According to history, Luciano Pancaldo, a baker from Ferrara, a town in the north of Italy developed this bread inspired by the bread recipe for D’Este family, the rulers of Ferrara. Their bread was full of rosemary and had light crumb and golden crust, decorated with salt which resembles diamonds.
This recipe is interesting with very little yeast, I did few modification to the recipe as I added whole wheat flour and also reduce the amount of salt. The traditional recipe is made entirely with bread flour. I also let the bread dough to rise in the room temperature for about 7 hours, the rise time is longer because the amount of yeast is so small. Then it is shaped into two round balls and has given a second rise of one hour and then scored and baked at 400 °F for about 30 minutes, which is 15 minutes less than the original recipe.
It is a delicious bread, delicious when served warm. It is full of rosemary aroma and is ideal sandwiches, too.
- 71 g ~1/2 cup bread flour
- 60 g scant 1/4 cup water
- pinch instant yeast
- 254 g 2 cups bread flour
- 189 g 1 ¼ cup whole wheat flour
- 240 g 1 cup water
- 30 g 2 tablespoon milk
- pinch instant yeast
- 53 g 5 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 g 2 T rosemary
- Biga all
- 9 ~ 1 1/2tsp. salt
Prepare the Biga
- In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, water and yeast in a mixing bowl. Stir with a wooden spoon or Danish dough whisk until well blended. Scrape down the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let it rest at 75 degrees F. for 14 to 16 hours
Make the Final Dough
- In a bowl of stand mixer, combine the flour, water, milk, and biga. Using the dough hook,mix on low speed until everything blended.
- Add the salt and yeast and mix on low speed for 5 minutes. Increase the speed to medium and mix for about 7 more minutes or until the dough is smooth. When the gluten is fully developed, mix in the olive oil and rosemary on low speed.
- Lightly oil a large bowl. Scrape the dough into the bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
- Let the dough ferment for 7 hours.
- Remove the dough to a lightly-floured work surface and divide it into four (or two if you halved the recipe) 450-gram /16-ounce pieces. Shape the dough pieces into rounds. Cover with plastic wrap and let them bench rest for 15 minutes.Uncover the dough and, if necessary, lightly flour the work surface. Gently press on the dough to degas and carefully shape each piece into tight and neat rounds.
- Place one loaf on one side of the baking sheet lined with parchment paper a double layer of cloth to serve as a divider between the loaves, and place a second loaf next to the fold. Repeat the process with the remaining two loaves. Cover with plastic wrap and proof for 1 hour.
- About an hour before you plan to bake the loaves, place a baking sheet (stones) into the oven along with a steam pan (underneath) or iron skillet (on the top rack) and preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
- Uncover the dough and score the top of each loaf in a star pattern using a lame or sharp knife.
- Optional: sprinkle sea salt into the crevices as the original baker did to make it "sparkle with diamonds."
- To make the steam, add 1 cup of ice to the iron skillet or steam pan kept at bottom of oven
- Bake for 30 minutes, or until the crust is light brown and crisp and the loaves make a hollow sound when tapped on the bottom. Loaves should register an internal temperature of 200F.
- Remove the loaves from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Swathi ( Ambujom Saraswathy) loves to explore cuisines from all over the world, and write about the ones that she and her family enjoyed on her blog Zesty South Indian kitchen. She loves to gives an Indian touch to several of the world cuisine, and has weakness for freshly baked bread. She is also a mom to two wonderful young kids who gives a up or down vote to the food she creates.