Mar 2, 2015

Pane di Genzano

Pane di Genzano
Pane Casareccio di Genzano
Pane di Genzano is a wonderful soft country bread, ideal for a picnic with cheese and salami. The bread comes from a town in the province of Rome, located about 20 miles south of the city of Rome, in the Lazio region of Italy. It is the only bread in Italy that has been given the IGP, Indicazione Geografica Protetta. This certification, usually reserved for cheese or wine, means that no bread may be called Pane di Genzano unless it has been produced within the geographic region.

Oh man! I could be in BIG trouble if the bread police show up.

Pane di Genzano
Pane Casareccio di Genzano

In Genzano, the dough for the "real" Pane di Genzano was traditionally prepared at home, using a lievito natural (starter) and grano tenero (tender wheat), and then taken to a public wood fired brick oven to be baked. In addition, the crust was coated with wheat bran prior to baking. The loaves were very large, up to eight pounds, resulting in a very dark crust. Every September since 1989, the town has a festival to celebrate its bread tradition.

My loaves are only about one and a half pounds, and were baked in my home oven. I used a mixture of all purpose and pastry flour to simulate the Italian type 0 or 00 flour that is usually used to make this bread.

The dough is very wet and sticky, and almost impossible to shape. I placed the "shaped" dough in a metal pie tin to keep it all in one place as it rose (more like spread). Slashing the dough is not necessary, and would probably deflate it. Fortunately, the bread rises up in the middle the minute you put it on the baking stone in the oven, creating an airy, soft loaf. The bread stays fresh for days, perhaps from the high percentage of water in the dough.

Pane di Genzano
Pane Lariano di Genzano
I made two loaves, one with white pastry flour, Pane Casareccio di Genzano, and one with whole wheat pastry flour, Pane Lariano di Genzano (which I baked in an oven proof skillet). Both versions will definitely be in my bread baking rotation.

Pane di Genzano
Pane Lariano di Genzano

Please don't tell the bread police... I also used yeast instead of the lievito natural to make these loaves, but I let them rise in a cool place to proof very slowly and develop flavor. The bread was amazingly tasty, and the bran added such a wonderful aroma and a nutty flavor.

After the recipe, check out the links for more wonderful Italian bread recipes from my #TwelveLoaves friends.

Pane di Genzano

Ingredients

1 teaspoon instant yeast
1 2/3 cups minus 1 T / 385 grams water
14 ounces / 400 grams unbleached all purpose flour
3.5 ounces / 100 grams white or whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsp salt
1/2 cup / 25 grams wheat bran

Instructions

  1. Add all of the ingredients except the bran to the bowl of a stand mixer, and mix with the paddle for about two minutes.
  2. Switch to the dough hook, and knead for three minutes at low speed, and three minutes and medium speed. 
  3. Pour the dough into an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and place it in a cool place to rise until tripled, about 3 to 5 hours. 
  4. Lightly oil the bottom of a pie pan and sprinkle the bottom with some of the bran. 
  5. Sprinkle a work surface with flour, and turn the dough out onto it. With floured hands and a dough scraper, shape the dough into a round, as best you can. Place the round, seam side down, into the pie pan. Sprinkle the top of the dough with the rest of the bran and gently pat it to make sure it sticks. 
  6. Cover the loaf with oiled plastic wrap or a towel and let rise until doubled, about 2 hours. The dough will be very jiggly. 
  7. Preheat the oven with a baking stone (if you have one) to 450 degrees F. with an optional metal bowl, cloche, or foil baking pan on the stone (you don't need the cover, but it helps a lot with oven spring). 
  8. Place the pie pan on the stone and invert the bowl, cloche, or foil baking pan over the loaf. 
  9. Close the oven and turn it down to 425 degrees F. Bake for 30 minutes, remove the cover, and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until the bread reaches an internal temperature of 200 to 210 degrees F.
  10. Cool on a wire rack.
#TwelveLoaves is a monthly bread baking party created by Lora from Cake Duchess and runs smoothly with the help of Heather of girlichef, and the rest of our fabulous bakers. Our host this month is Rossella from Ma ch ti sei mangiato, and our theme is Italian Breads. For more bread recipes, visit the #TwelveLoaves Pinterest board, or check out last month's mouthwatering selection of #TwelveLoaves Olive Breads!




16 comments:

  1. I love pane di Genzano living in Rome. You really made great breads.

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  2. Beautiful! I enjoyed the history and background you shared about this loaf too. Wouldn't it be fabulous to visit Italy some day for a festival celebrating bread? Heaven!

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    1. Totally wonderful. The town must smell heavenly that day!

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  3. Look at that incredible crumb! Lovely baking with you this month for #TwelveLoaves!

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  4. Your pane di Genzano is quite fantastico! I think the police in Italy would enjoy a loaf of this non-IGP bread after they confiscated it from you;) Pane perfection, as always!!

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  5. Bravo, Karen, for all the fascinating food history research you do...And thank you for figuring out a delicious version of Pane di Genzano which is less than 8 pounds!

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  6. Wow ... this looks amazing! What I wouldn't give to have a slice or two with some cheese and salami right now!

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  7. No way the bread police would be upset with such lovey looking loaves. The crust and texture of these look wonderful. Don't you love when you find bread you love enough to add to the roatation?
    Renee - Kudos Kitchen

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  8. The bread police have nothing on you Karen! This bread is just gorgeous! I love the shape that resulted from baking it in a pie tin! I would love a slice or two of this with some cheese and salami ...and a glass of wine. Perfection! : )

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  9. What a beautiful loaf of bread! I'm so scared of baking bread but you make it looks so easy!

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  10. I promise I will not tell the bread police (I often have to duck them myself). Wouldn't it be amazing to go to that festival!? And I love the tradition of taking the loaves to the wood-fired oven. I think I was born in the wrong time and/or country....

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I love comments and questions and read every one of them.