking the bread.
When ready to bake, tip the banneton over on a baking sheet and bake at 500*F for 20 minutes, then lower the temp to 450 and bake for another 10 to 20 minutes. Allow to cool for 3 hours before slicing.
Allow the bread to cool completely before slicing. It will take at least 3 hours. The cooling results in the nice crust that crackles.