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Dec. 22, 2016

Give your holidays some pizzazz with this red, white and green bread

by Neva Taylor, Entertainment Editor
This week on SCO Yummy, we're talking all about bread. Everyone likes bread. With the whole family over these holidays, there are bound to be fights. But, bread is one thing everyone can agree on. It's everyone's staple. No matter the household, bread is on almost always on the dinner table, especially during the holidays. Whether it's biscuits, cornbread, dinner rolls, challah, naan or garlic bread, it's all about bread. If the dinner table was a family, bread would be your cute and cozy grandpa, the guy who's never changed and has been there the longest (Mom's new organic kale recipe would be the new, sketchy in-law everyone is unsure about).

The bread I decided to make for the festive holidays was a Pane Bianco. "Pan Bianco" sounds really fancy; and truthfully I didn't really know what it meant before some research. I found that "Pane Bianco" is really just Italian for "white bread", which sounds plain, but the flavors of "Pane Bianco" is anything but plain. This particular recipe involves sharp cheeses, herbaceous basil, and rich sun dried tomatoes.

When I first saw what this recipe is supposed to look like, I thought it might be impossible. But, making the dough and adding the toppings actually proved to be quite simple. The only tough bit was actually making the spiral.

First, all the ingredients needs to be mixed together. It will form a soft dough. Then, roll the dough you into a log shape, and cut a long line down the center (If you're a big Grey's Anatomy fan, think about their surgical incisions). The hardest part was taking the dough and shaping it into the spiraled shape. I decided to shape the dough into an "S" shape, which had a similar effect at the end. When the bread I finished shaping the dough, the curves of the "S" shape puffed up and swirled around.

After that, the bread has to rise again. This was frustrating at first because of all the patience that it required. It's not fun watching bread rise. Really, they should change the phrase "watching paint dry" to "watching bread rise". But it's all smooth sailing and home free after the bread rises again.

With 40 minutes in the oven, the bread comes out looking fantastic. The soft bread smells delicious,like a margarita pizza in bread form. You know how a margarita pizza has large bits of basil, gooey mozzarella and large tomatoes? It's basically like that but in loaf form, swirled into a "S".
Final product of my Pan Bianca Neva Taylor
Final product of my Pan Bianca


Pan Bianco with Basil and Sun-Dried Tomatoes Recipe

Dough:
cup milk
1/3 cup water
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 egg
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons sea salt (be generous with the salt, it really flavors the bread)
Filling and finish:
1 cup shredded cheese (the sharper the cheese the better, I prefer a sharp Parmesan)
cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, removed from oil and chopped
cup chopped fresh basil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 or 2 tablespoon olive oil (depending on how big your loaf ends up being)

Make the dough:
1. In a large bowl, heat milk and water until warm - about 30 seconds in the microwave should do. Add the yeast. Whisk together until thoroughly combined and let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes.

2. Add the rest of the dough ingredients to the yeast mixture, stirring until it becomes a wet ball. Then knead the dough by hand, this will take some strong arms but it's worth it. It is also ok to add a little bit of extra flour if the ball is too wet. Oil bowl and leave to rise in a warm area (radiator or window that gets sun is best). This will take about 2 hours.

3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

4. After the dough has risen, plop it onto a floured surface and start to roll it out. Roll it/stretch it out until it resembles a large rectangle.

5. Sprinkle the cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, basil and garlic over the dough. Roll the dough, hot dog way, until it looks like a log. Carefully pick it up and move it to your parchment papered baking sheet.

6. Using a knife slowly and carefully cut a slit down the center of the log. Leave space at both ends that are uncut for the shaping process. Then grab both, non-cut ends, and bring them around to form a fat "S" shape.

7. Cover loaf with kitchen towel and let the bread rise again in the same spot you let it rise last time. This time let it only rise for about 45 minutes.

8. Bake for 45-50 minutes until lightly brown. Let loaf cool slightly and then brush with olive oil (here is where you get to be artsy) The sun
dried tomatoes will get pretty dark because they are cooking at a high temperature but it's okay, they will be fine and taste delicious!

9. After cooling for about 10 minutes, you're ready to serve!

This recipe was a challenge, but it sure was fun. The gorgeous, and delicious, arrangement at the end is worth the time and effort. And with temperatures in the low 30's (where's the snow, though?), it's important to keep warm this winter. This bread recipe will warm up your house, and the hearts of your family members this holiday season. Next time on SCO Yummy, I'm deciding to be adventurous with the new year and try some wacky combinations with everyday favorites. Wish me luck!



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