Pane Bianco - 3 Ways

Alright, get ready for a show stopper - literally! This bread is spectacular to look at and even more spectacular in your mouth. A good friend of mine who is definitely a culinary genius just celebrated a milestone birthday (something like 20 I think ;) ) and her hubby planned her a birthday party. He said we could feel free to bring a dish that we made... well of course I had to bring something, but could I decide what to bring? Of course not! It had to be something that travelled well, didn't take too long to make and tasted and looked amazing. Then I came across this blog post at Living in the Kitchen with Puppies for Tomato, Basil and Garlic Filled Pane Bianco. The photos were beautiful. So, about 3 hours before we were supposed to go to this birthday party, I started making this bread! Pulled it out of the oven and headed out the door. Any way, long story short, pretty much all conversation ceased when my friend pulled the bread out of the bag I had it wrapped in and everyone needed a rendition of how I made it and what was inside! It was an absolute hit.

I was so thrilled with the bread that I decided to play around with fillings. The three types I tried were:
  • Sundried tomato, roasted garlic, goat cheese, cheddar cheese, fresh rosemary and basil
  • Roasted garlic, goat cheese, and fig and walnut wine preserves
  • Cream cheese and jalepeno cranberry jelly

I would also like to try a cinnamon and brown sugar filling similar to cinnamon bun filling as I think it would bake up beautifully and taste absolutely divine!

Any way, on to what you came here for: the recipe!

Tomato, Basil & Garlic Pane Bianco

Recipe adapted from Living in the Kitchen with Puppies


  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 cup warm low-fat milk
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 6 cups bread flour
  • 1 (8 1/2-ounce) jar oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 large head (or two small) roasted garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Italian blend cheese, divided (or any cheese you have on hand - I used cheddar, goat cheese and parmesan)
  • 2/3 cup chopped fresh basil (or any fresh mixed herbs - basically whatever you have on hand)


  1. Combine the water, sugar, yeast, milk, olive oil, eggs, salt, and flour, and mix and knead by hand, stand mixer, or bread machine until you've made a cohesive, soft dough. If you're kneading in a stand mixer, it should take 5 to 7 minutes at second speed, and the dough should barely clean the sides of the bowl, perhaps sticking a bit at the bottom. In a bread machine (or by hand), it should form a smooth ball. Place the dough in a greased bowl, and turn to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double, about 45 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, thoroughly drain the sun-dried tomatoes; lay them on a paper towel to absorb any excess oil. Using kitchen shears, finely chop the tomatoes.
  3. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Gently deflate the dough and divide it in half. Roll one piece into a 22" x 8 1/2" rectangle. Rub with half the garlic, cheese, basil, and tomatoes.
  4. Starting with one long edge, roll the dough into a log the long way. Pinch the edges to seal.
  5. Place the log seam-side down on a baking sheet. Using a small sharp knife, start 1/2" from one end and cut the log lengthwise down the center about 1" deep, to within 1/2" of the other end.
  6. Keeping the cut side up, form an "S" shape. Tuck both ends under the center of the "S" to form a "figure 8"; pinch the ends together to seal. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double, 45 to 60 minutes. Repeat with the remaining dough.
  7. While the loaves are rising, preheat the oven to 350°F.
  8. Bake the loaves for 35 to 40 minutes. Tent the loaf with foil after 15 to 20 minutes to prevent over-browning.
  9. Remove loaves from their baking trays; cool on racks. Store any leftovers well-wrapped, at room temperature.

Experiment with fillings and toppings - though in my experiments dry toppings seem to work better than wet! And colourful fillings look very nice when your bread puffs up and opens so beautifully to show off its fillings.:) I really enjoyed this recipe and despite how technical the rolling and shaping sounds, it is really easy. Just be patient and remember, practice makes perfect.

Happy Baking my Friends!

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