Pane Bianco literally means white bread. It is light with a porous, airy interior. But this version, from King Arthur’s Flour (KAF), is filled with fresh basil, garlic, cheese, and sundried tomatoes.
I have been a long time follower of KAF even though their products are not directly buyable from Manila nor from Canada (unless online orders). I find their website very useful for those who are into baking in general. They have very comprehensive baking guides and tutorials but I have yet to try their online classes. I love reading the comments too because they really do answer even the most basic questions. I always learn something new just by browsing the comments section; their baker’s hotline is truly superb!
Recently KAF started this “bakealong” project wherein every month they’ll unveil a new recipe to bake together. I am up for this challenge! For this month of August this Pane Bianco is the featured recipe. It’s my first time to bake this bread and I am so happy with the results! Not only it is pretty to look at but also enjoyable to bake and satisfying to eat. It’s shape is unique which actually makes it more visually stunning.
I think another great part about baking this bread is you can add your own little twist. You can choose to change the fillings – use ham bits, sausage, onions, red pepper, green olives, or your preferred cheese blend. The bread dough is the base then add the fillings you like. Fun, isn’t it?
Pane Bianco with Tomatoes, Basil, Garlic and Cheese
This Italian bread is wonderfully soft and packed with flavor from the basil, garlic, sundried tomatoes, and a blend of Italian cheese. The smell of this bread while being baked will make you hungry!
For the dough:
- 361 grams (3 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 piece large egg
- 113 grams (1/2 cup) lukewarm milk
- 74 grams (1/3 cup) luekwarm water
- 35 grams (3 tablespoons) olive oil
For the filling:
- 85 grams (3/4 cup) shredded italian-blend cheese
- 113 grams (1/2 cup) sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped into bite-size pieces
- 3-6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 14 grams (1/3 cup) chopped fresh green basil
To make the dough, combine all dough ingredients in a stand mixer bowl and mix on low speed until the dough forms into a ball and dough sticks a bit to the bottom of the bowl, about 3-4 minutes. I used a Kitchen Aid Artisan mixer in speed #2.
Transfer the dough in a bowl that is lightly greased with oil. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and place in a warm area to allow the dough to double in size, around 45-60 minutes.
When dough has risen, gently deflate it by putting your fist in the dough and push down on it. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a 22" x 8.5" rectangle. At this point, evenly spread the cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic and basil.
Starting with one long edge, carefully roll the dough into a log then pinch the edges to seal. Place the log seam-side down on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Use your kitchen shears to cut the log lengthwise down the center about 1" deep, starting from ½ inch from one end to within ½' of the other end.
Form the dough into an "S" shape, keeping the cut side up. Tuck both ends under the center of "S" to form a "figure 8". Pinch the ends together to seal.
Cover the dough with a tea towel and let it rise again for the second time by putting it in a warm place until size doubles, about 45-60 mins.
Around midway of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350 F (175 C).
Remove the cover and bake it for 35 - 40 minutes. Tent the bread with foil after 25 minutes to avoid over-browning.
Remove the bread fro the oven and transfer in a rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.
(Note 1) Use room temperature eggs.
(Note 2) I highly recommend to measure ingredients in grams. Many things can go wrong with inexact measurements!
(Note 3) STORAGE: Wrap the bread in cling wrap and store at room temperature. Best to be eaten on the same day until after 2 days.
(Note 4) Adapted from King Arthur Flour.