Buttermilk Sandwich Bread (Pan Carre’)


Another bread post… I know, I have developed a slight obsession for bread-making, but the truth is there are so many ways to make beautiful breads, and now that I have embarked upon the journey of home-baking, I owe it to myself to search and experiment like there’s no tomorrow. So many breads, so little time! Pan Carre’ is a very famous Italian bread, especially among the little ones, as it keeps a soft crust and moist and brioche-like crumb. It makes the perfect sandwich bread for your kids lunch box. And if you have it in the morning with a generous amount of butter and jam, your day will be better and brighter.

INGREDIENTS, makes 1 loaf

1 tablespoon dry yeast

120 ml (1/2 cup) luke warm water.

150 ml buttermilk (3/4 cup)

450 g (3 1/2 cups)r of all-purpose flour

50 gr (1/2 cup) of rye flour (you can substitute with spelt or wholemeal)

1 tablespoon of honey or barely mat syrup

1 1/2 teaspoon salt


1. Dissolve the yeast in the water. Leave to rest for 10 minutes, until it appears frothy.

2. In a large bowl mix the flours with the of honey or barley malt syrup, the buttermilk and the yeasted water. Knead well for about 5 minutes, then add the salt. If you the dough is too dry, add a few tablespoons of water. It it’s too wet, sprinkle a little flour and keep kneading until the dough is smooth and silky. As all flours vary slightly, don’t be alarmed if you need to make adjustments to achieve the right texture. Let your instinct guide you and you will not go wrong.

3. Leave the dough to rest onto a floured sheet of grease-proof paper for 30 minutes.

4. After its rested, the dough will appear smoother and very elastic. Gently stretch it in the shape of a rectangle and fold it onto itself three times. Put the dough in an oiled loaf tin, cover with oiled cling wrap and bulk-prove until doubled in size. This will take 1 1/2 to 2 hours, according to the temperature in your house. The cooler it is, the longer it will take.


5. Preheat you oven to 200 C (390 F).

6. Glaze the top with  egg wash made with 1 beaten egg mixed with 2 tablespoons of milk,  and bake for 25/30 minutes. Allow to cool in the tin for 30 minutes before lifting the bread out (or it may tear!), then rest on a wire rack until completely cool.




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No-knead Bread


“What?? Is she going mad?” You are probably wondering. No, I haven’t lost my mind, my friends. In my recent bread-making frenzy, I have come across an ancient, wondrous recipe that will turn each one of you into an Artisanal Baker. In Italy this bread used to go by the name of Pane Cafone, boorish bread, but it was only in 2006 , when Jim Lahey shared his formula for this miraculous breadmaking technique, that something like 8 million food bloggers world wide have gone mad about it and have baked  it , and blogged about it incessantly. Honestly, this is so easy that I had my 4 year-old Raffi mix a loaf a few days ago. The end product looked like this:


Now that I have your attention…

The principle behind this recipe is that if you mix your ingredients just so they are amalgamated and you let the mixture prove for a very, and I mean very, long time, it will turn into a bubbly, light-as-a feather dough. Because you won’t knock the air out by kneading, those same bubbles will stay trapped in the dough resulting in a crusty loaf with a moist, soft and airy crumb. Genius, if you ask me. Because of the long proving required, I would suggest you make the mixture at night before you go to bed and bake the next day. I have adapted Jim Lahey’s recipe to suit my oven and my personal taste, and I proudly confess I have not bought a single loaf of bread for over a year now.


Ingredients (if using dry yeast)

450 g (3-3/4 cups) All purpose flour
350 ml (1 -1/4 cups) filtered water, at room temperature
1/2 scant teaspoon dry yeast
2 teaspoons  of salt

If using your own sourdough starter home-made-sourdough

400 gr (3 1/4 cups) All purpose flour
280 ml (3/4 cups) filtered water at room temperature
200 gr (7 oz)starter
2 teaspoons of salt

Semolina for dusting

How to 
1. Mix flour, water and yeast together with a wooden spoon until combined.

2. Add salt and mix again. Your mixture will look and feel quite sticky. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and let it prove for 10/14 hours, or until it’s grown three times bigger and looks bubbly.

3. Dust your cooking bench and your hands with flour and try to shape the sticky mix into a ball. Let it rest for 1 1/2 hours, wrapped in a kitchen towel generously dusted with semolina flour.

4. Turn the oven to 220 C (430 F).

5. Put in a cast iron pot or a dutch oven, without the lid, to heat up  for about 40 minutes

6. Gently tip the risen dough in the pre-heated pot, cover with the lid and bake for 25 minutes. Please, use oven mitts!

7. Take the lid off and bake for another 10/15 minutes or until it looks crusty and browned. Take the pot out of the oven and let the bread come to room temperature before you slice it.





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