Pane Francese


Pane Francese
Pane Francese means French Bread in Italian, but this loaf is a bit flatter than true French Bread, and according to Beth, is reminiscent of the earthy breads made by early Roman bakers. It was the first time I baked this bread, but it made me feel like the most accomplished baker in the world. It developed a sturdy crackly crisp crust and moist interior filled with uneven holes. This is the closest to the Romanian store bought breads which I miss so much here in the US. It takes a long time to bake it but is well worth it. I will keep baking this bread, it was just great!
Prepared and Photographed by:
Recipe Source: Beth Herspenger, Bread Lovers Machine Cookbook
Serves: 4
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

  • For biga sponge:
  • 1⅛ cups of water
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of SAF yeast or bread machine yeast
  • 2 cups of bread flour

  • For the dough:
  • ¼ cup of water
  • 1¼ cup of bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons of gluten
  • 1 teaspoon of SAF yeast or bread machine yeast
  • 1½ teaspoons of salt

  1. Biga sponge
  2. Place the water in a small sauce pan and put on the low heat to bring it to a lukewarm temperature
  3. Transfer the water in a bowl, add the sugar and the yeast, whisk well
  4. Add the flour and whisk together, put the mixture in the bread maker pan, close the lid and let is sit in the machine for 8-10 hours

  5. Dough
  6. Add the dough ingredients to the biga sponge, program the machine to dough cycle
  7. When the cycle is finished, unplug the machine and let the dough it rise for another hour
  8. After the time ends, scrape the bread out onto a oiled surface. Using oil instead of flour will keep the dough from getting heavier from the added flour. Knead a few times and divide into two portions.
  9. Flatten each portion into ovals. Roll up from a long edge into an oblong rectangular loaf, will get two loafs of equal size
  10. Take each roll and place in on the baking sheet. Cover with a clean towel and let it rise again for an hour or so.
  11. Preheat the oven to 400 F, bake the bread for 30-40 minutes. The smell is just heavenly. When the crust is golden brown, pull out of the oven, place it on a wire rack and let it cool a little bit before slicing.

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