Et voila’, the Panetton-Brioche is born



Where to start, da dove cominciare?
A few weeks ago I realized I had never made a sourdough brioche, and I felt compelled to learn this difficult art. Cause a sourdough bread that can hold that amount of eggs and butter is a true miracle. A brioche has generally something like a 50% eggs. C’mon, doesn’t it sound completely nuts? And it also contains about 20% butter. Now, I know for a fact that shortening and gluten don’t exactly go together well (unlike ebony and ivory). And, yet, a properly made brioche is so light and so perfectly risen that seems to defeat gravity. This is why I had to do it, no time to fool around it anymore.

Just while I was thinking all that, I see a yeast-based Italian-style brioche from bread master Nuccio Gatto. The recipe was new and he hadn’t yet published on his blog, so he was so nice to give it to me in private. Now you can find a variation of it here. Italian brioche dough generally uses milk instead of water, and Nuccio’s variant is unique because it uses soia milk instead of regular milk. This has nothing to do with food preferences… as Nuccio taught me, soia milk does something good to the dough, so to me it is definitely a keeper in this type of preparation. [Read more...]

Pasta Madre Chocolate Panettone For The Daring Bakers. Traditional Recipe From The Simili Sisters


Christmas. Maybe the most stressful time of the year is just before it. Deadlines at work, kids needing to be spoiled, families expecting Lucullian feasts. And us? The mothers, wives, and hosts, what do we want for Christmas?

This year, what I really wanted and had in my mind constantly was to make my own panettone. But, oh boy, baking a panettone in the heat of the pre-Christmas collective hysteria? That was the biggest challenge ever. Panettone takes indeed two days of patient care and there is no way around it. My previous quicker attempts with alternative methods were in fact a true disappointment. Only when I resolved to go the hard way, with the quintessential traditional recipe, the miracle happened and panettone manifested itself in my kitchen. Happy also to participate with this to the December’s challenge of the Daring Bakers hosted by  Marcellina from Marcellina in Cucina and dedicated to panettone.

The recipe I used is possibly the most popular one in Italy when it comes to home-made panettone and was passed to us mortals by the holy Simili sisters (sorelle Simili for us Italians), founders of a culinary school, who wrote the slim but concentrated baking bible Pane e Roba Dolce. Their panettone is based on natural leaven, pasta madre, which is the traditional stiff sourdough Italian bakers generally use (SCROLL DOWN FOR THE RECIPE). *NOTA PER I LETTORI ITALIANI: la ricetta completa (trascritta parola per parola dal libro delle Simili, ma sara’ legale?) la trovate qui.
[Read more...]