Pane Rustico (or Rustic Bread) Recipe from Italy
While the Thanksgiving table is often packed full of a variety of dishes, don’t forget about the bread, whether it’s roll or a loaf (or even cornbread)! One of the reasons we love bread on the table with a meal, whether it’s Thanksgiving or not, is to clean our plates of gravy and sauces with the bread. Plus the bread is good to have on hand for after Thanksgiving when it’s time to make some leftover turkey sandwiches. We offer a number of cooking classes in Italy that can specialize in baking, and here is an example of one bread recipe we think you’ll enjoy.
This recipe for pane rustico (or rustic bread) is great anytime of year. The recipe comes from the chefs of our In the Land of Prosecco cooking vacation. Ingredients vary depending on whether you’re making a test batch or a medium batch.
Prep time: 60 minutes
Cook time 40 minutes
Cook method: Bake
Ingredients for a medium batch
- 1 liter (about 4 1/4 cups) water/milk (anywhere from 50% water to 80% water)
- 40g (3 tbsp) salt
- 40g (3 tbsp) sugar
- 50g (1.75 oz. by weight) beer yeast
- 30g (1.25 oz. by weight) lard
Ingredients for a small test batch
- .5 liters (2 cups) water/milk (anywhere from 50% water to 80% water)
- 20g (1 1/3 tbsp) salt
- 20g (1 1/3 tbsp) sugar
- 25g (0.9 oz. by weight) beer yeast
- 17g (0.6 oz. by weight) lard
1. Warm a small portion of the water/milk to no more than 40°C (100°F). Whisk in the yeast, then allow it to stand for approx. 10 min. to let the yeast start working.
2. Mix in large bowl all of the above ingredients.
3. Now add the bread flour. As the chefs say, the particular quantity is dictated by the other ingredients and will vary depending on the type of flour and the humidity. The chefs prefer to add in a small quantity of spelt flour; a little whole wheat flour would also work.
4. Work the dough together, adding flour as necessary, until you have a smooth elastic dough. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes, the dough should double in size.
5. Cut the dough into equal portions (about 10-12 for the medium batch recipe) and then roll each into a snake. Then, take each of those pieces and roll up into a snail-like spiral form, stretching out as you go. Cut off any excess “tail,” and place it tail-side down on a flattened recycled aluminum take-out containers or similar (prevents burning on the bottom). Let rest again, covered, for about an hour.
6. Bake at 250°C (about 475°F) for approximately 40 min.
7. Let rest covered with a kitchen towel(s) or cloth tablecloth. For optimum results, the chef suggests eating the following day.
To learn more traditional recipes straight from the source, come visit our In the Land of Prosecco cooking vacation, which includes cooking classes, wine tasting, cheese tasting, and more.
By Liz Hall
Like bread? Try making a classic croque monsieur sandwich!
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