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Pane Bianco – Stuffed Italian Bread

This recipe makes a great bread loaf loaded with basil, tomatoes, garlic, and grated cheddar; the bread has a magnificent delicate texture, and is stuffed with flavour. The shape is easy to accomplish, and makes a noteworthy presentation.

Pane Bianco - Stuffed Italian Bread
Author:
Cuisine: Italian
Recipe type: Bread
Serves: 1 loaf
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
For the Dough
  • 3 cups unbleached bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1¼ teaspoons salt
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup lukewarm milk
  • ⅓ cup lukewarm water
  • 2¼ tablespoons olive oil
For the Filling
  • ¾ cup shredded Italian-blend cheese or the cheese of your choice
  • ½ cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes or your own oven-roasted tomatoes
  • 3 - 6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • ⅓ cup chopped fresh basil
Instructions
  1. To make the dough: Combine all of the dough ingredients in a bowl (or the bucket of your bread machine), and mix and knead — by hand, using a mixer, or in your bread machine set on the dough cycle — to make a smooth, very soft dough. The dough should stick a bit to the bottom of the bowl if you're using a stand mixer.
  2. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let it rise for 45 - 60 minutes, or until it's doubled in size.
  3. Meanwhile, thoroughly drain the tomatoes, patting them dry. Use kitchen shears to cut them into smaller bits.
  4. Gently deflate the dough. Flatten and pat it into a 60cm x 20cm rectangle. Spread with the cheese, tomatoes, garlic, and basil.
  5. Starting with one long edge, roll the dough into a log the long way. Pinch the edges to seal. Place the log seam-side down on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet.
  6. Using kitchen shears, start 1cm from one end and cut the log lengthwise down the center about 2cm, deep, to within 1cm of the other end.
  7. Keeping the cut side up, form an "S" shape. Tuck both ends under the centre of the "S" to form a "figure 8;" pinch the ends together to seal.
  8. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double, 45 to 60 minutes.
  9. While the loaf is rising, preheat the oven to 175°C.
  10. Uncover the bread, and bake it for 35 to 40 minutes, tenting it with foil after 20 to 25 minutes to prevent over-browning.
  11. Remove the bread from the oven, and transfer it to a rack to cool. Enjoy warm or at room temperature. Store, well-wrapped, at room temperature for a couple of days; freeze for longer storage.

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