Pane Bianco — Bread with a Superb Stuffing
Although I have not done much of it lately, there is something special about a home-made loaf of great bread, especially when it’s loaded with a superb stuffing that sends it over the top. That’s where this Pane Bianco comes into the picture. This concoction has a wonderful but simple stuffing that’s very good on it’s own and even more important, I’ve already started thinking about what might be added in future editions.
This is not any kind of original thinking on my part. It started out as a post by King Arthur’s Flour. The idea was to get people to give the bread a bake-along project for the month. It’s a very simple dough but what makes it stand out is a filling made with tomatoes, cheese, basil and garlic. The filling is the wonderful part. Dipped in some of olive oil, or dabbed with a little bit of dip or just by itself, the filling is amazing and definitely worth giving this bread a try.
I made mine in a couple of loaves, but the recipe really just calls for one large loaf. It works either way. And FYI, this is a great little Labor Day appetizer.
The recipe below, is pretty much exactly from King Arthur’s Flour.
- 3 cups King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup lukewarm milk
- 1/3 cup lukewarm water
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3/4 cup shredded Italian-blend cheese or the cheese of your choice
- 1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes or your own oven-roasted tomatoes
- 3 to 6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil, green or purple
- To make the dough: Combine all of the dough ingredients in a bowl (or the bucket of your bread machine), and mix and knead — by hand, using a mixer, or in your bread machine set on the dough cycle — to make a smooth, very soft dough. The dough should stick a bit to the bottom of the bowl if you're using a stand mixer.
- Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let it rise for 45 to 60 minutes, or until it's doubled in size.
- Meanwhile, thoroughly drain the tomatoes, patting them dry. Use kitchen shears to cut them into smaller bits.
- Gently deflate the dough. Flatten and pat it into a 22" x 8 1/2" rectangle. Spread with the cheese, tomatoes, garlic, and basil.
- Starting with one long edge, roll the dough into a log the long way. Pinch the edges to seal. Place the log seam-side down on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Using kitchen shears, start 1/2" from one end and cut the log lengthwise down the center about 1" deep, to within 1/2" of the other end.
- Keeping the cut side up, form an "S" shape. Tuck both ends under the center of the "S" to form a "figure 8;" pinch the ends together to seal.
- Cover and let rise in a warm place until double, 45 to 60 minutes.
- While the loaf is rising, preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Uncover the bread, and bake it for 35 to 40 minutes, tenting it with foil after 20 to 25 minutes to prevent over-browning.
- Remove the bread from the oven, and transfer it to a rack to cool. Enjoy warm or at room temperature. Store, well-wrapped, at room temperature for a couple of days; freeze for longer storage.