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Pane Francese

posted Nov 18, 2011, 5:08 PM by Jenny Loh   [ updated Nov 18, 2011, 5:09 PM ]
From Ciril Hitz,  Baking Artisan Bread.  Is one of the easiest to handle,  and will definitely get the results that you want to see.

This is one of the easiest bread to make.  Ciril Hitz graded this as easy on dough preparation and easy on shaping and baking.  Indeed it is.  I've baked this 3 times and it never failed me at all. It will rise very very nicely in the oven.  Love to see the oven spring.  The best is this bread can be eaten on its own,  or just a simple cheese with it.

1.  Mix Biga,  leave it on kitchen counter top to ferment for 2 hours, and see that it doubles.
2.  Cut up the Biga, add water onto biga first then add other ingredients.  Mix and knead well.
3.  1st proof - this dough rise nicely,  doubled, without any stretch and fold.
4.  After proofing,  pour out the dough,  without degassing it.  Slowly using palm, to press the dough into a square.  I usually won't be able to get a proper square or rectangle.  There's no shaping required.  Just cut up the dough into 12-16 square/rectangle pieces depending how broad you've pressed the dough.  Leave the dough in this cut form.
6.  Final proofing - I like to use the seeds to let the dough rise on it.  Lay seeds on paper,  here I used sunflower seeds,  and poppy seeds,  you can use sesame seeds, almond,  whatever you like.  Spray water on top of the dough,  and lay it down onto the seeds.  The idea it that this will help the seeds to stick to the dough. Let it proof in this manner.  
7.  While proofing,  heat the oven with the steam making materials such as lava stones.  Preheat at 250 degree celsius.
8.  Dough is ready - after proofing and seeing that it has doubled.  turn it round with seeds on top,  and place on the peel to load the dough. I scored a few but after the seeds drop off,  I decided to skip this step after the 1st few.  
9.  Load dough - load dough into the oven,  and pour water onto the lava stones and quickly close the door.  Bake for 18 minutes or until golden brown.  

I saw the dough rise and expand quite quickly.  Love the smell of the baked seeds as the bread was baking.  This Pane is crispy on the outside, and soft on the inside.  This is a great for dinners,  as dinner rolls or simple breakfast with just cheese,  or as complex as making a sandwich.   Try it!

280g Bread Flour
168g Water
2g Instant Yeast

Leave to ferment, doubles in 2 hours.

Final Dough
All Biga
408g Bread Flour
294g Water
12g Salt