Monday, April 09, 2007

Pandolce with Saffron

The theme for this edition of Weekend Cookbook Challenge, hosted by Marta from An Italian in the US, is Easter/Springtime Food.

I've opted for an Easter theme and chose to make a luxurious Pandolce from Ursula Ferrigno and it's found in her book La Dolce Vita: Sweet things from the Italian Home Kitchen. This Pandolce is a little different in that saffron is used to impart a wonderful aroma and adds a most distinctive colour to the dough. I should mention that I've replaced regular flour with spelt flour.

pandolce with saffron ©

Pandolce with Saffron
[Makes One]

1 teaspoon saffron strands
15 grams fresh yeast or 2 teaspoons dry yeast
150ml tepid milk
450 grams Spelt Flour
85 grams butter, softened
25 grams caster sugar
175 grams sultanas
2 tablespoons warmed honey

Soak the saffron in 1 tablespoon of hot water for about an hour.

Place the yeast in a bowl with a pinch of sugar and add the tepid milk, stir and then leave to activate.

Put the flour, butter and sugar into the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook. On low speed, mix for a minute then add the saffron and yeast mixture.

I found I needed to add some more liquid to this mixture. As all flours absorb differing amounts - always keep this in mind and adjust as necessary.

Add the sultanas and continue to mix until a smooth and amalgamated dough forms - about 5 minutes.

Turn out to a very lightly flour dusted bench and knead briefly to form a sausage shape.

Butter and flour a bread tin and place the dough inside. Cover and place in a warm spot until doubled in size.

before - unrisen© after - risen©

When doubled, cook in a preheated 170°C/340°F for about 1 hour or until golden and cooked through.

Turn out onto a wire rack and paint the surface with warmed honey to give it a lovely gloss. Cool before cutting.

pandolce with saffron ©

Eat plain or toast the left overs for breakfast - this also would make an excellent bread and butter pudding.


  1. Wow, Haalo, your bread was huge after the rising time!

    It looks great, the color... not to mention that I love recipes that call for honey.

  2. Haalo, this bread looks so beautiful! Love it. Will have to try out...

    And I have seen you used Splet Flour quite a lot in your bread baking. Are they better than the bread flour (bakers' flour in Oz) variety?

  3. What a wonderful recipe. I have bought Ursula's book but have only managed a couple of the recipes so far.

  4. Thanks Patricia - it rose really well and the colour is just beautiful - i love the little saffron trails through the bread too.

    Thanks Anh - for me, I really like the texture of Spelt, it's a wonderfully soft flour and it's very easy to work with. If you rub spelt flour between your fingertips and then rub normal bread flour you'll immediately notice the difference. The differences go back to the structure of spelt, the outer covering is really hard and this protects the grain, so it's softer and as a lot more nutrients.
    Regular wholegrain flours tend to be a bit heavy but if you use spelt you end up with a bread with a very gentle texture and very easy to eat.

    Thanks Valentina - there's a few minor changes in this recipe to that in the book but I've been pretty happy with the dishes that I've tried so far. It's just nice to look at the wonderful photos!

  5. Haalo, this looks really wonderful! Just for curiosity, is it tipically for Easter from some Italian region? It looks slightly similar (as concept) to 'Colomba', which we do tipically make for Easter.

  6. Thanks Marta - I don't believe its a speciality of a particular area more an adaptation of something like the traditional Colomba.


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