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Pane Cassericio Recipe – Italian Country Bread 

 January 11, 2021

By  Gareth

medium

16 - 22 HOURS

italy

f there was a bread I am most proud of discovering, the pane casereccio would be it. I love the texture, taste and depth of aroma that come from this bread and the dough can be used to make many other fantastic breads as well.

We are using a biga preferment which adds flavour and structure to the dough. It’s fairly easy to shape so a perfect bread to learn if you are fairly new to bread baking. 


How to make pane casereccio video tutorial

Ingredients 


For the biga:

   300g  White bread flour


   265g  Water 


    0.7g   Fresh yeast (0.4g active dried)


For the dough:

   450g  White bread flour


   280g  Water


    5.5g  Yeast (2.5g active dried)


     15g  Salt


     18g  2nd Water


     18g  Extra virgin olive oil


1

Create the biga preferment the day before. If using dried yeast follow the instructions below. Add the yeast to the water and whisk till dissolved. Next, add the flour and lightly mix with a dough scraper or your hand for until incorporated. This should take 1-2 minutes. Leave for 12-18 hours.

2

The next day, weigh the ingredients. Add the biga to the water and combine all the ingredients, excluding the 2nd water and the olive oil to a large mixing bowl.

3

Mix the dough slowly, first with a dough scraper and then using a stretching motion on the table. Continue this for 5 minutes, by now the dough should have an even consistency. Place the down back into the mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a bag and place it in the fridge.

4

After 15 minutes, take the dough out and knead for 10 minutes. Start off slowly and gradually get more intense. You may wish to use the fast knead or the french technique shown in the video below. Cover again and place back in the fridge for 15 minutes.

5

Remove the dough from the fridge and fast knead for 7 minutes on the table. Next add the 2nd water, putting the dough back in the bowl to do so. After the water is incorporated, add the olive oil and knead for a further couple of minutes on the table. The dough should look smooth, even and strong.

6

Put the dough back in the bowl, covered and in the fridge for 1 hour.

7

Knock back the dough or complete a stretch and fold. Take a temperature check, if above 28C put it back in the fridge, if it’s under this leave on the kitchen table. Leave to rest, covered for another hour.

8

Complete another stretch and fold or knock back the dough but this time leave it on the table to rest in a rectangle shape.

9

After 20 minutes, divide into two equal weights of around 650g. Try to keep the square shape, so there is no need to mould. Just plop them onto a lightly dusted board. Preheat the oven with a baking stone at 250C (480F).

10

Leave these to proof on a board for 1 ½ to 2 ½ hours, use the pinch test to test if it is ready.

11

Cut using a bakers lame with a cut 2 inches away from each edge. Then quickly drop into the oven using a peel and add steam. Turn down the temperature to 220C and bake for 35-45 minutes.

12

Once the bread has turned has turned a nice light golden colour, use a peel to remove it and allow to cool. You can choose to bake it a bit longer if you want deeper aromas.

Method using a dough mixer


1

Create a biga the day before you plan to bake. If using dried yeast follow the instructions below. Add the yeast to the water and whisk till dissolved. Next, add the flour and lightly mix with a dough scraper or your hand for until incorporated. This should take 1-2 minutes. Leave for 12-18 hours.

2

The next day, weigh the ingredients and add the biga to the water and then combine all ingredients excluding the 2nd water and the olive oil to a dough mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment.

3

Mix for 6 minutes slowly, then for 6 minutes at fast speed. Lower the speed and add the 2nd water, then increase the speed as it gets absorbed into the dough. Then repeat with the olive oil. Continue mixing on fast speed for another 2 minutes, the dough should make a slapping sound against the mixer when it is ready -but don’t worry too much if this doesn’t happen.

4

Put the dough back in the bowl, covered and in the fridge for 1 hour.

5

Knock back the dough or complete a stretch and fold. Take a temperature check, if above 28C put it back in the fridge, if it’s under this leave on the kitchen table. Leave to rest, covered for another hour.

6

Complete another stretch and fold or knock back the dough but this time leave it on the table to rest in a rectangle shape.

7

After 20 minutes, divide into two equal weights of around 650g. Try to keep the square shape, so there is no need to mould. Just plop them onto a lightly dusted board. Preheat the oven with a baking stone at 250C (480F).

8

Leave these to proof on a board for 1 ½ to 2 ½ hours, use the pinch test to test if it is ready.

9

Cut using a bakers lame with a cut 2 inches away from each edge. Then quickly drop into the oven using a peel and add steam. Turn down the temperature to 220C and bake for 35-45 minutes.

10

Once the bread has turned has turned a nice light golden colour, use a peel to remove it and allow to cool. You can choose to bake it a bit longer if you want deeper aromas.


Using dried yeast


If using instant yeast, divide the amount of fresh yeast used by 3 and follow the same method as fresh yeast.

Active dried yeast needs to be activated before use. In this case, warm the water for the biga to 35C (95F) - no higher. Add the yeast to the bowl, whisk and leave for 10 minutes to bloom. Combine the flour for the biga with the yeasty water and place in the fridge for 10 minutes to cool. Return to the worktop and allow to ferment as above.

When ready to start the dough, warm 20 grams of water to 35C (95F), add the yeast with half a teaspoon of sugar, whisk and leave to stand for ten minutes before adding to the dough. Remove 20 grams of the 1st water addition from the recipe.


Top tips for the best pane casereccio


Once the biga’s gluten structure is visible and there are large bubbles appearing on the top it is ready or “ripe” as it’s often called.

You can adapt the time your biga is ready to fit around your life. To do this adjust the yeast slightly and also use temperature. Cooler climates will slow down the fermentation process. I will often put a biga in the fridge for a couple of hours if it is almost ready to slow fermentation till I can proceed.

You can make focaccia with the pane casereccio dough. Divide the dough into 100g pieces instead of 650g, shape into balls and leave to rest for 10-20 minutes. Next stretch them out and add toppings. Drizzle some olive oil over and bake straight onto the baking stone of the 220C (430F) oven for around 20 minutes. Use the top oven and grill settings for a more golden colour if you need to.


Using dried yeast


If using instant yeast, divide the amount of fresh yeast used by 3 and follow the same method as fresh yeast.

Active dried yeast needs to be activated before use. In this case, warm the water for the biga to 35C (95F) - no higher. Add the yeast to the bowl, whisk and leave for 10 minutes to bloom. Combine the flour for the biga with the yeasty water and place in the fridge for 10 minutes to cool. Return to the worktop and allow to ferment as above.

When ready to start the dough, warm 20 grams of water to 35C (95F), add the yeast with half a teaspoon of sugar, whisk and leave to stand for ten minutes before adding to the dough. Remove 20 grams of the 1st water addition from the recipe.

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