ITALIAN SAGE BREAD (PANE ALLA SALVIA )
Peggi Anne Tebben
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- 1 oz
- compressed fresh yeast, or 1/2 packages active dry yeast
- 1 1/2 c
- lukewarm water
- 5 1/2 c
- unbleached all-purpose flour
- 4 Tbsp
- olive oil
- 15 large
- leaves of sage, fresh or preserved in salt
- 1/2 c
- dry white wine
- 1 tsp
- 1/4 tsp
- freshly ground black pepper
1In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in 1 cup of the water, stirring with a wooden spoon.
2Place 1 1/2 cups of the flour in a larger bowl, add the dissolved yeast, and mix with the wooden spoon until all of the flour is incorporated and a small
ball of dough is formed. Sprinkle an additional 1/2 cup of flour over the ball of dough, then cover the bowl with a cotton towel and put it in a warm place, away from drafts. Let it stand until the dough has doubled in size about 1 hour.
3Put the olive oil in a small saucepan and warm it over medium heat. When the oil is lukewarm, add the sage leaves, each torn into 2 or 3 pieces. Saute the sage for 1 minute, then remove the pan from the heat and let the mixture become lukewarm.
4Arrange the remaining 3 cups of flour in a mound on a pasta board, then make a well in the center. Place the risen ball of dough in the well along with the wine, salt, pepper and the oil-sage mixture. With a wooden spoon, carefully mix together all the ingredients in the well, then add the remaining 1/2 cup of lukewarm water and start mixing with your hands, absorbing the flour from the inside rim of the well, little by little. Keep mixing until all but 7 or 8 tablespoons of the flour are incorporated, then knead the dough with the palms of your hands, in a folding motion, until it is homogeneous and smoot, about 15 minutes.
5Give the dough the shape you prefer (a long or a round loaf), then place on a floured cotton towel. Wrap the dough in the towel and again put it in
a warm place, away from drafts, and let it stand until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
6Line the middle shelf of the oven with ovenproof terra-cotta tiles and preheat the oven to 400 F. to heat the tiles which simulate a brick oven.
7When the dough has doubled in size, remove it from the towel and place it in the oven immediately, directly on the tiles.
8Bake the bread for about 75 minutes. Do not open the oven door for the first 30 minutes.
9Remove the bread from the oven and place it on a pasta board standing on its side, not lying flat. The bread must cool for at least 3 hours before it is eaten.