Saturday, August 28, 2010

Pan Co' Santi

I'm been on a roll with recipes from My Bread, having great success with Pane Integrale and Rye Bread, so I thought I'd try out something a little more special (I'm working my way towards more treat-like bread), Pan co' Santi. Pan co' Santi is a special occasion bread served in Tuscany on All Saints' Day, November 1st. I'm not patient enough to wait for All Saints' Day to come around to try out the recipe, but I'll be making it again in just a couple of months, substituting some of the bread flour for whole wheat. It's essentially cinnamon-raisin bread with walnuts, so if you're like me and can't resist a piece of cinnamon-raisin toast with peanut butter, you'll love this rustic (and ridiculously simple to prepare) version.

Pan co' Santi
from My Bread by Jim Lahey

3 cups (400 grams) bread flour
1/2 cup (85 grams) raisins
1/2 cup (50 grams) walnuts
1.25 teaspoons (8 grams) table salt
3/4 teaspoon (2 grams) cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) instant or other active dry yeast
Pinch freshly ground black pepper
1.5 cups (350 grams) cool (55 to 65 degrees F) water
Wheat bran, cornmeal, or additional flour for dusting

1. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, raisins, walnuts, salt, cinnamon,  yeast and pepper, mixing thoroughly. Add the water and, using a wooden spoon or your hand, mix until you have wet, sticky dough, about 30 seconds. If it's not really sticky to the touch, mix in another tablespoon or two of water. Cover the bowl and let sit at room temperature until the surface is dotted with bubbles and the dough is more than doubled in size, 12 to 18 hours.

2. When the first rise is complete, generously dust a work surface with flour. Use a bowl scraper or rubber spatula to scrape the dough out of the bowl in one piece. Using lightly floured hands or a bowl scraper or spatula, lift the edges of the dough in toward the center. Nudge and tuck in the edges of the dough to make it round.

3. Place a tea towel on your work surface and generously dust it with wheat bran, cornmeal, or flour. Gently place the dough on the towel, seam side down. If the dough is tacky, dust the top lightly with wheat bran, cornmeal, or flour. Fold the ends of the tea towel over the dough to cover it and place it in a warm, draft-free spot to rise for 1 to 2 hours. The dough is ready when it is almost doubled. If you gently poke it with your finger, it should hold the impression. If it springs back, let it rise for another 15 minutes.

4. Half an hour before the end of the second rise, preheat the oven to 475 degrees F, with a rack in the lower third, and place a covered 4.5- to 5.5-quart heavy pot in the center of the rack.

5. Using pot holders, carefully remove the preheated pot from the oven and uncover it. Unfold the tea towel and quickly but gently invert the dough into the pot, seam side up. (Use caution-the pot will be very hot). Cover the pot and bake for 30 minutes.

6. Remove the lid and continue baking until the bread is a deep chestnut color but not burnt, 15 to 30 minutes more. Use a heatproof spatula or pot holders to carefully lift the bread out of the pot and place it on a rack to cool thoroughly.

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