Friday, March 30, 2007

Un nuovo pane!

My friend Romelia gave me four wonderful cookbooks when she was moving out.. she has a lot and she thought these were four too many.. but funnily enough, even though I love to cook, I don't have _that_ many cookbooks. I mostly improvise. But baking is an art that needs to be learnt well, before improvisation is allowed, I believe. So, I got four baking books: Breads, Pies and Pastries, Cookies and Crackers, and Cakes. Ah, they're so wonderful! So I decided I would start trying to make some type of bread different from my usual one. I already tested the oven of the Berkeley apartment with my typical biova, and it turned out wonderful. So I decided it was time for me to try something new.. also, as a side note, I've been trying to change my breakfast, from milk and cereals, to milk and bread. I find it very annoying to have to pay so much for a box of cereals that's nothing other than some dried bread and fruit, in the end. So.. here is my first experiment:

Pane con zucchini / Bread with zucchini !
To make it, coarsely blend 4 small zucchini, add salt to them, add 5 cups of flour and 2 tsp yeast dissolved with a little bit of warm water and sugar. Mix, and keep adding water until the dough becomes workable. Knead for 10 minutes, adding salt and flour if necessary. Let the dough rest until it doubles in volume, ~ 1h 30 min. Knead some more and give it a shape. Put it on a lightly greased baking pan. Let rest for another hour. Brush a little bit of olive oil on the surface so that the zucchini don't get burned. Heat up the oven at 425 F. Cook for ~50-60 minutes. Cool down on a rack.
The result is a delicious, dense, and moist bread with a hard crust. The taste is heavenly. The zucchini add a delicate flavor that can be tasted in the background. It's wonderful also toasted, since it remains moist anyway. For example, look at this slice, toasted and with a little butter on the right side.. wouldn't you like to try it?!?
I had this bread with many different toppings, ranging from apple sauce to tomato and cheese. Small note: the original recipe said to let the zucchini stand with the salt for 30 min and then remove the excess water. I didn't do it, I thought I'd just add less water in the dough. It was good anyway, in my opinion (and also in the opinion of everyone who tried..). :) Now the bread is almost finished.. mmm... what's going to be the next bread I make? :)

I put this bread as one of my entries for the next 'Waiter, that's something in my.. basket', which is going to be about bread!! After baking lots of breads, I decided this counts within the 'top three' of my recent production, together with : 'pane al formaggio' e 'pane integrale alle noci'.
The event is hosted by Spittoon extra, check out the link here.

1 comment:

Andrew said...

A marvellous entry Marta, many thanks for taking part in Waiter.

(I went for this recipe alone as I have so many, many entries!)