Pane Bianco (Christmas Bread)
This Pane Bianco (Christmas Bread) bread is wonderfully soft and packed with flavor from the basil, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, and a blend of Italian cheese. The smell of this bread while being baked will make your stomach growl!
- For the Dough:
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/3 cup hot water
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2-3 cups unbleached bread flour
- For the Filling:
- 2 Tablespoons butter, melted
- 4-6 garlic cloves, minced
- 3/4 cup Italian cheese blend, shredded
- 1/2 cup oil packed sun-dried tomatoes
- 1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
To make the dough:
Your liquid needs to be lukewarm, so by adding hot water to the cold milk, you will not need to heat it up in a pan. Mix the milk and hot water in a medium size bowl or bucket. Stir in the olive oil, yeast and salt. Add in the flour a cup at a time mixing as you go until you have a smooth, soft dough. The dough should still be a little sticky.
Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until double in size, about 40-60 minutes.
For the filling:
Drain the sun-dried tomatoes, patting them dry. Cut them into smaller pieces. Mince the garlic cloves, chop the basil, measure out the cheese and melt the butter.
Gently scrape the dough out of the bowl or bucket onto a lightly floured surface. Flatten and stretch into a 22" x 8" rectangle. Spread with melted butter, then garlic, cheese, tomatoes, and basil.
Start with one long edge and roll the dough into a log. Pinch the edges to seal and place it seam down on a cast iron pizza pan, the ends will hang off the sides of the pan.
Using kitchen shears, start 2-inches from the end and cut the log lengthwise down the center going 1-inch deep, to within 2-inches of the other end.
Now form a "S" shape by bringing in the ends, tuck both ends under the center and pinch them together forming a figure 8.
Cover with plastic wrap that has been sprayed with non-stick spray and let rise until double, 45-60 minutes.
Preheat pellet grill to 375 degrees F.
When grill is heated to around 350 degrees F, uncover bread and place on the top rack of the SG pellet grill or if using a pellet grill without the top shelf place bread on the bottom of the jerky racks. Bake for 30-35 minutes, tenting it with foil after 15-20 minutes to prevent over-browning the toppings.
Remove bread and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.