Recipe by "The Italian Baker", Photos by Priscillakittycat

Recipe by “The Italian Baker”, Photos by Priscillakittycat



Dad’s birthday bread–I made this Panmarino for dad and our guests to enjoy during his birthday barbecue on Labor Day weekend. What I like most about Panmarino are its two distinguishing ingredients:  Rosemary and sea salt.  Lovely dipped in olive oil.  Even better for soaking up barbecue juices.  Both loaves were consumed by evening’s end.  I adapted the ‘Italian Baker’s” recipe a bit. Changes are noted in parenthesis.

Three and 3/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1 cup milk, at room temperature
1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
3 1/2 to four tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
Four teaspoons salt
About 6 2/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (2 lbs)
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse sea salt

Method by Hand** (the book offers 3 methods)
Stir the yeast into the water in a large mixing bowl; let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.  Stir in the milk and oil.  Combine the rosemary, salt and flour and stir into the yeast mixture in three or four additions.  Stir until the dough comes together. Knead on a floured surface until velvety elastic and smooth, 8 to 10 minutes.  It should be somewhat moist and blistered. (Although the recipe calls for 2 lbs flour, I didn’t use all 2 lbs.  Be careful when adding the flour.  It’s best to add more flour during kneading rather than having to add more water or milk.)

First Rise
Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled, about 1.5 hours.

Shaping and Second Rise
Gently punch the dough down on a lightly floured surface, but don’t knead it.  Cut the dough in half and shape each half into a round ball.  Place the loaves on a lightly floured peel or a lightly oiled baking sheet, cover with a towel, and let rise 45 to 55 minutes (but not until truly doubled)

Preheat the oven to 450 F.  If using a baking stone, turn the oven on 30 minutes before baking and sprinkle the stone with cornmeal just before sliding the loaves onto it.  Just before you put the loaves in the oven, slash an asterisk into the top of each loaf with a razor blade and sprinkle half the sea salt into the cuts of each loaf.  Bake 10 minutes, spraying the oven three times with water.  Reduce the heat to 400 F and bake 30 to 35 minutes longer.  Cool completely on racks.


Fiz este pão para o aniversário de nosso pai.  Gosto desta receita porque o pão contém alecrim e sal marinho.  A horta que plantei esta cheia de alecrim.  Mmmmmm, delicia!

Três e 3/4 colheres (chá) de fermento biologico instantâneo (vendido em pacotinhos: active dry yeast)
1 copo (americano) de água morna
1 copo (americano) de leite em temperatura ambiental
1/4 copo (americano) mais 1 colher (cha) de azeite de oliva
4 colheres (sopa) de alecrim picadinho
4 colheres (chá) de sal
6 2/3 copos (americano) de farinha de trigo nao branqueada (unbleached)
1 ou 1.5 colheres (cha) de sal marinho grosso

Em uma tijela grande misture a água e o fermento instantâneo.  Espere 10 minutos até a mistura ficar cremosa.  Adicione o leite e o oleo.   Em outra tijela misture o alecrim,o sal e a farinha e despeje na mistura de fermento pouco a pouco.  Va misturando com cuidado porque as vezes nao é necessario usar toda a farinha.  (Quando faço este pão sobra um copo de farinha.)  Amasse numa mesa levemente untada com farinha.  Amasse até ficar macia e elástica.  (Aproximadamente 10 minutos.)  A massa ficará um pouco umida.

Primeiro crescimento da massa
Coloque a massa numa tijela untada com óleo e cubra a tijela com plastico.  Aperte o plastico bem para não entrar ar.

Segundo crescimento da massa
Aperte a massa levemente uma vez numa mesa untada com farinha mas não amasse.  Corte a massa em dois pedaços de tamanho igual e forme uma bola com cada pedaço.  Coloque cada bola numa assadeira untada com óleo, cubra com um pano de prato e deixe crescer por 45 a 55 minutos.  Nao deixe a massa dobrar em tamanho.  Possivelmente so sera necessario crescer a massa por somente meia hora ao invés de 45 minutos.

Ligue o forno (450 F).  Espere o forno esquentar e antes de colocar o pão no forno, use uma gilette para cortar um formato de asterisco no topo da massa.  Jogue o sal grosso marinho dentro das marcas do asterisco.  Coloque uma tijela com água dentro do forno e asse o pão por 10 minutos.  Tire a tijela do forno e diminue a temperatura do forno para 400F.  Continue assando por 30 a 35 minutos.  (Pode demorar mais uns 20 minutos para o pão assar)


Breads of Italy

The past several weeks have gone by so quickly.  I’m two months into the Italian Baking and Pastries Program.  I wish I could share all the things I learned in the first class, Breads of Italy.  But if I were to post every single bread we learned to bake in class…there would be more than 50 new posts.  Yes, that’s right!  We prepared and TASTED at least that many breads during the 3-week course taught by Chef Fabio Ugoletti.  The course was held Monday thru Friday from 6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.  You can imagine what happens to the belly when a person eats that much bread at night, and over three consecutive weeks.  Yes, my belly formed a small gluten-containing layer (michelin tire, not michelin star).  The extra layer weighs eight pounds.

I can’t say I’m a professional chef because I’m not.  Therefore, I’m not the best judge of food.  But, because of my career background in higher education and because I’ve spent nearly 35 years of my 40 something enrolled in some sort of school (forever student) I can say with 100% confidence:  “I know a good teacher when I see one”.

Chef Fabio Ugoletti deserves the complement because he embodies all the qualities of a good teacher.  He was wise with our short class time.  We had only 2.5 hours for lecture, prepping and baking and Chef Fabio was able to fit in so much useful information during that time.  Class always began on time.  He was organized and pro-active and he ensured that we had all the ingredients we needed to bake our breads…as well as all the accompanying foods that are typically eaten with each bread.

Each class began with a lecture and explanation of the breads we would bake, their history in Italy and tips and tricks for preparation. Afterwards, Chef Fabio wrote each recipe ingredient on a large whiteboard and we proceeded to work.  He was attentive and answered all our questions.  He knew his stuff but was humble about it.  My classmates all agreed on this:  He was the most humble chef we’ve ever met.  All those qualities were great.  But the most spectacular quality about Chef Fabio was the contagious enthusiasm with which he taught each lesson.  If Chef Fabio ever had a bad day, we were unaware because he always taught with energy…and gusto!  Gusto means pleasure in Italian.

I recorded several videos during class.  The videos are loaded with happy moments.  For example, there’s one video where Chef Fabio says:  “Don’t be shy with the cheese.  Ohhhh yes!”  He says this while he grabs handfuls of mozzarella cheese and pours it over a bread that we later rolled and baked.  There’s another video where Chef Fabio says:  “A good chef has to taste the food.  That’s why I look like this.  Because I like to taste the food”.  He points and references his belly.  Chef Fabio was present for every moment of class.  I remember him passing each station to check our dough and complimenting the good dough.  Sometimes he’d grab a chunk of dough and plop it into his mouth.  First time I’ve seen someone walk around the kitchen chewing on bread dough.  I think you get the picture.  The Breads of Italy class was loads of fun.

Instead of starting with a recipe, I’ll provide an overview of breads in Italy.  And, rather than re-writing a whole piece for this blog, I will instead post the research paper I wrote for Chef Fabio’s class.  Much of the information was taken from class lectures.  Some facts also come from historical records regarding breads and other bits were taken from our class textbook, “On Baking” as well as cooking blogs.  Included in the paper is a map of Italy labeled with major breads and their origins.  Get ready to learn about breads of Italy.  The first post is just the beginning!