Pandolce, Sweet Braided Bread with Raisins. Soft and with the wonderful aroma of freshly baked bread, Pandolce has all the fragrance and sweetness of a dessert. Also great for breakfast, considering that raisins are very nourishing and make you start the day in the best way.
- 500 g flour
- 25 g fresh baker’s yeast (12.5 g active dry yeast)
- 100 g sugar (I used granulated)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- the grated zest of 1 organic lemon
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 egg, organic free range
- 80 g melted butter
- 250 ml lukewarm milk
- 125 g raisins
For the topping
- 1 egg, lightly beaten, to brush on top
- Sift the flour in a big bowl. Crumble the yeast in, mix, and open a hole in the center.
- In the center, add the sugar, vanilla, lemon zest, salt, 1 egg, the lukewarm melted butter. Work with a fork, slowly incorporating some of the flour on the sides.
- Slowly start pouring the milk, always working with the fork to incorporate all the flour.
- Once a ‘raggedy’ dough starts to form, pour it onto a lightly floured work surface and knead the dough for 10 minutes.
- Put the dough back in the floured bowl, cover with a wet towel and let rise for 1 hour away from air draughts (I cover it with a towel and put it in the oven, turned off with the light on).
- Put the raisins in a small bowl, add water just enough to cover them, let sit for 5-10 minutes, then drain and pat dry.
- After the 60 minutes rising time, punch down the dough, add the raisins and work to incorporate.
- Form a ball with the dough, then divide into 3 parts, more or less the same size (I used a scale).
- With your hands, roll each dough ball into a rope, about 40 cm long. Put the 3 ropes in front of you and starting from the top, start to braid the ropes, sealing the ends together.
- Transfer the braid to a rectangular baking pan lined with parchment paper and set back to rise, covered, away from air draughts, for about 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 400° F (200° C).
- After that time, brush the lightly beaten egg on top of the bread.
- Place on the lower rack of the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, covering the top of the bread with foil paper if you see it is getting too dark (I covered it at about half the cooking time).
It lasts for 3-4 days but it slowly gets tougher. Toast it, or make French toast. Amazing!