Saturday, 29 August 2009

Pane Integrale alle Erbe

This month's Bread Baking Day challenge is to bake something that you haven't baked before. Sounds easy enough. When I started bookmarking the loaves that I haven't made yet and want to... well, let's just say I was risking running out of stickie notes.
I decided on this lovely collection of whole wheat rolls, chock full of herbs. My garden is fairly prolific this year and the sudden cool temperatures are reminding me that the glorious garden herbs are not going to last forever. What better way to honour them than by baking them into bread? I used much more than the recipe called for here, I did use the stated parsley and rosemary, but also added in some sage and oregano and, for good luck, four minced cloves of garlic. Well, garlic and herbs are the best of friends after all!
These rolls are fun and charming and absolutely delicious.

Pane Integrale alle Erbe
Whole Wheat Bread with Herbs
Carol Field, The Italian Baker - this is a must-have book for your collection

"Spiritoso," said the Roman baker, describing this bread -meaning it's witty and spirited, a bit out of the ordinary with its clever counterpoint of herbs played against the whole wheat. It's also straightforward and honest, with a crunch top and soft interior, and it tastes wonderful with hearty beef and lamb dishes.

Makes 2 rings of 10 or 12 rolls each.

3 1/4 tsp active dry yeast or 1 1/3 small cake (24 grams) fresh yeast
1/4 cup warm water
Scant 1/4 cup olive oil
2 3/4 cups water, room temperature
2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary or 2 tsp dried
2/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
About 6 cups (800 grams) whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 cups (200 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp salt

By Mixer:
Stir the yeast into the warm water in a mixer bowl; let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes. Stir in the oil and 2 3/4 cups water with the paddle. Add the rosemary, parsley, flours, and salt and mix until the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl. Change to the dough hook and knead until firm and elastic, 2 to 3 minutes.

First Rise:
Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Shaping and Second Rise:
Punch the dough down on lightly floured surface. Cut the dough in half and cover the piece you are not working on with plastic wrap to keep the dough from drying out. Shape each piece into 10 to 12 balls and cover the shaped dough as you finish. Arrange the rolls in a ring on a lightly oiled or parchment-lined baking sheet or in a ring mould. Cover with plastic wrap, place a towel over the plastic wrap and let dough rise until doubled, about 1 1/4 hours. The risen rolls should look like big Swedish meatballs flecked with little pieces of parsley.

Heat the oven to 400F. Preheat for 30 minutes before baking. Bake 20 minutes and cool completely on racks.

*I subbed leftover whey for the water in the recipe. Waste not, want not! The whey, a by-product of cheese making, adds some body and texture as well as flavour and nutrition to breads.

*For fun I made the second ring in a fluted ring mould. How cute is that?! The first one is made in a 10 inch round pan.

This bread has been Yeastspotted!