I got oven spring! I got oven spring! Filled Pane Bianco (BBB April 2013)

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BBB: Let's Get Baking summary: recipe for BBB Pane Bianco with Pesto, Sun-dried Tomatoes and Cheese adapted from Dianna Wara’s winning recipe for America’s Breadbasket National Festival of Breads Contest in 2009, Tomato, Basil, & Garlic Filled Pane Bianco; a Bread Baking Babes project; submission for YeastSpotting and Bake Your Own Bread; (click on images to see larger views and more photos)

Bread Baking Babes (BBB) April 2013

Call me Mary…

“I won’t!” said Mary.

“I’ll make you,” said Colin. “They shall drag you in.”

“Shall they, Mr. Rajah!” said Mary fiercely. “They may drag me in but they can’t make me talk when they get me here. I’ll sit and clench my teeth and never tell you one thing. I won’t even look at you. I’ll stare at the floor!”

– Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden, Chapter 16

Pane Bianco This month, Natashya (Living in the Kitchen with Puppies) chose the BBBabes’ challenge. Initially, I blanched because I thought the bread was going to be filled with fresh tomatoes.

All I could think of was: where on earth are we going to get decent fresh tomatoes in Toronto in April?!

But of course, I should have known better. You would think that I would be familiar enough with my reading skills (and content retention) by now. :stomp:

It turns out that the filling choices were perfectly designed for a cold April kitchen.

BBB Pane Bianco diary:

6 April 2013, 07:56 I guess it’s time to get cracking on this month’s bread. I have been putting off thinking about it because of the tomatoes. Tomatoes are so watery and dull! There must be something else I could use instead. Peppers? Maybe. Mushrooms? Oooh, that’s a nice idea… I could cook them first to get rid of the liquid and maybe add a bit of thyme too to make a sort of duxelles pane bianco.

I just hate the idea of putting cut up raw tomatoes into bread dough and having them get all over-stewed and watery.

1 (8 1/2-ounce) jar oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
-BBB April recipe

Ohhhhh! Duh. The tomatoes are sun-dried. (See how reading the recipe all the way through is a good idea? :lalala:) Well. That does make a difference, doesn’t it? Maybe I’ll use tomatoes after all.

I might still try doing a mushroom filling. I’ve just spent a happy half hour or so wandering around on the internet to see what people might have done with mushrooms and pizza bianca:

  • Definitely Not Martha: onions, garlic and mushrooms (“Deglaze the pan with red wine, and let wine evaporate pretty much completely.”)
  • Sullivan Street Bakery: pizza funghi (“Cremini mushrooms, onions, thyme, olive oil, and sea salt; thin, crisp crust.”)
  • Ace Bakery: mushrooms (“3-cheese breadcrumbs, shallots, garlic, chopped mushroom stems, bacon, thyme, Parmesan, and artichoke hearts”)

12 April 2013, 22:41 Oh oh. Time is flying, isn’t it? I guess I’d better bake this bread soon. Really. I’m thinking tomorrow would be smart.

I was looking through the ingredients list again and I just noticed that this bread calls for fresh basil. Fresh basil? In April? In April of this year when it snowed last night?

(Excuse me while I take a moment to laugh hysterically.)

Okay I’m fine now.

While I know that I could buy hot-house fresh basil from the vegetable store, I’m thinking that the flavour will be better if I take some of the pesto I made last September out of the freezer. It might not be quite as green as fresh basil but it will certainly have more flavour than the faded ridiculously expensive sprigs being sold at the vegetable store.

4 teaspoons instant yeast
227g warm low-fat milk
67g extra-virgin olive oil
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons salt
-King Arthur Pane Bianco recipe (ingredients in grams)

Perhaps I’m very old fashioned to expect the ingredients by grams to be in grams….

4 teaspoons of yeast? 2 teaspoons of salt?! Give me a break

Excuse me while I get out my calculator. Let’s see now. 2.25tsp = 7 gm dry yeast and 1tsp = 6 gm salt (click click ... click click click ... click click click....) Aha. The “by weight” recipe SHOULD say 12 gm dry yeast and 12 gm salt!

3/4 teaspoon granulated garlic or garlic powder
170g shredded Italian blend cheese, divided
-BBB April 2013 recipe

Granulated garlic? Garlic powder? What???? There is no way I’m using that. It will just make the bread bitter!

And Italian blend cheese? What’s that supposed to be? Is King Arthur really suggesting that people buy those ridiculous bags of preshredded cheese at the supermarket?

I DON’T think so.

I won’t!

I’ll grate some quasi parmesan (I think it’s Ilha branca that we have in the fridge) and maybe add a bit of quasi mozzarella too (don’t get me started on how hard it is to find decent mozzarella).

And I’ll use finely chopped fresh garlic.

Whoa, Nelly!! King Arthur seems to have a different set of scales than the rest of the world. Their gram measurement is QUITE wonky!

Okay. I do know I’m a freak.

But I’m pretty sure that the weights given by King Arthur are off. Last time I checked, an American cup holds 240ml. And a ml of water weighs 1 gram. Yet, King Arthur Flour seems to think that an American cup holds 226gm of water!

(Hmmmm… why do I suddenly get the sense that they didn’t even bother testing the weighed ingredients version?)

It turns out that a cup of King Arthur bread flour is a different weight than Gourmet Sleuth bread flour (137gm), which is different from Traditional Oven bread flour (127gm), which is different from Roger’s bread flour (160gm!!), which is different from….

On the King Arthur site, it says that a cup of their bread flour weighs 120.5gm

Here are the corrections (I think)
1/2 cup warm water 120gm
1/4 cup sugar 57gm
4 teaspoons instant yeast 12gm
1 cup warm low-fat milk 240gm
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil 67gm
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons salt 12gm
6 cups King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour 723gm
1 (8 1/2-ounce) jar oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
3/4 teaspoon granulated garlic or garlic powder
1 1/2 cups shredded Italian blend cheese, divided
2/3 cup chopped fresh basil
-me, corrections for weight values of BBB April 2013 recipe

I’m not going to bother with the weights for the filling ingredients. I probably wouldn’t weigh them anyway.

But. Is this jar of sun-dried tomatoes perhaps in fluid ounces – in a jar that holds roughly 250ml?? That’s A LOT of tomatoes.

And there is no way I’m using that much sugar. Or that much yeast.

I won’t!

And I’m going to have to add some flax seed and whole wheat flour too. :stomp:

Here is King Arthur Flour’s weight chart (in ounces, of course) for common ingredients: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipe/master-weight-chart.html

Apparently, salt isn’t a common ingredient. Sheeesh! I thought King Arthur was supposed to be THE bread baking flour for Artisanal baking. You’d think they’d have it together to know that different coarseness of salt has different weights.

10:57: I weighed, mixed and kneaded the dough, using my trusty meat thermometer to ascertain that the water temperature was 90F. I decided to use powdered milk rather than heating up actual milk; it’s WAY easier.

And then as I was reaching for the sugar and looking in horror at how much the recipe called for – it looks like a brioche recipe!! – I decided to halve the amount. Then, while I was opening the sugar container and picking up the spoon to scoop some out, I suddenly rebelled.

I won’t!

I put the spoon down, closed the container, grabbed my pen and put a big horizontal slash right through sugar on the recipe. Ha!

And I was on a roll. I continued my transgression by using all-purpose and whole wheat flours, ground flax seeds (Tanna’s favourite) and a little vital wheat gluten.

I suddenly felt better.

After all, I’m not making dessert; I’m making bread to go with dinner. :-)

Kneading was easy easy easy – the dough wasn’t quite as soft as the brioche-like dough I expected. Good thing I didn’t weigh out the larger initial amount of flour I was going to use.

Hmmm, I wonder if the dough is stiffer because I didn’t add the sugar. :lalala:

[aside: once when I was making carrot cake, I was wondering why the mixture was so dry and stiff. I reeled back the tape in my mind to watch myself measuring the ingredients and realized I had forgotten to put in the sugar. In it went and suddenly the mixture turned into cake batter.]

17:51 Everything is fine. The dough rolled out beautifully. I eyeballed the amounts for the filling ingredients, using thawed pesto from the freezer, finely chopped garlic, Ilha Branca and Mozzarella. Also, because the tomatoes we bought were dry, I slathered on a little olive oil. My reading skills (or lack thereof) were displayed once again as I used a sharp knife to cut the tomatoes. Too bad too. I have the most lovely set of kitchen shears!

Pane Bianco And then it came time to shape.

Tuck both ends under the center of the “S” to form a “figure 8”
-BBB April 2013 recipes

The “S” part was easy. But I got lost on forming a figure 8. I’m guessing that it doesn’t matter a whole lot. What I did looks pretty….

Initially, I was going to connect the halved roll to make one giant S, but then decided to go with two smaller Ss. They’re rising now.

Pane Bianco 18:50
Time to turn on the oven!

Did I say these were smaller Ss? Ha!! They became rather large. (The cookie sheet is about 50cm/20in long.) They look beautiful! Even if they aren’t figure 8s.

19:22 I just turned the tray. Holy cow!! What oven spring!

I can NOT believe how much the bread rose in the oven. I love it when that happens but I don’t think I’ve ever had it happen so dramatically!

And it smells fantastic too! Now I can’t wait until tomorrow night! We’re planning on serving it with smoked pork, baked beans, beet salad and steamed broccoli.

Yes! You read that right. It looks like spring might be springing after all. T is going to fire up the barbecue tomorrow to smoke the meat.

Pane Bianco Sunday’s dinner was delicious!!

And T loved the bread.

I confess that I was a little less enthusiastic. For me it was too soft – too much like cake – too reminiscent of brioche.

Not that it wasn’t good. It was! And it’s so beautiful too. But I’m in Spring Cleaning mode and am moving more toward lean breads! I’d like to be able to do up the waist band buttons on my skirt.

Although… I could just get drawstring waistbands, couldn’t I? Here is the BBB April 2013 Pane Bianco recipe. And here is what I did to it:

BBB Pane Bianco with Pesto, Sun-dried Tomatoes and Cheese
adapted from Dianna Wara’s winning recipe for America’s Breadbasket National Festival of Breads Contest in 2009, Tomato, Basil, & Garlic Filled Pane Bianco


  • 180 gm (.75c/ 180ml) water, 90F ¹
  • 20 gm (2 Tbsp) instant milk powder ²
  • 25 gm (2 Tbsp) sugar ³
  • 5 gm (scant 2 tsp) active dry yeast
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 36gm (2 Tbsp) olive oil
  • 300 gm (~2.5 c) unbleached all-purpose flour 4
  • 50 gm (~0.5 c) whole wheat flour
  • 10 gm (~1.5 Tbsp) gluten flour (vital wheat gluten)
  • 15 gm (1.5 Tbsp) flax seed, finely ground 5
  • 6 gm (1 tsp) fine seasalt

Filling 6

  • Basil Pesto
  • Sun-dried Tomatoes
  • Garlic, finely chopped
  • Parmesan-like and Mozzarella Cheeses, grated
  1. Mixing the dough In a largish bowl, cream the sugar into the butter. Stir in yoghurt and egg and beat well until the mixture is smooth. Using a wooden spoon, stir in flour and yeast. (If you are using active dry yeast, first whisk yeast into a small amount of lukewarm water to dissolve it.) It should be the consistency of a stiff batter or very wet dough.
  2. Kneading Use your hands to knead the dough in the bowl for about 5 minutes. Scrape as much of the dough off of your hands. Cover the bowl with a plate and set aside on the counter.
  3. Shaping Initially, the shaping for this bread is very similar to the one I used to make a Russian Braid: Scatter a light dusting of flour on the board. Turn the dough out and cut it in two. Fold each piece of dough in half, cover with a clean tea towel and allow them to rest for 5 minutes. While the dough is resting, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set it aside.
    1. banana cinnamon braid Using a floured wooden rolling pin, roll one of the pieces into a large rectangle, as thinly as you can. Drizzle some olive oil and evenly slather the top of the rectangle with pesto (a butter knife works, but your fingers are even better for spreading it on the dough). Evenly scatter chopped tomatoes and garlic over the pesto. Scatter a handful or two of grated cheeses. Roll the rectangle up as tightly as you can like a jelly roll to form a long tube.
    2. Russian Rose Use a sharp knife or the dough scraper to cut the tube in half lengthwise. Turn the pieces so the lines from the filling show. Form each piece into an S shape, pushing the ends underneath in the center. Make sure to keep the filling lines facing upward. Place the S onto a parchment covered cookie sheet.

    Repeat with other side of the tube.

  4. Cover with a clean tea towel followed by a large plastic bag and allow to rise at room temperature until doubled.
  5. Baking When the shaped loaves have doubled, turn the oven to 350F. Put them on the TOP rack of the oven to prevent them from burning on the bottom. Bake for about 30 minutes in total, turning them around once half way through to account for uneven oven heat. The bread is done when it is golden on top and sounds hollow on the bottom (around 200F inside).
  6. Remove the bread from oven and allow to cool on a well ventilated rack. Wait until it is completely cool before slicing into it! The bread is still continuing to bake inside! 7


1.) Water: Please do not use water from the hot water tap. Instead, heat the water in a kettle or microwave (to create lukewarm water, add cold water until it is the correct temperature – use the baby bottle test on the back of your wrist. Or… you can use a thermometer.) Please note that before the yeast is added, the water temperature must be BELOW 120F because yeast begins to die when the temperature is higher than 120F.

2.) Milk: The BBB recipe calls for warm milk. I was too lazy to heat up milk, so decided to use powdered milk instead.

3.) Sugar: I just couldn’t face putting sugar into the bread. So I left it out. I’m really glad. I think it would have made the bread cloyingly sweet with the basil, garlic and cheese. Now, if I were going to turn this into a dessert-like bread with dried fruit filling, I would add the sugar.

4.) Flour: The King Arthur recipe calls for Unbleached Bread Flour. Unbleached bread flour is almost impossible to find here so I used unbleached all-purpose and vital wheat gluten to up the gluten level. I used Susan’s (Wild Yeast) formula of adding roughly 3% vital wheat gluten to mimic bread flour. I also decided that the bread was just a little too “white bread” and substituted some of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour. And then at the last minute, I decided to throw in some ground flax seeds.

Dianna Wara’s original recipe called for 5 to 5 1/2 cups of flour. We found that made a very sticky dough, and we surmise she may have used the dipping method to measure her flour, yielding a heavier cup of flour. By weighing out the equivalent of 6 cups of flour – 25 1/2 ounces – we came out with a dough of the correct consistency.
-King Arthur Flour, Tomato Basil and Garlic Filled Pane Bianco recipe

5.) Flax Seed: We keep the flax seed in the freezer. I confess that I didn’t actually measure how much I threw into the electric coffee spice grinder. How much did I actually use? As Mum would say: some. And if pressed further: Oh, I don’t know… enough

6.) Filling Measurements: It just didn’t make sense to me to measure very carefully for the filling ingredients. I eyeballed it. The amount I used seemed right. I wouldn’t have changed anything – except to make sure that the tomatoes were well buried in dough before putting the bread in the oven.

7.) But I LIKE warm bread! If you wish to serve warm bread, reheat it after the loaf has cooled completely. To reheat UNsliced bread, turn the oven to 400F for 5 minutes or so. Turn the oven OFF. Put the bread in the hot oven directly on a rack for ten minutes. If the bread happens to be is a little stale, put it into a paper bag first. Spray the bag liberally with water and place it in the hot oven until the bag is dry (about 10 minutes).

8.) Burned Tomatoes Any of the tomato pieces that were sitting close to the surface got badly charred. I suppose that I could have paid attention and put a hat over the bread to stop it from getting to dark, but I love the look of a dark gold crust.

Bake […] in a preheated 350°F oven 35 to 40 minutes. Tent loaf with foil after 15 to 20 minutes to prevent overbrowning.
-Dianna Wara, America’s Breadbasket, Tomato Basil and Garlic Filled Pane Bianco recipe

Pane Bianco
Thank you, Natashya!

Bread Baking Babes
I got oven spring! I got oven spring! Filled Pane Bianco (BBB April 2013)

Natashya (Living in the Kitchen with Puppies) is the host of April 2013’s Bread Baking Babes’ task. She wrote:

As soon as I saw this spectacular bread on the King Arthur Flour website I knew I had to make it. Sundried tomatoes, basil, garlic and cheese all in a lovely soft white dough. […]

I have tried many recipes and techniques. I have to admit, the ones that excite me most are the fun fillings and shapings. This bread was a winner in the National Festival of Breads for that reason – it’s fun and flavourful. It also goes great with cream cheese… just sayin’.

The first loaves I did fairly close to the recipe, next ones I used pesto and roasted garlic with the sundried tomatoes. Next time I’m thinking of using olives, thyme and feta. What will your loaves be like? I can’t wait to see!

Ha! Did you notice that over the course of just a few days I managed to forget that I was going to fill the bread with some sort of mushrooms? Duh…

Next time!

We know that you too will WANT to bake this bread!! To receive a Baking Buddy Badge to display on your site: bake stuffed Pane Bianco in the next couple of weeks and post about it (we love to see how your bread turns out AND hear what you think about it – what you didn’t like and/or what you liked) before the 26 April 2013. If you do not have a blog, no problem; you can also post your picture(s) to Flickr (or any other photo sharing site) and record your thoughts about the bread there. Please remember to email the Kitchen of the Month to say that your post is up.

For complete details about this month’s recipe, the BBB and how to become a BBBuddy, please read:

Please take a look at each of the other BBBabes’ Pane Bianco:

Yeastspotting - every Friday (wordle.net image)

Each week, Susan (Wild Yeast) compiles a list of many bread-specific recipes from across the web. For complete details on how to be included in the YeastSpotting round up, please read the following:

Bake Your Own Bread (BYOB)
BYOB is a monthly event hosted by Heather (girlichef)

[BYOB] encourages you to start (or continue) getting comfortable baking bread in your own kitchen. Anything from simple quick breads to conquering that fear of yeast to making and nurturing your own sourdough starter. All levels of bakers are welcome to participate.

BYOB Badge For more information about BYOB, please read the following:


Filled Pane Bianco (BBB)


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8 responses to “I got oven spring! I got oven spring! Filled Pane Bianco (BBB April 2013)

  1. MyKitchenInHalfCups

    My goodness and I thought I was radical the way I play around with ingredients … you really went on a wild streak! HaHa and got really glorious bread.

    Such wonderful flare you demonstrate with that slash thru sugar. I gave it a token of sugar.

  2. Natashya KitchenPuppies

    Ha! You are a rebel, and a banana. ;-) I think it would surprise people how quiet and laid-back you are in person. :-)
    Love your ideas for the loaves, these ones look great and I think some wine cooked mushrooms would be amazing too!

  3. barbara

    Wow, it looks Fabulous. Good call, I think, on the sugar. And pesto instead of basil even if you had super fresh basil. I have a little mouth-watering problem now …

  4. Claudia

    Wow, this looks great! When I read “brioche reminiscent” in the end I was convinced that I will love it and have to give it a try sometime. Although you are right that after a long winter with its many cake-like delights there’s urgent need for more lean treats ;-).

  5. ejm Post author

    It was pretty glorious, Tanna, even though the crumb was softer than I expected.

    You’re right, Elle, who CAN hate a bread with pesto and tomaotes? I wish I knew what I did to make the oven spring so dramatic. I’m wondering if it was measuring the water temperature. Since I’ve been making sure that any liquid is 90F, bread has been turning out significantly better.

    Hahaha! I like that, Natashya! I AM a banana. (I can’t get over that people now think I’m so rigid and that I measure everything. Although… I do love measuring.) And yes, the wine deglazed mushrooms would be good in this bread, wouldn’t they? Remind me to try that!

    Yes, Barbara, I was really glad I eliminated the sugar. I think it would have ruined the bread. It just doesn’t make sense to me to add it.

    I can’t wait to hear how your bread turns out, Claudia and hope you try it soon.


  6. Roxana | Roxana's Home Baking

    I had to laugh because I have the same eye problem. Sometimes I “read” what I want to see LOL
    Glad your bread turned out OK. I always measure my flour in grams, so much easier and no headaches involved

    I always read what I want to see. And I agree, Roxana! Measuring the flour in grams is so much easier. But only if the transition from volume to weight has been done correctly. :lalala: -Elizabeth


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