How to Make Pane Bianco

When there is snow on the ground, and the wind is cold, and the skies are full of dirty white clouds that hide away the sun (the sun you haven’t seen in days, mind you)…I say bake. Bake with your whole heart. Bake like your life depends on it.

Why? Because the soul needs to be fed as much as the stomach, and baking is a creative way to release all that bottled up energy.

And also because bread.

Bread makes everything alright. But not just any bread, dear heart. It’s got to be good bread. The best kind.

Pane Bianco will do the trick, I think.

It’s a fun word to say, but it’s also a fun bread to create. When the sun won’t come out, the brain needs creativity baby! And the hands needs something to keep them busy. Or else you’ll be at the window staring at the garden that won’t come back to like for another couple months. I know. I’ve been there.

Pane Bianco is Italian for “white bread” and I know it looks fancy, but don’t let all those folds and twists be misleading. It’s really simple to make. The dough itself is soft, almost like a pastry, and tucked away inside are layers of cheese and garlic and basil (oh my).

Ingredienti

Dough Ingredients

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 1/4 tsp instant yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 fresh egg
  • 3 tbs olive oil

Additional Ingredients

Istruzioni

  1. In a mixing bowl, add the yeast and warm water and let sit for 5 minutes to activate the yeast.
  2. Now add the rest of the dough ingredients and mix until your have a slightly sticky, soft dough. I mix everything up in our Kitchen Aid stand mixer, using a dough hook. But you can also easily mix this up in a bowl and knead with your hand if you prefer.
  3. Roll the dough into a ball with your hands, then place in a well greased bowl. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let the dough proof for about 45 minutes, or until it’s doubled in size.
  4. Once your dough is proofed, it’s time to flatten it again. On a floured surface, press the dough into a rectangle shape. Spread the cheese evenly across the dough. If your dough is a little dry after proofing, you can lightly brush some olive oil on top surface. This will hold the cheese in place.
  5. Drain the sun-dried tomatoes and cut into small pieces. I like to use our kitchen shears for this. Thinly slice the garlic cloves up and add to the sun-dried tomatoes, then spread over cheese.
  6. Cut up the fresh basil over the dough. Then add pesto, spreading it in two even strips. Top with homemade dried tomato herb seasoning for additional flavor.
  7. Starting at the top long edge, begin rolling the dough into an even log. Use your hands to form a uniform shape. Pinch the seam closed so it doesn’t open.
  8. Place the log seam side down. Using kitchen shears, cut a slit into the top of the log about 3/4 inch deep, starting 1/2 from one end and ending 1/2 from the other end.
  9. Form the dough into an S shape. Then tuck each end underneath the center to form a figure 8. Pinch the ends together.
  10. Move the dough to a greased baking sheet. Cover once again with the kitchen towel and let proof for 30 minutes.
  11. While dough is proofing, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. When dough is ready, bake for 40 minutes, or until the crust is light brown. If you are worried about burning the cheese, you can tent a piece of foil over the bread after it bakes for 25 minutes.
  12. Remove to a bread rack to cool.

Pane Bianco pairs well with any pasta dish, although it goes exceptionally well with lobster and shrimp fettuccine. And don’t forget the wine!

Cheers!

Pane Bianco

A soft, delicious dough packed with flavor
Prep Time3 hrs
Cook Time40 mins
Keyword: bread, Italian
Author: The Ealy Homestead

Ingredients

Dough Ingredients

  • 3 cups flour
  • tsp sea salt
  • tsp instant yeast
  • ½ cup warm water
  • cup milk
  • 1 fresh egg
  • 3 tbs olive oil

Additional Ingredients

  • 1 cup shredded cheese of choice
  • ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes
  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • ½ cup pesto
  • ¼ cup cooked crumbled bacon
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tbs dried tomato & basil optional

Instructions

  • In a mixing bowl, add warm water and yeast. Let sit for 5 min to activate yeast.
  • Add the rest of the dough ingredients to mixing bowl and mix together until dough is formed. Dough should be slightly sticky and soft.
  • Roll dough into a ball and place in a greased bowl. Cover the bowl with a cloth towel to let the dough proof for 45 minutes, or until dough has doubled in size.
  • On a floured surface, flatten the dough into a rectangle shape. Spread the cheese evenly across entire surface.
  • Drain the sun-dried tomatoes and cut into small slices. Cut up garlic cloves into thin slices and add to the sun-dried tomatoes. Then spread evenly across cheese topped dough. Then spoon pesto into two thin strips over dough. Add bacon. Sprinkle with dried tomato and basil.
  • Starting at the top long edge, start rolling dough evenly into a log. Shape log so that it's uniform, then pinch the seam closed.
  • With the seam side down, use kitchen shears to make a ¾ inch cut across top of dough log, starting ½ inch from the end and finishing ½ inch from the other side.
  • Form the dough log into an S shape. Then fold both ends underneath the middle so that you create a figure 8. Pinch the ends together.
  • Cover the dough once again with a towel and let proof for another 30 minutes. Then bake for 40 minutes at 350 degrees.

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