Pane Italiano For my friend Rita

My friend Rita, and her daughter Sarah, recently returned from an Italian vacation. This bread’s for them!

I woke up this morning and decided to cut the Next Up list in Dede’s Bakery and Confectionary list with Italian bread. This loaf has a nice crumb, open structure, good chewy crust and great taste. “ ‘O sole mio!”

Italian Bread

• 2 ¼ tsp (7g) active dry yeast
• 1 ¾ c (413g) warm water
• 1 tsp (4g) sugar
• 3 ¼ c (455g) bread flour
• 2 tsp (12g) salt
• 1 egg white


  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer, mix your yeast, warm water, and sugar. Allow the mixture to sit until the yeast becomes frothy, about 5 minutes.
  2. Once the yeast is ready, add the flour and salt to the bowl. using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until the dough comes together, about 3-4 minutes. Increase the speed to medium and mix it for 3-5 minutes to develop the gluten. Add additional flour by the Tbl until the dough barely cleans the sides of the bowl.
  3. Once the dough is done mixing, remove it from the mixer and place it into an oiled bowl. Cover and let the dough rest until it has doubled in size, about 1 hour. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper. It should weigh ~862g.
  4. Dump the dough out onto a floured surface and pound the air out of it, fold it back in on itself into a round and place it back into the bowl, seam side down. Cover and let it rest for another 30-40 minutes.
  5. Once it has rested and risen back up again, dump it out onto a lightly floured surface and degas it again. Cut the dough in half and toll them both up into 10 inch baguette-like loaves. Place the loaves onto your prepared baking sheet, seam side down and cover them. Preheat your oven to 375F.
  6. Whisk egg white and 1 tbl water to use as an egg wash
  7. Proof your loaves until they are nearly double in size about 30-45 minutes. Once the loaves are ready, score your loaves and bake them for 25-30 minutes After the first 15 minutes brush egg wash on the bread, sprinkle with sesame seeds and return to finish baking.
  8. They should have a light golden crust and bake to interior temp of 190F.

Swirled Sugar Cookie Development

While traveling last week I saw a recipe for 3 ingredient sugar cookies. QC loves sugar cookies so they moved to the top of DeDe’s Bakery and Confectionery ToDo list.

The original recipe called for just three ingredients, butter, powdered sugar and AP flour. After following the recipe I determined it was not nearly slack enough to pipe into swirls, so I added a fourth ingredient, milk.

I used the first attempted recipe to judge if, with modification, the batter could be modified to allow it to pipe. The second go round (below) I actually measured the amount of milk required to produce a very, very, firm peak, pipeable batter.

I used an Mi piping tip on the first attempt. The piped cookies were very nice, much like roses, but as expected they lost definition after baking. Typical of this type of cookie the butter melts out during baking.

For the second attempt, I used a B4 tip and expected the same result, but perhaps due to the less pronounced ridges it held its shape a bit better. Lucky guess in piping tips. Also, I froze the second attempt rather than just refrigerating.

Swirled Butter Cookies

• 227g (1 c) Unsalted butter
• 118g (1 c) Powdered Sugar
• 256g (2 c) AP Flour
• ¾ c + 2 Tbl milk to thin to piping consistency


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (325°F Convection.) Line 2 large baking sheets with silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
  2. In mixing bowl of a stand mixer, add butter and sugar. Cream at highest speed for about 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. The mixture should turn from yellow to white and look like whipped cream when you are done. Make sure to stop and scrape the sides of your bowl a few times with a spatula so that all the butter gets creamed.
  3. Add in the flour ½ cup at a time. Mix in at low speed and then gradually increase speed once flour is incorporated. The mixture will be crumbly at first but then should form a thick, soft dough, almost like a thick paste.
  4. Add milk sparingly until the dough achieves a firm piping consistency. (Think very firm peaks.)
  5. Transfer the dough to a piping bag. Using a large open star tip (an M1 or B4 with a 1/2 inch opening), pipe swirls or whatever design you prefer. Space cookies 1 inch apart. Place piped cookies into freezer for 30 minutes so the dough is chilled. This will prevent them from spreading as much when they bake.
  6. Place the cookie sheets into the middle of your oven. Bake for ~20 minutes or until edges and surface start to turn a light brown. (Rotate cookie sheet after 10 minutes). The fine detail of the piping will flow out as the butter melts, but the swirl should remain.
  7. Let cookies cool on cookie sheet before removing. Store uneaten cookies in an airtight container.

Bicolor Brioche

I originally saw this brioche on FB. It was published by Cookist. I tried it as presented and it was a disaster. I decided to try again using my own brioche recipe and it was good. Maybe not good enough to make again, but perhaps with more modification it could be a success.

My brioche recipe is easy to make. It’s a basic bread recipe enriched by adding eggs and milk. To make the bicolor, divide the dough in half and add 2-3 tablespoons of cocoa, (enough to make a solid chocolate dough.) To incorporate the cocoa and end up with a soft pliable texture I added two more tablespoons of butter and two tablespoons of milk, You should have a soft, pliable but slightly sticky dough.

The resultant brioche crumb was tighter that this type of bread should have, however it was a nice soft bread with a pleasant taste. It’s probably not worth making again, however I plan to replace the chocolate component was a pumpernickel brioche. Stay tuned.

BiColor Brioche

• 1 c milk –
• 3 Tbl sugar
• 5 g yeast
• 2 eggs, separated
• 4 Tbl softened butter –
• 4 1/3 c AP flour
• ½ tsp salt
• 3 Tbl cocoa powder


  1. Whisk milk, sugar and yeast together in a stand mixer bowl
  2. Add and whisk one egg
  3. Cube butter and add with salt and flour
  4. Mix with dough hook 8 minutes
  5. Divide in half
  6. Add cocoa powder to one of the halves and knead to mix thoroughly
  7. Cover both halves (in separate bowls) for 2 hours
  8. Roll the white dough into a rectangle approx 12×14”
  9. Roll the chocolate dough into a rectangle 11×13”
  10. Lay the chocolate dough over the white leaving ½” border
  11. Roll the two layers together.
  12. Use pizza cutter, cut approximately 1” wide cuts though half the rectangle
  13. Add hazelnut cream to the uncut half of the dough. Spread to approximately 3” wide and 1” from the ends
  14. Twist each 1” cut portion of the dough approx 8 times
  15. Start rolling from the uncut end, carefully pick up and place in a bread pan
  16. Preheat oven to 360 degrees
  17. Let rest 30 minutes
  18. Coat with egg wash
  19. Bake 360 deg for 35 minutes
  20. After 10 minutes, remove from bread pan to let cool
  21. Best if eaten warm.