Pane Cafone (Country Man's Bread)

Pane Cafone (Country Man's Bread)

Monday, December 22, 2014

Salt Rising Bread?

Up until recently I had never heard of "Salt Rising Bread. Apparently, it has some unique properties.  The proofing temps for the starter are much higher than traditional sourdough and it is best toasted due to it's "different, pungent smell".  (It was described to me as smelling a lot like dirty socks)  Ummm, Okay.  When toasted it takes on a "cheese like" flavor.  I've eaten a lot of cheese over the course of my life and I know that there are still some of those that I won't go
This salt rising bread has me intrigued though.  In a sense it is in the sourdough family so it's only fair that I give it the benefit of the doubt and try it out.  I understand that it is not an easy bread to make so I plan to take my time and research it as much as possible before I attempt to make a loaf. 
For Christmas a friend of mine is sending me a loaf and some starter from a mid-western bakery that specializes in the stuff.  I'll keep good notes and let you know how it turns out.  I already have a co-worker that is dying to get her hands on some so I have a willing guinea pig  taste tester.   I hope it comes with some documentation.

To be continued....

Monday, December 15, 2014

Pane Cafone

I've been doing some research lately on simple recipes in preparation of teaching a retiring friend how to bake sourdough.  I wanted something simple yet flavorful that looked great.  My first thought was "Bob's Basic Sourdough Bread", which is fairly easy to make but I wanted something even easier.  I ran across a recipe for Pane Cafone.  A very simple Neapolitan Peasant Bread.  Instead of baking this one on a stone though, I baked it in a 3Qt Littonware Simmerpot.  The results were spectacular for such a simple recipe.


  • 500 Grams soft grain flour (unbleached all-purpose flour)
  • 235 Grams water
  • 235 Grams active sourdough culture (levain)
  • 13 Grams fine sea salt. (Do not use salt with iodine added.)


1. Mix the flour, water and active sourdough starter together in a bowl with a stout wooden spoon. If it gets too difficult, knead it out on a lightly floured surface until everything is well incorporated.
2. Lightly oil the mixing bowl and place the mixture back in the bowl, cover with plastic or a damp towel and let autolyse for 30-60 minutes.
3. On a lightly floured surface, pour out the mixture and gently flatten it out. Sprinkle the salt over the mixture and knead for 5-7 minutes.
4. Return the dough to the oiled bowl, cover and let rise for 4 hours.
5. Punch down and form into a round loaf without slashing the top.*
6. Proof 2 more hours in a banneton or wicker basket lined with a lightly oiled and floured linen.
7. Slash top and bake in a preheated oven on a baking stone at 450F for 20 minutes then reduce heat to 400F and bake until center reaches 210F using a quick read thermometer. **
8. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.

Natures Own???

While at the store the other day I picked up a couple of loaves of Natures Own Whole Wheat bread.  On the packaging it states, "No artificial preservatives, colors or flavors, no HFCS.  It looks like a healthier choice than white bread.
After I got home I scanned the ingredient list.

Whole Wheat Flour, water, wheat gluten, yeast, contains 2% or less of each of the following: brown sugar, honey, wheat bran, soybean oil, salt, dough conditioners, (so far so good except for that GMO soybean oil huh?) Now comes the fun part, (contains one or more of the following: Sodium Stearoyl lactylate, Calcium stearoyl Lactylate, Monoglycerides and/or Diglycerides, Calcium Peroxide, Calcium Iodate, Datem, Ethoxylated mono- and diglycerides, Enzymes), Vinegar, Cultured wheat flour, Ammonium Sulfate, Monocalcium phosphate, Soy Lecithin.

Why are there so many chemicals in my 100% Whole wheat bread that are also used as industrial fertilizers?  Kinda makes you wonder.  Ostensibly, there added to improve the texture of the bread and so that each and every loaf behaves the same way when it's put together and baked.

The beauty of home made sourdough bread is the control I have over the ingredients but each and every loaf I bake has it's own look, no two are the same.  Just about all of my wheat flours are ground from whole  wheat berries. Water, salt and of course, sourdough starter finish off the ingredients list for a loaf of home made bread.  I may get fancy once in a while and add cheese and herbs to the bread but there all fresh grown herbs out of my garden most of the time.  I don't have a lot of control over the cheese making but it's not hard to find an all natural cheese even in a supermarket.

Growing up I can't ever remember one of my childhood friends telling me he/she was gluten/lactose, whatever, intolerant. Allergic to strawberries or something like that, sure.  I blame the food industry itself for creating all these latest ills in our society.  The pasteurization/homogenization of all our foods, not to mention all the genetic modifications and extraneous chemical crap added.