Pane Francese simply means “French bread”. An Italian version of the baguette, it is a slightly flatter long loaf with irregular holes in its interior and moist crumb. It is creamy tasting and soft textured because of the olive oil added to the dough. You can try this recipe and know how it differs from the popular baguette.
- Oven – preheat to 450°F
- Baking stone – preheat to 450°F
- Digital kitchen scale
- Stand mixer with dough hook
- Bread lame
- Flipping board
- Iron cast skillet
- Medium bowl
- Large bowl
- Pizza peel
- Servings: 4
- Cooking Time: 20M
- Difficulty: Easy
INGREDIENTS: (All measurements are by weight except TBS and tsp.)
- 4 oz bread flour
- 4 oz water
- ⅛ tsp instant or rapid-rise yeast
- 14 ⅖ oz bread flour
- 10 oz water
- 1 ½ tsps instant or rapid-rise yeast
- 2 ¼ tsps salt
- 1 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
POOLISH: Mix flour, yeast and water in a medium glass bowl with wooden spoon. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit overnight or up to 24 hours.
DOUGH: Mix flour and yeast together in the stand mixer bowl. Stir water into the poolish with wooden spoon until well combined. Slowly add poolish mixture into the flour mixture and mix on low speed unti flour is fully incorporated for about 2 minutes. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough relax for 20 minutes.
Add salt and oil, knead on medium-low for about 5 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic and does not stick on the side of the bowl.
Transfer dough to lightly greased large glass bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise for 30 minutes. Do a series of stretch and fold for 8 times. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise again for 30 minutes. Repeat process, cover and let rise for 1 to 1 ½ hours or until dough doubled its size. Press down dough to deflate large air bubbles.
Place dough on a lightly floured surface. Press and stretch dough into a 12 by 6 inch rectangle, divide in half crosswise. Cover with greased plastic wrap.
Gently press and stretch 1 piece of dough to a 7 inch square. Fold top corners to the center towards you, press down gently to seal. Stretch and fold upper third part of the dough toward the center, press seam gently to seal. And last, stretch and fold dough in half toward you to form rough loaf and pinch seam to close.
Gently and evenly roll the dough, starting at the center and working towards the end until it reaches 15 inches in length and 2 ½ inches in width. Roll the dough, make sure it’s seam side down.
Support the loaf with your hand, gently transfer on a prepared floured couche seam side up and cover with towel. Repeat the process for the other dough. Let rise for 30 minutes to 1 hour or until dough increase its size by half.
Unfold the couche, position flipping board parallel to the loaf. Lift the couche with your other hand and flip the loaf seam side up onto the board. Transfer to parchment paper covered pizza peel seam side down. Repeat process with the other loaf.
Using a bread lame make a ½ inch lengthwise cut swiftly from one end to another with ½ inch allowance from both tips. Repeat with the other loaf.
Place 1 cup of hot water into the iron cast skillet at the bottom rack of the oven. Slide down parchment paper with the loaves onto the baking stone at the lower middle rack. Bake at 450°F for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown in color. Remove from oven, transfer to rack and let cool.