Bread has played a central role in the history of La Cucina Italiana and everyday life.: this is reflected in the endless array of expressions concerning Pane (bread) . Consider just a few of these,
- Senza il pane tutto diventa orfano– without bread, everyone becomes an orphan.
- Uscire di pane duro– to leave behind hard bread or to have a change for the better.
- Essere pan e cacio- to be like bread and cheese, ie thick as thieves.
- churigo come il pane, medico come il vino. Look for a surgeon who is like bread ( ie young) and a doctor like wine ( ie old).
- E’ buono come un pezzo di pane. He’ s like bread, He’s a good person.
- L’ho comprato per un tozzo di pane. I bought it for a piece of bread, (a bargain)
- pane al pane e vino al vino , to call a spade a spade.
But wait there’s more. I’ll spare you the rest.
My most recent loaf, a wholesome, nutty Pane Integrale con Miele ( wholemeal with honey) reminds me of a crusty loaf I bought years ago in a small Umbrian hill town. The crust is crunchy and dark, but not too much so, and the open textured bread is easy to digest, which is surprising for a loaf made of 100% wholemeal flour. I’ll admit that when it first emerged from the oven, I was a little concerned. Nothing worse than pane duro, hard bread.
The secret is the long slow rising ‘biga’ or starter, made especially for this loaf, and the addition of honey. The recipe comes from my favourite cookbook, The Italian Baker, by Carol Field, and I offer this bread recipe to Leah, of the Cookbook Guru as further proof of this book’s worth.
Pane Integrale con Miele– Wholemeal Bread with honey. ( Ingredients are listed in grams, ounces, cups )
- 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 160g/5.6 oz/2/3 cup warm water
- 200 g/7 oz/1 1/2 cups minus 1 Tb unbleached white flour
Stir the yeast into the water in a mixing bowl and leave for 10 minutes. Stir in the flour with 100 strokes of a wooden spoon. Let rise, covered, for 6 to 24 hours. Measure 1.4 cup of this starter and throw away the rest. ( NB. I used the rest in another recipe!)
- 5 g/0.2 oz/13/4 teaspoons of active dry yeast
- 35 g /1.2 oz/1 1/2 T of honey
- 360 g/12oz/1 1/2 cups warm water
- 500 g/17. 5 oz/3/3/4 cups whole wheat/wholemeal flour
- 7.5 g/0.3 oz/1 1/2 t of salt
Method by stand mixer.
Stir the yeast and honey into the water in a mixer bow: let stand for about 10 minutes. Break up the starter and add to the bowl. Stir with the paddle until the stater is in shreds. Add the flour and salt and mix until the dough comes together. Change to a dough hook and knead for 2 minutes at low speed and 2 minutes at medium speed. The dough should be fairly smooth and have lost most of its stickiness. Finish kneading by hand on a floured board.
First Rise. Place the dough in a large oiled bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let rise for about 2 hours or until doubled.
Shaping and second rise. Turn the dough onto a well floured surface and shape into a round loaf without punching the dough down. Place the loaf on a slightly oiled baking sheet or a peel sprinkled with cornmeal . Cover with waxed paper or a towel and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled, around 45 minutes to one hour.
Baking. Preheat oven to 230 c/450 F. Bake for 10 minutes, spraying the oven three times with water. Reduce the temperature to 200c/400F and bake 25 minutes longer. Cool completely on rack.
My notes. My dough spread quite widely and looked like a cartwheel loaf one buys in Italy. I slashed the top of mine in a tic-tac-toe pattern, causing some deflation before it entered the oven: next time, no slashing to see what happens. I used course semolina on the trays. No need to waste the left over biga – use it in another loaf while the oven is hot. The book also gives instructions for making the loaf by hand or with a food processor. I have listed the method by kitchen stand mixer only.
21 thoughts on “Italian Wholemeal and Honey Bread / Pane Integrale”
Ohh this looks SO GOOD!! It looks really light and fluffy, which I wouldn’t have expected using honey! Will have to give this a try 🙂
I can’t wait to try this, especially with a native honey – thanks for sharing the recipe, I can’t wait to read some more
Thanks Anne, I am having a bread obsession so no doubt there will be more!
The bruschetta and bread combination looks amazing!
Thanks, simple food is often the best.
Love, love, love the Italian bread expressions. My copy of this book is on its way! Can’t wait. Making ciabatta at the moment because of you last post.
There must be another 100 more expressions re pane like those. I just love Italian idiomatic food sayings. I think you will have fun with the book. I made the saltless Tuscan loaf too- a friend is coming to lunch on Sunday who cannot eat salt. It looks great- but for me, it will need serious slathering in good oil or something. Good luck with the ciabatta, such a wet mix to play with.
Still waiting for the biga to prove. It went from firm to soft and full of bubbles overnight – such magical properties bread has!
This looks like my style of bread—wholesome, nutty in flavor and just perfect.
It is tasty. I prefer this kind of bread. So easy to make, once you have the ‘biga’ going.
Love all of those Italian sayings. A friend of mine is Italian and her father said that a meal isn’t complete without bread so he only eats Italian food because there is always bread!
Very sensible, I’m with him.
I’m pairing this bread with spicy cheese dip…
With spicy cheese, any cheese. I’m thinking gorgonzola.
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Hi, what about Jack Cheese with Habanero Block?
Delicious bread!!! Thank you for the recipe 🙂
It was very tasty and easy too.
What beautiful pane! Is it the original The Italian Baker you enthuse about Francesca, or the revised edition? These books seems quite different to each other. Nonetheless I love your wholemeal honey bread and will cook it on Saturday. My Italian husband will only eat white crusty bread so I will enjoy cooking this for him (and me, plus the teenagers). Great photographs, thank you for sharing 😀
Yes it is the revised edition. It’s a very appealing bread, not a typical shaped loaf- more Italian in shape and tasty.
Yes I love the round cobb shape, it is very appealing. Thanks for advising which book too, I will have to add it to my collection as you have shared some beautiful recipes from The Italian Baker – I hope Carol gives you commission 🙂