Pane di tre sorelle

Pane di tre sorelle

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Cook: 45 mins 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

Nutrition and extra info

  • Can be frozen

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal195
  • fat2g
  • saturates0g
  • carbs39g
  • sugars0g
  • fibre3g
  • protein7g
  • salt0.79g
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  • 100ml /3½ fl oz apple juice (preferably the cloudy type)
  • 2 tsp clear honey



    Honey is made by bees from the nectar they collect from flowers. Viscous and fragrant, it's…

  • 1 sachet easy blend yeast



    Yeast is a living, single-cell organism. As the yeast grows, it converts its food (in the form…

  • 200g strong white bread flour



    Flour is usually made from grinding wheat, maize, rye, barley or rice. As the main…

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)



    The lentil plant (Lens Culinaris) originates from Asia and North Africa and is one of our oldest…

  • 85g risotto rice



    Rice is a grain, the seed of a type of grass, which is the most widely grown and the most…

For the dough

  • 200g strong wholemeal bread flour



    Flour is usually made from grinding wheat, maize, rye, barley or rice. As the main…

  • 200g strong white bread flour



    Flour is usually made from grinding wheat, maize, rye, barley or rice. As the main…

  • 2½ tsp fine sea salt
  • 4 tbsp warm water
  • 100ml /3½ fl oz apple juice (at room temperature)
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for kneading
  • 1 heaped tbsp chopped fresh rosemary or thyme (or a combination)



    Rosemary's intense, fragrant aroma has traditionally been paired with lamb, chicken and game…


  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.

  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.

  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.

  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.

  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.

  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.

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Comments, questions and tips

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2nd Mar, 2009
I'll begin at the end; the result was fantastic! One of the most delicious and nutritious bread I’ve ever made. Crispy crust and soft rich inside. However, I find the instructions way to complicated and can be easily simplified (I am a very experienced cook) and the quantities are inaccurate. I added 200g (!) extra flour and still ended up with sloppy dough that was impossible to handle and knead and when baked, the bread went flat.
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