Friday, April 20, 2007

Fennel, orange, raisin & pine nut bread

This sweet bread is a synthesis of different pandolci (sweet bread) in Santa Margherita Ligure, Recco and Genoa (Liguria region, northern Italy), created by Nick Malgieri. I like any bread that requires longer fermentation, like this one; the crumb is usually more tender, with a deeper wheat-y aroma. From its title name you properly are overwhelmed, but not yet, wait until the first bite, you'll start to wonder if everyday there's carnival along the Ligurian coast, and that's why the people can come up such an incredibly festive and soul-warming bread! This is my entry for Waiter there is something in my ... Bread, this round is hosted by Andrew over Spittoon.

Recipe: (yield 6 loaves)
*recipe from Great Italian Desserts by Nick Malgieri*

For sponge: 1/2 cup bread flour, 1/4 cup lukewarm water, 2 1/4 tsps active dry yeast

For dough:
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 3/4 sugar
  • 2/3 lukewarm water
  • 1 1/2 tsps salt
  • 4 tbps unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1/3 candied orange peel, rinsed and chopped
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 1 Tpb fennel seeds
  • marmalade as glazing, slightly heat up
Directions (I did it by hand):

For the sponge, combine the ingredients and rise in 75F for 30 minutes or until double

For the dough:

  • Mix the sponge with the water, use your hand to squeeze or break up that sponge, the water should turn chalk white. Combine it with flour, sugar, salt and butter, knead until elastic and smooth.
  • (1st rising:) Then combine the raisins, candied orange, nuts and fennel seed into the dough ... don't worry if you see these bites keep falling off, just be patient, they will eventually stick... Cover the bowl and let it rise in fridge (lowest shelf) overnight *
  • (2nd rising:) Take the bowl out of the fridge, sit for an hour let the dough return to room temperature. Fold it a few times, divide into 6 portions *, roll each into a log, you should let them rest in between shaping so that the log can stretch more. Tight each into a knot, place them on a slightly greased large baking tray, cover, rise for 2 - 3 hours, double of the volume.
  • Pre-heat oven to 375F, bake loaves for 20 minutes (mine were "almost" done during this time), check the doness by tapping its bottom to hear hollow sound. Quickly brush marmalade on each loaf, back to oven to bake for another 5 minutes. Transfer the loaves on a rack to cool completely.

My notes:

  • For the 1st rising, the author originally suggested rising the dough in room temperature (but he didn't mention which temperature) for 3 - 4 hours, double of its volume. I have done other Italian slow-fermented bread which usually rise in a slightly cool room, but not sure if it is the same for this bread
  • After the 2nd rising ready for final shaping, the author just did one big loaf. In his case he formed the dough into one round loaf, slashed the top, baked it for about 1 hour.
  • The interior of my bread is tender, but not porous, not sure it's the bread supposed to be, or because my more shaping actions have altered the interior. Anyway, even it's soft, they definitely not the cotton-light type that popular in Asia.



FH said...

Gattina, you are killing us all by these visual delights and how frustrating it is to just look and not able to grab some!

I might make this in the bread machine this weekend.Thanks.Enjoy the weekend,see you on Monday:)

Mishmash ! said...

Last time u just posted one pic and I was not happy and this time, there is more picture and u re killing me !! the bread looks beautiful and tasty....I just wish I had a button there to click and take one piece right from there !


Brilynn said...

I'm always, always impressed with what you're making. The crust on that bread looks amazing!

Anonymous said...

Great job with the bread! Fennel, orange, and raisin sounds like an awesome flavor combination.

Anh said...

The bread looks very nice Gattina. Lovely colour and texture... :)

I was gonna email you to ask about overnight fermentation. Should we reduce the amount of yeast? And about the shaping, I think the slashing action helps the bread to rise and distribute the heat better. I have seen Italian sweet bread recipe that shapes in to buns like yours and still requires slashing on top. Perhaps I'll try later both version later to see the differences. ;)

Anonymous said...

Ooooh, numnumnums! I have tea, where's my bread? :( Gattina mia, please - adopt me so that I can live in your kitchen and feast on these delights! I'll even do all the washing up!

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Absolutely lovely! It looks like a little pannetone. The fennel and orange combination sounds amazingly delicious.

Unknown said...

Another picture- and taste-perfect loaf! A perfect combination with the cup of tea in the gorgeous picture.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

I'm with Ellie, I've got Earl Gray...where's my bread!! Those are magnificicant photos.

Lis said...

My tummy is growling. It's your fault. My breakfast of yogurt and a couple pretzels doesn't sound very appetizing anymore. *sigh*


aminah said...

these look like something I could perhaps manage have definetly got me hooked...thankyou

Susan from Food Blogga said...

This looks outrageously good. I love orange, fennel, raisins, and pine nuts. I have cooked with them plenty but never baked. Thanks for this.

Andrew said...

Sound really interesting, not a fan of fennel myself but am very tempted ot give these a go. Thanks for the entry.

Callipygia said...

I am such a sucker for elegant fruity breads...those Italians. Va bene!

Anonymous said...

This is a sensational bread, Gattina! I love the flavor combinations.

Gattina Cheung said...

Asha, put in this way, we are killing each other (your rice noodels, chutney, naan....) , hehee...

Shn, oh how I wish you just lived next to me, we could exchange our goodies all the time =)

Brilynn, oh yes this one the crust, super! Sticky, crunchy, orange-y :D

Amy, orange and fennel combo is pretty classic to me, and I like it a ton :D

Anh buddy, thank you so much for your questions, and I realize that how much detail I have left out.
For most "long-whining" (hehee) bread (e.g. my pizza dough, foccacia, etc) I usually do the 1st rising in fridge overnight, without reducing the amount of yeast, they all turn out perfect. I am not sure if there's any exceptional case in any particulary bread, for safe you may like to ask specifically which one of my recipes I have ever done fermentation at fridge.
For those fast (or regular) rising bread... e.g. most asian bread, I don't fool around, ferment at 75 - 85F (27C ...???) room temp, to achieve the desired texture and flavor.
Slashing the top definitely a good idea, thanks for your input Anh =) If you have a chance to try... or any other bread recipe, please let me know your finding, I'd love to know. *kiss kiss*

Ellie, keekeeh, oh you totally cracked me up :D If any chance I come to Aussie, just prepare some of your nutty candies, I will carry 2 suitcases of bread, deal :D

Lydia, right, have sort of panetone's sentiment! Although panetone requires loads of eggs while this one has none, I love both!

Angie, yes, tea! esp the 'thick-milk' tea... you got to teach me how local call it, hopi... sth?, or HK-style half-n-half (tea + coffee)

Tanna, here you tea expert!!! Someday you got to show off your 'collection', I'm super nosy, hehee!

Lis, your breakfast so european darling! wonderful indeed!

aminah, thanks for your sweet words. They mean a lot to me :D

Susan, can't wait to see your creation of these ingredients, just shout when you have done any, eh!

Andrew, thanks for your comment. I don't think my husband care about fennel (and orange, and raisine... errr) either. K, will "see" your around :D

Calli, me too... their food is soooo self-loving (seeming I'm talking about a person eh), but I still love them!

Chris, thanks for your sweet words, I do love the bread a ton :D

Edith said...

I totally agree with Asha, you, Gattina is slowly killing us by your absolutely delicious looking goodies. So now, when is your next trip back to Singapore? Me will camp out in Changi airport just for you. *wink*

aminah said...

gattina, its monday morning and I need some ideas for dinner tonight!!! help!

Valentina said...

Gattinna, I am so happy that I found the link to your blog again. It is a wonderful address never to be misplaced. I will be printing this recipe to try at home. Till next post. ;o )

Patricia Scarpin said...

This is so beautiful, Gattina! I'm always in awe with your bread making.

Anonymous said...

That looks so lovely, Gattina. The crumb and the shaping are just right. You are so amazing. Have we ever seen anything less than perfect from you? No--and jolly good for us! :):)

Gattina Cheung said...

Edith, I think we bloggers make the best frequent flyers, as we just can't NOT visit each other and pig out :D

Aminah, am I too late? I find Katie's menu the best, take a look!

Valentia, thank you for dropping by! I think I've seen you many time at Patricia's blog (hope I'm right), anyway, you have a wonderful blog, will "see" you there too!

Pat, from someone is a bread expert, your compliment means a lot to me, thanks sweetie!

Sher, oh I am flattered! For some reason, I like to play around dough :D

Anonymous said...

I love all the bread you made. This is wonderful, can I have a litle? Baci from Rome :-)

Helene said...

I with all the others overwhelming and delightful. Wish I as there.
But instead there´s the chance to make them,... just not as yummy as yours!! :)

Helene said...

do me a favor: never-ever-never stop blogging...your blog makes my day-everyday1

Patrizia said...

This is absolutely delicious! I left the sugar out and used more raisins,this works well.
The flavour really reminds me of my youth in Italy.....