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jwnorris 12-14-2007 09:47 AM

Buccellato from the Splendid Table
 
Any suggestions on adapting this to a WFO? The Baker's Chronicle is their newsletter.

J W
:cool:

The Splendid Table from American Public Media
December 14, 2007

Dear Friends,

Yes, this week's Baker's Chronicle has a definite Italian turn of mind. Right now ovens in the Lucca area of northern Tuscany are giving out the wonderful fragrances of the local sweet bread, Buccellato. Buccellato is to Lucca what Panforte is to Siena and Panettone is to the Veneto region—a local tradition, especially for the holidays.

Fashion the recipe into three smaller loaves for giving. Freezing the Buccellato works well for up to three months.

Buccellato
Buccellato alla Moda di Taddeucci
Excerpted from The Italian Country Table: Home Cooking from Italy's Farmhouse Kitchens by Lynne Rossetto Kasper (Scribner, 1999). Copyright 1999 by Lynne Rossetto Kasper.

Makes 1 large loaf, serving 8 to 10

Anise and currants flavor this legendary bread of Lucca. Shaped in the form of a ring, this golden bread isn't quite like Italy's other yeasted sweet breads. Instead of being rich and cake-like, Buccellato is lightly sweetened and spiced—an appealing chewy white bread with a dense, lean crumb. I like Buccellato's simplicity. It tastes like homemade farmhouse bread spiffed up for company with currants and sugar. It's superb with any sweet wine.

In Lucca, no celebration happens without Buccellato and glasses of the sweet Vin Santo. When family comes from far away, Buccellato is served. At a christening for a new baby, Buccellato is served. Youngsters plead with parents, "Aunt Amelia is here (from across town), can't we have Buccellato?" But it's never just any Buccellato. The one true Buccellato comes from Taddeucci, the bakery on Piazza San Michele founded by Iacopo Taddeucci in 1882. The stylish old shop has not changed much since then, nor has its Buccellato.

Serve Buccellato sliced thin with glasses of Vin Santo. Toast leftovers for breakfast, or an after-dinner treat with fruit. The Lucchese make a sort of Buccellato strawberry shortcake in berry season, and I think it makes a great bread pudding.

Cook to Cook: A heavy-duty electric mixer is handy here, as the dough is a dense one. Its beating bruises the currants, slightly darkening the dough but spreading their flavor through the bread. Certainly a wooden spoon will accomplish the same thing, but it takes much more elbow grease. Use an organic bread or high-protein flour if at all possible. Anticipate about 7-1/2 hours to make the bread. If more convenient, the first rise of 4 hours can be stretched to overnight in a cool place.

* 2-1/4 teaspoons (1 package) active dry yeast
* 2/3 cup warm water (90 F)
* About 5 cups (25 ounces unbleached white bread flour (preferably organic)
* 1-1/4 cups milk, at room temperature
* 1 tablespoon anise seeds, bruised with the side of a knife
* 2 teaspoons salt
* 3/4 cup (5.25 ounces) sugar
* 1 cup (about 1/4 pound) currants, soaked in hot water 15 minutes and drained

Glaze:

* 1 tablespoon sugar
* 1 tablespoon water
* 1 large egg

1. In the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer or another large bowl, dissolve the yeast in half the water, with a pinch of the flour. Let proof 10 minutes, or until bubbly. With the paddle attachment at low speed, or by hand, beat in the rest of the water, the milk, anise seeds, salt, sugar, and currants. Slowly beat in 4 cups of the flour until a soft dough has formed.

2. Replace the paddle with the dough hook and knead at medium-low speed 15 minutes, adding an additional cup of flour a tablespoon at a time, for a soft, sticky dough. Remove the dough to a floured work surface. Knead by hand 2 minutes to form a soft, very elastic dough that is barely sticky. Or, if working by hand, stir in flour until the dough is too heavy to handle. Turn it out onto a floured surface and knead in the remaining flour until the dough is soft, extremely elastic, and barely sticky. Place the dough in an oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature 4 hours, or until almost tripled in bulk.

3. Oil a large cookie sheet or pizza pan. Knead down the dough. It will be sticky. Shape the dough into a 24-inch-long log. Bring the ends together, forming a ring, pinch ends to seal, and set it on the pan. Place an oiled upside-down custard cup or ramekin (about 3 inches in diameter) in the center to maintain the shape of the ring as the dough rises. Cover and let rise at room temperature 1-1/2 to 2 hours, until barely doubled.

4. Preheat the oven to 375 F. In a small bowl, beat together the glaze ingredients. Brush generously over the dough. Bake 50 to 55 minutes, or until the bread is a deep mahogany brown and sounds hollow when its bottom is thumped. Cool on a rack. Buccellato keeps several days at room temperature, if well wrapped.

LYNNE'S TIPS

* Nationally available all-purpose flours containing a higher protein content include Gold Medal and Pillsbury unbleached all-purpose and King Arthur Northern unbleached all-purpose. Flour labeled "bread flour" has an even higher amount of protein.


* Check the expiration date on the yeast package and buy the freshest available.

THOUGHTS FROM LYNNE

My favorite way to use leftover Buccellato is in a bread pudding. You'll find a recipe in many cookbooks, but a basic formula is 3 cups of milk, 4 eggs and sugar (2/3 to 3/4 cup or so depending on how sweet your bread is) to about a pound of cubed bread. Add flavorings such as vanilla and spices that appeal to you. Combine the whole thing and pour into a buttered baking dish. Place the dish inside a larger pan filled with water to reach halfway up the side of the pudding dish (this makes a bain marie or water bath). Bake at 350 F for about an hour, or until the pudding is puffy and the center is set. Serve warm or cold. A drizzle of heavy cream or a dollop of whipped cream wouldn't hurt.

asudavew 12-14-2007 10:08 AM

Re: Buccellato from the Splendid Table
 
Hey JW!

This recipes looks really fun to play with!

Have you ever had anything like it?

And... I've never had currants. Can anyone tell me what they are like? And .. can they be found in the supermarket?

Thanks

Dave

dmun 12-14-2007 01:30 PM

Re: Buccellato from the Splendid Table
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by asudavew (Post 21102)
I've never had currants. Can anyone tell me what they are like? And .. can they be found in the supermarket?

A current is a red berry, and is usually sold as a small raisin-like dried fruit. It used to be a supermarket item, but no more. Try health food stores. Raisins make a pretty good substitute.

My mother used to make current tarts, just a spoonful of dried currents cooked with water and sugar, on a circle of pie dough. Tasty.

asudavew 12-14-2007 01:42 PM

Re: Buccellato from the Splendid Table
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by dmun (Post 21109)
A current is a red berry, and is usually sold as a small raisin-like dried fruit. It used to be a supermarket item, but no more. Try health food stores. Raisins make a pretty good substitute.

My mother used to make current tarts, just a spoonful of dried currents cooked with water and sugar, on a circle of pie dough. Tasty.

Thank you sir!


So do they taste like raisins? I'm not a big raisin fan.



How is the pizza making going?

CanuckJim 12-14-2007 02:11 PM

Re: Buccellato from the Splendid Table
 
Dave,

A few things about adapting enriched recipes like this one for a WFO. First off, either currants (very easy to get here in post-colonial Canada) or raisins should be soaked in water overnight, then drained, otherwise the ones on the outside of the crust will burn. Second, at the temps we use, there's a risk of over dark crust before a full bake, so have some foil handy for tenting. Fourth, I always bake breads like this close to the oven door, where it's a bit cooler. Fifth, I'd let the oven floor drop to around 400 for this. Sixth, I'd wait until halfway through the bake to add the glaze.

Jim

Inishta 12-16-2007 04:16 AM

Re: Buccellato from the Splendid Table
 
Hi Dave.......................currants are dried black grapes whilst raisins are made from the white muscatel grape. If you aren't keen on the taste of raisins, sultanas are a yellow version that are much sweeter.

inishta

dmun 12-16-2007 05:24 AM

Re: Buccellato from the Splendid Table
 
Inishta is right: The black currant is the one that is dried: The red currant is a sour berry used in jams. They are high in vitamin C.

dalucca2003 12-17-2007 07:50 AM

Re: Buccellato from the Splendid Table
 
Being born in Lucca and having visited hundreds of times, I am very familiar with Taddeucci and it's famous Buccellato. Seeing this recipe brought back some great memories and a desire to try to make some Buccellato in the oven (by the way, if ever in Lucca try the foccacia from Giusti's right down the street from Taddeucci's....it is awesome). Now, I am not the greatest fan of the bread, but I do like it occassionally and it does go well with a Vin Santo or good Spumate.

The reason I might not be the biggest fan of the bread is the anise seeds. Do not like the flavor of anise much at all, so my mom suggested to leave them out. I spoke with the owner of the local Italian market I frequent and he suggested Sambuca instead as he is not a fan of anise either. So I bought a small bottle and thought what the heck, if it is bad tasting it is just bread. And the oven was going to be fired up for what is my favorite Italian dessert, Torte di Verdura. My mom, who is one awesome cook and baker, came over yesterday to show my wife how to make Torte as we want to keep the tradition.

So, Saturday evening I make the recipe as shown and added a tablespoon of Sambuca as a trial. I then let the dough rise overnight in the garage as it was nice and cool in there as the nights have been getting colder her in No. California. I then prepared the dough as suggested and placed a can in the center as I wanted to keep the center ring. As Jim also suggested, I was ready to tent the dough if I saw the outside browning to fast and waited before brushing on the glaze. The oven was in the 450 - 500 degree range and we started placing in the torte and the Buccellato. Again as Jim stated, I placed the Buccellato near the door as it was slightly cooler.

To my great surprise, the bread cooked to perfection in the sense the outside was browning nice and slowly and finished off with a nice deep brown color. I did brush it a couple of times with the glaze and the taste was surprisingly very good. Even my critical Italian mother was very surprised how well it baked and how close the taste was to the ones made in Italy. As far as the Sambuca, could hardly tell and may add some more next time. My wife suggested modifying the recipe even further and add Amaretto instead of the Sambuca next time. Might be good? Even my boys enjoyed it which surprised me. And as far as the torte came out, them came out very good and my wife did a great job for her first time.

christo 12-21-2007 02:31 PM

Re: Buccellato from the Splendid Table
 
Pictures? Any Pictures?

I wanna see what bread cooked to perfection looks like. I must have something to strive towards!!!!

My wife pours rum over the fruitcake after it's baked..... I think it's the only way she thinks she can get me to eat it.....

Happy Holidays

Chris

Xabia Jim 01-11-2008 03:56 PM

Re: Buccellato from the Splendid Table
 
How about dried cherries as a substitute...probably be good!

PS.....I always check ingredients on dried fruits.....sometimes lots of sugar added, sometimes none.

and BTW...splendid table is a favorite!


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