Pandolce, Sweet Braided Bread with Raisins. Pandolce is a soft, fragrant bread, just mildly sweet and freckled with raisins. Great for breakfast, tasted or slathered in jam, it is always present on our Easter breakfast table.
- 500 g flour 0, 00, or all-purpose
- 25 g fresh baker's yeast (12.5 g active dry yeast; 6 g instant yeast)
- 100 g sugar (granulated or cane sugar)
- 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
- 1 egg, lightly beaten, to brush on top
- Sift the flour in a large bowl, or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Add the yeast in, mix, and make a well in the center.
- Add the sugar, vanilla, lemon zest, salt, egg, the lukewarm melted butter. Mix, incorporating the flour on the sides.
- Slowly start pouring the milk, and mix 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 (or finish kneading it in the stand mixer, about 5-6 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 knead it again 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.
- In the meantime, preheat the oven to 400° F (200° C).
- After the 30 minutes, 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).
- Take out of the oven and let cool on a rack.
It lasts for 3-4 days but it slowly gets tougher. Toast it, or make French toast. Amazing!
- Category: Bread, Dessert
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: sultanas, fresh yeast, egg, lemon zest, flour, sugar, Easter, traditional, bread, dessert, breakfast