Pane di tre sorelle
- Preparation and cooking time
- Takes half a day - inc waiting for dough to rise
- A challenge
- Makes 1 large loaf (about 16 slices)
Make a loaf of real Italian country bread - it's made with three grains, hence the title
For the grains
- 85g wheat grain or use ebly (sold as pasta wheat), or faro - or use half sunflower seeds and half wheat grains
- 85g brown lentils (not green Puy lentils)
- 85g risotto rice
For the dough
- STEP 1
To make the sponge, heat 100ml/31⁄2 fl oz water with the apple juice in a small pan (or in a large glass bowl in the microwave) until lukewarm. If heated in a pan, pour the liquid into a large bowl. Stir in the honey and yeast and, using a balloon whisk(right), beat until dissolved. Stir in the flour and whisk until combined. Leave this in a warm place for 2 hours – covered or not, it’s up to you – stirring once or twice after one hour.When ready, the sponge should be bubbling, smell distinctly 'yeasty', and will have risen to double its height.
- STEP 2
While the sponge is rising, you need to soak the grains. So, as soon as you have found a warm spot for the sponge, heat 400ml/14fl oz water together with the wheat grains, lentils and rice in a saucepan and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover and leave in a warm place (2 hours should do it, by which time the sponge will be ready). Then drain the grains briefly in a seive to remove any water that hasn't absorbed.
- STEP 3
To make the dough, combine the flours and salt and put to one side. Slowly pour the warm water, the apple juice and olive oil into the risen sponge and beat together with a large balloon whisk. Then stir in the soaked grains and rosemary with the whisk. Add the flour mixture, using your hands, and squeeze together (right). It will be very soft and sticky – almost difficult to deal with. When roughly but evenly combined, scrape the dough from your hands. Pour a tablespoon of olive oil over the top of the dough. Cover the bowl for 10 minutes. Clean and dry your hands.
- STEP 4
Now for the kneading and rising. Pour 3 tablespoons olive oil onto your hands (left) and spread it over the work surface to cover an area about 30cm in diameter. Tip the dough onto it and very lightly knead it 10 or 12 times (20-30 seconds only) as it requires minimum kneading. Don’t add extra flour – the oil should stop the dough sticking. If it does stick, just re-oil the work surface. When the dough looks smooth, lightly shape into a ball. Return seam side down to the bowl. Cover. Leave for 15 minutes in a warm spot. Gently knead the dough again (same way, same time).Return to the bowl for 30 minutes.
- STEP 5
Shape the dough. Lay a large clean tea towel folded in half widthways on a large baking sheet. Dust well with flour. On an oiled surface, pat the dough to a 30x23cm rectangle. Taking the two corners from one short end, fold them towards the centre till they meet to make a point (left). Press down. Repeat with the other short end. Fold the dough in half lengthways, so you have two pointed ends. Press the long join to seal – so it looks like a Cornish pasty with pointed ends. Lay it seam side up diagonally on the cloth, wrapping it up tightly (see tip). Leave to rise in a warm place for 2 to 21⁄2 hours, or until almost doubled.
- STEP 6
Preheat the oven to 220C/gas 7/fan 200C. Unwrap the dough. Quickly and carefully lift, then roll it onto your lower arm (left) and onto a flour-dusted baking sheet, seam side down. Make 3-4 evenly spaced slashes with a very sharp knife, cutting sideways into the top of the dough. Bake in the centre of the oven for about 45 minutes, until it’s a rich brown colour. It should feel lighter now than before and sound hollow when tapped. Cool on a wire rack. Eat within 3 days of making.