21 January 2009

Whole Wheat Pane di Como

I had so much fun making challah for last week's YeastSpotting event, that I decided to try my hand at a whole wheat version of Pane di Como.  This was a very hearty bread with a crispy exterior.  It wasn't as tangy as I would have hoped it would be having milk in the starter, but it was still a tasty accompaniment to the Tuscan Style Bean Soup I served Sunday night.  It did take about 24 hours start to finish, but only about 20 minutes or less of hands on time.

Whole Wheat Pane di Como by Joie de vivre

1 tsp. active dry yeast
1 tsp molasses
1/3 c. warm water
2/3 c. milk, room temperature
1 c. all-purpose flour

Directions:  Stir the yeast, molasses and warm water together in a bowl and let sit for 10 minutes or so until the yeast is bubbly.  Add the milk and stir.  Add the flour and mix until smooth.  Cover with plastic wrap and let sit on the counter overnight.

2 c. water, slightly warm to touch
5 - 5 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1 Tbls. salt

Add water to the starter and use hands to squeeze the water and the starter together until no clumps remain.  Mix the flour and salt together and add 2 c. at a time into the starter mixture.  When it is too stiff to stir with a spoon, use your hands to knead the mixture together.  It should be ever so slightly sticky (stickier than if you use white flour).  Knead the dough very well, crashing it down on the counter while doing this to develop the gluten, for about 8-10 minutes.  Put the dough in a well greased bowl and turn over so that the top of the dough is also greased.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place to double, 2-3 hours.

Once dough has doubled, cut it in half and shape it into 2 round loaves.  Place each loaf in a bowl lined with generously floured kitchen towels.  Cover each loaf with a towel and leave to rise once again.  1-2 hours.

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F with a baking stone in the oven.  When ready to bake the loaves, sprinkle the stone with cornmeal and invert the loaves onto the stone.  Bake until the dough sounds hollow when thunked on the bottom, about 1 hour.  Cool the loaves on racks before cutting.


Dee said...

This has a hearty look to it. I enjoy any bread I don't have to mess with much. I made Tuscan bean soup 2 weeks ago, certainly wish I'd had this rather than my little whole wheat bread mix...Thanks for posting this recipe!

Meg said...

I bet this would taste wonderful with some fresh preserves.

Bob said...

Oooo, that looks nice. I love crusty bread. I need to make some now. Hmmm, I have tomorrow off... :)

Anonymous said...

I am happy to read this post and your challah post to realize that I don't have to have a bread maker to bake bread. Thanks for sharing!

turkishfoodandrecipes said...

It looks authentic and also healthy. I like trying different kinds of breads:)

Reeni said...

It looks great! There's nothing like home baked bread and the smell from the oven is the best!

Anonymous said...

I agree with Reeni...one of the best parts of homebaked bread (besides the taste) is the smell that wafts through the whole house.

I love dipping whole wheat breads in soup...better than a spoon!

The Peanut Butter Boy said...

I love homemade crusty wheat bread, there's nothing like it. Your version looks outstanding!

Anonymous said...

This looks like a perfect loaf to accompany a hearty soup!

Sara said...

Yum, I love wheat bread. I've been making a lot of different wheat breads from Peter Reinhart's latest book.

Preety said...

the bread looks awesome..and the recipe seems simple to give it a try

pigpigscorner said...

oo I love crusty bread with ham and pate! Looks really delicious!

Tangled Noodle said...

A hearty, thick-crusted bread softened by dipping in a bowl of savory broth . . . the perfect meal!

Anonymous said...

Wholewheat, crusty, homemade... I'd be having it warm with butter - it doesn't get much better than that :)

Unknown said...

Yum....I've been making a lot of my own bread lately and will definetly be adding this to the list for next week.


Anonymous said...

what a beautiful crust on that bread!

Dewi said...

Delicious. I should bake more whole wheat bread. It's healthy(er)