Tuesday 11 October 2022

The Great Bread Making Adventure: Panini All'Olio


So, I'm back to Italian breads and I decided to make this recipe from The World Encyclopedia of Breads and Bread Making for 🍁Thanksgiving dinner. Not that we really needed any more food, but a holiday dinner was a good excuse to make dinner rolls.
This recipe almost made me laugh. First the blurb underneath the recipe name: 

The Italians adore interesting and elaborately shaped rolls. This distinctively flavoured bread dough, enriched with olive oil, can be used for making rolls or shaped as one large loaf.

Distinctively flavoured bread dough? Most of us, especially from my generation, have eaten cookie dough, as well as licked the beaters and bowl after our mothers made a cake, but eating bread dough was not something any of us regularly did. Yes, it might just be a matter of semantics, but I think it would have been more appropriate (and less comical) if the word dough was eliminated, so that "distinctively flavoured" was left to describe the bread, rather than the dough. And when I saw that description, "distinctively flavoured", I looked to the ingredients to see what would justify that description. Bread flour, salt, yeast, water and olive oil. No herbs, seeds, nuts, fruits or vegetable in whatever form, no alternate flours. Yes, it did lack any form of sugar, but I failed to see what would make the flavour distinct. After all, Pugliese was made with the exact same ingredients, with only the addition of sugar. And Pugliese was made with a biga starter, so one might expect a more "distinct" flavour from that bread. Perhaps the use of whole wheat flour overwhelmed any distinct flavour. Or perhaps I just lack a discerning palate, but to me both Pugliese and Panini All'Olio just tasted like bread. Maybe I just needed to eat the dough! 😂
And then there was the "enriched with olive oil" part. In North America, when we speak of enriching food, it's generally by adding extra vitamins and minerals, not extra fat. But then, perhaps Europeans don't have the obesity epidemic that we have in North America. Nevertheless, I find it amusing when the authors use this phrase to refer to added fat.
Under the list of ingredients, the recipe states, "Makes 16 rolls". Then later, in step number 4, it states

... Divide into 12 equal pieces of dough and shape into rolls as described in steps 5, 6, 7 and 8.

I'm not sure how to get 16 rolls out of 12 pieces of dough, and there is no step 8. I suspect that originally they planned on a recipe that made 16 rolls with instructions for making a fourth shape in step 8, but they ran out of room and neglected to edit out all of the details. I wasn't sure if I should attempt to make 16 rolls or 12 since there was no way of knowing which quantity the ingredient amount was appropriate for. I did end up making 12 and they did not seem to be overly large. But I'm a North American and I have no way of knowing what size an Italian might make them. 
I did find that the water called for in the recipe was insufficient, and I ended up using closer to 1½ cups, rather than 1 cup. The dough was then a little too sticky, so probably around 1⅓ cups would be best. 
Now for the Italian names of the various shapes. Not having much experience with shaping rolls, mine are far from perfect, but that didn't affect the taste.
Tavalli - twisted spiral rolls, which I referred to as a twisted wreath.
Filoncini - finger-shaped rolls. My fingers don't look like this, so I described these ones as just a rolled up roll or looking like pigs in a blanket (sausages or wieners rolled up in bread dough or pie crust). My grandson said they looked like croissants and that's the one he chose to eat with his dinner. 
Carciofi - artichoke-shaped rolls. Since artichokes are not a regular part of my diet, I just said that they were the ones with cuts in them. 
Since there were only 4 of us here for Thanksgiving dinner, I still have 7 or 8 dinner rolls left... Plus part of the loaf of Pugliese from last week. One of the hazards of trying recipes when one lives alone. And one of the reasons why I'm not trying a new recipe more than once a week. Unfortunately, with the newer neighbourhood mailboxes, most people no longer have mailboxes on their homes, so I can't go around dropping off bread in people's mailboxes...

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