Pane Valle del Maggia
Pane Valle del Maggia
February 23, 2014
Several bakers on The Fresh Loaf have shown us their bakes of “Pane Maggiore.” This bread comes from the Swiss Canton of Ticino, which is the only Swiss Canton in which Italian is the predominant language.
While the Ticino Canton has Lake Maggiore on its border, the name of the bread supposedly comes from the town of Maggia which is in the Maggia valley, named after the Maggia river which flows through it and enters Lake Maggiore between the towns of Ascona and Locarno.
I was interested in how this bread came to be so popular among food bloggers. As far as I can tell, Franko, dabrownman and others (on TFL) got the formula from Josh/golgi70 (on TFL) who got it from Ploetzblog.de who got it from “Chili und Ciabatta,” the last two being German language blogs. While Petra (of Chili und Ciabatta) knew of this bread from having vacationed in Ticino, she actually got the recipe from a well-known Swedish baking book, Swedish Breads and Pastries, by Jan Hedh.
For your interest, here are some photos from Petra's blog of this bread as she bought it in it's place of origin:
Pane Valle del Maggia. (Photo from the Chili und Ciabatta blog)
Pane Valle del Maggia crumb. (Photo from the Chili und Ciabatta blog)
After this bit of backtracking research, I ended up with four … or is it five? … recipes. I had to decide which one to start with. I decided to start with Josh’s version, posted in Farmers Market Week 6 Pane Maggiore.
Josh’s approach used two levains, one fed with freshly-ground whole wheat flour and the other with white flour plus a touch of rye. I did not grind my own flour but followed his formula and procedures pretty closely otherwise. What I describe below is what I actually did.
Whole Wheat Levain
Active liquid levain (70% AP; 20% WW; 10% Rye)
Giusto’s Fine Whole Wheat flour
White Flour Levain
Active liquid levain (70% AP; 20% WW; 10% Rye)
KAF AP flour
BRM Dark Rye flour
Both levains were mixed in the late evening and fermented at room temperature for about 14 hours.
Giusto’s Fine Whole Wheat flour
BRM Dark Rye flour
KAF Medium Rye flour
KAF AP flour
Whole Wheat flour
In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle installed, disperse the two levains in 600g of the Final Dough Water.
Add the flours and mix at low speed to a shaggy mass.
Cover and allow to autolyse for 1-3 hours.
Add the salt and mix at low speed to combine.
Switch to the dough hook and mix to medium gluten development.
Add the remaining 59g of water and continue mixing until the dough comes back together.
Transfer to a well-floured board and stretch and fold into a ball.
Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover.
Bulk ferment for about 4 hours with Stretch and Folds on the board every 40 minutes for 4 times. (Note: This is a rather slack, sticky dough. It gains strength as it ferments and you stretch and fold it, but you still have to flour the board and your hands well to prevent too much of the dough from sticking. Use the bench knife to free the dough when it is sticking to the bench.)
Divide the dough into two equal pieces and pre-shape round.
Cover with a damp towel or plasti-crap and allow to rest for 15-30 minutes.
Shape as tight boules or bâtards and place in floured bannetons, seam-side up.
Put each banneton in a food-safe plastic bag and refrigerate for 8-12 hours.
Pre-heat the oven for 45-60 minutes to 500 dF with a baking stone and steaming apparatus in place.
Take the loaves out of the refrigerator. Place them on a peel. Score them as you wish. (I believe the traditional scoring is 3 parallel cuts across a round loaf.)
Transfer the loaves to the baking stone.
Bake with steam for 13 minutes, then remove your steaming apparatus/vent the oven.
Continue baking for 20-25 minutes. The loaves should be darkly colored with firm crusts. The internal temperature should be at least 205 dF.
Transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely before slicing.
I had some trepidation about baking at 500 dF, but the photos I had seen of the Pane Valle del Maggia were really dark. Also, it made sense that, if I wanted a crunchy crust on a high-hydration bread, I would need to bake hot. I baked the loaves for 33 minutes. They were no darker than my usual lean bread bakes. The internal temperature was over 205 dF. The crust was quite hard, but it did soften some during cooling. In hindsight, I could have either baked the bread for another 5 minutes or left the loaves in the cooling oven for 15-30 minutes to dry out the crust better.
I can tell you, these breads sure smell good!
When sliced, the crust was chewy except for the ears which crunched. The crumb was well aerated but without very large holes. Reviewing the various blog postings on this bread, all of the variations have about the same type of crumb. The high hydration level promotes bigger holes, but the high percentage of whole grain flours works against them. In any case, this is a great crumb for sandwiches and for toast.
Now, the flavor: I was struck first by the cool, tender texture as others have mentioned, although there was some nice chew, too. I have been making mostly breads with mixed grains lately, so this one has a lot in common. It has proportionately more rye than any of the others, and I can taste it. The most remarkable taste element was a more prominent flavor of lactic acid than almost any bread I can recall. I really liked the flavor balance a lot! I would describe this bread as "mellow," rather than tangy. The dark crust added the nuttiness I always enjoy. All in all, an exceptionally delicious bread with a mellow, balanced, complex, sophisticated flavor.
Now, it wasn't so sophisticated that I hesitated to sop up the sauce from my wife's Chicken Fricassee with it! It did a commendable job, in fact.
I baked some San Joaquin Soudough baguettes while the Pane Valle del Maggia loaves were cooling.
They had a pretty nice crumb, too.
Submitted to YeastSpotting
That is some killer Pane Maggione It is shame the pictures Petra took of the original from the region were so pale and unappealing, Folks might have baked more of it sooner had they seen yours instead. Well Done. The curmb has ti be as good as the crust or there isn't really any bread gods!
I was just thinking that, if offered a choice, I'd choose mine any day of the week, based on appearance. I'm betting it eats as good as it looks. Hey! If Josh says it's good bread, it's gotta be!
Not sure I can wait much longer to slice it ......
Of course, those ugly duckling loaves can fool ya. I just gotta get to the Valle del Maggia and
seetaste for myself.
Another wonderful bake. Love the history and agree that your loaves look much more appetizing ;) I can see where the darker crust comes in...500 without reducing...it used to be that everyone was posting preheat at 500 and then lower to 460 and bake . Times and trends change. Those loaves will taste fantastic I have no doubt. Will have to try this with these numbers and see what comes of it . c
ps...did you make buttermilk pancakes ??? :)
I sure did make them! They were delicious. I think the starter had an impact on the texture, but there was no tang. I froze about 9 pancakes and thawed three for breakfast one day last week. I did it for about 2 minutes in the microwave. Except for the outside not being crispy, I think they were, if anything, better than right out of the pan.
Like you, I love that you don't have to refresh your starter the night before.
I have been remiss in not reporting! Thanks for asking.
No problem...was the impact on texture good or bad ? All starters being so different of course will make the recipe come out very individualized. Hopefully in a good way . Try it without any starter also.
We don't freeze, you can place in a sealed container in the fridge and microwave for 45 seconds. They keep very well in the fridge for a week. Guess you will have to make them .....again....:) c
Well, my wife is not fond of pancakes, except for Swedish pancakes. So, one recipe made enough pancakes for about 4 breakfasts. I'll have to make half a recipe. You know, there is lots of bread around our house in competition for breakfast. ;-)
The texture: Well, it's just different. More moist? It's not bad. It depends on the cooking time and temperature I'm sure.
Have you made waffles with the same batter, or do you have a different favorite?
Left over pancakes and left over pizza slices are treated the same. Unwrap and thaw in MWave then pop then into the Mini oven and toast them until they are almost like they cam out out of the pan or oven,, Some think they are better this way than the original...but I say it is just closer to the original than warmed up in the MW only.
P.S. Why don't you get her an account of her own? Then you wouldn't have to convey all her messages.
but I'm afraid she would then have a reason to stop; making recipes up for me, typing the blog for me and, last but not least, she is a Baking Apprentice 2nd class and i don't want her getting a big head, wanting a raise and or change in title. She's really not smart enough to know she is missing anything so best to just leave her own blog thing alone for now:-)
Very nice, David.
this is our waffle recipe also. We have a vintage Dazey Short order chef and they are thin and crisp...takes 4-5 minutes. I remember your fantastic waffle maker that you "rescued and revived " ! Do you still have it ? You will love this batter in the waffle iron. My husband keeps the batter very thick and barely folds it together to keep the lumps and not lose the integrity . It makes a difference in the outcome. You will have to play more with this I can tell :) c
Another fine example if this bred, David. You describe the flavor pretty sufficiently. Top notch, as always.
The SJSD has an enviable crumb!
Thank you for the well researched and detailed write up on the background of the bread and for the procedure that you used. Your loaves look marvellous, and compared to the ones on Chili und Ciabatta and Plotzblog you'd never guess all 3 were meant to be the same breads.The crumb of your bread is....well I don't think it can get any better than your result, and it's a target I'll be aiming for on my next bake of this bread. When I first tasted the loaf I'd made it didn't have the mellow sour that you describe but it became that way over the course of two days. This may be because of the difference in our starters, (mine a 100% rye) but otherwise your flavour experience sounds very close to my own. As is quite often the case, breads given the Snyder treatment have a level of quality to them that many of us shoot for, these loaves being an excellent example.
You are too kind, but I appreciate your compliments.
The bread's flavor is evolving very quickly. When I first sliced and tasted it, it had a definite tang and a lot of rye flavor. A half hour later, it had the mellow flavor I described. This morning, toasted, the bread has more of the whole wheat flavor. I'm now expecting that this is one of those breads that doesn't settle down for 48 hours. I'm sorry now I froze the other loaf. I wonder if this is a bread - like high-% ryes and like breads made with high-extraction wheat flour (think Pain Poilâne) that should be wrapped in linen and let sit for 24 hours or more before slicing.
looks just like the one I achieved . I think we got the same flavor profile also. Glad to know that even with some variations this formula holds true. Beautiful bake as always. c
...looks really good and I enjoyed your research very much! I am always so impressed with your ability to describe the flavor of bread!
Both these German blogs are in my regular blog feed and Plötzblog is absolutely fantastic and by far the best German bread blog (and I would even say the best among ALL the bread blogs I know).
By the way, your link doesn't work for me and it looks like the reason is the forgotten e (www.ploetzblog.de).
Such an open crumb in your baguettes - they are on my to-bake list this week - again (as your recipe is my absolute favorite with always wonderful results).
For your kind words and for catching my typo! I'll fix it tout de suite!
Great Bake David! We staying a small town in the Canton of Graubünden, and the bread at the small restaurant looks like this bake. You know how I love a bold bake, well done.
In response to your comment on my Farmer's Market blog. Thank You for the kind words. The poppy seeds are quite nice on that loaf both visually and tasting.
This loaf here looks quite fantastic and I'm happy you seem to enjoy it. It like many other complex breads seems to continue evolving with age so unless you have finished the loaf you might enjoy it's variety of flavors. I find it best about 12 hours after cooling. But who can resist slicing it sooner.
The baguettes look as good as ever. After trying my hand at the SJSD I know what you are working with and your dough handling is quite excellent. I'll have to try these again with some added whole grain.
Say, did TFL eat the rest of your message?
That's not happened before. Anyhoo. The loaf looks great and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. You did it justice and then some. Lovely scoring taboot. I also added how I like the way this bread tastes as it ages a touch. Day 2 is quite nice after a good 12-24 hour cooling. But who can resist slicing in after a couple hours. And your dough handling ability is stellar as your SJSD is just amazing. I've given it one go and need a second chance. I think I might whip some up with added whole grain here in the near future. But I also have a 100% fresh milled Kamut experiments on my to do list. Maybe I can do small batches of both.
I do want to start milling my own WW flour. I have the KA grain mill attachment, which doesn't grind as fine as I'd like, even with 2 passes. I want to get more experience with it before decided whether or not to get a "real" home mill. Other than that, I'm not sure I have changes to make in the formula.
I didn't want to hijack my own posting, but this batch of baguettes is among the best tasting ever. I've gotten to where SJSD baguettes have become a staple, like milk and eggs. I always want to have some in the freezer, if not fresh baked.
The lost Comments is becoming a common problem. I've checked with Floyd. It's intermittent/unpredictable, which makes it harder to fix. I had the problem with one post in this topic myself.
How coarse are your grains? It might be giving this one a whirl even with not the finest grind of whole grain. You could offset it by using a stronger white flour to maybe end up with the same crumb. Fresh milled grains are what have pushed me to want to go further as a baker. More so when you can get local grains where you'll get a few varieties over the coarse of the season. And the each season is a different "beast" to learn and love accordingly Albeit frustrating at times it's a lot of fun and very educating. I think you'd love it.
My difficulties with home baguettes is loading and scoring. I'm so used to a long oven hearth and a good place to slash. I feel cramped in my kitchen and nervous as they are so hard to load neatly without taking too much time and sinking the oven temp. I'll give another go soon though. Plus I still want to find a way to incorporate more steam. I may forgo the lava rocks and try a large tray with a full on soaked bath towel and see how that goes.
I've said too much,
Happy Baking David
But, to make it even weirder, the email notification I got that there was a new reply to my topic had the full text of a message regarding whole grains (you like) and baguette slashing and loading (you don't like doing at home).
Anyway, I will definitely dust off the KA Grain Mill attachment and give it some use, on your strong recommendation.
On the baguette front: I proof en couche. I have my very special transfer peel (a sanded slat from a case of Cos d'Estournel '75) AND a Super Peel. I transfer to the Super Peel, score, steam oven and load onto a pizza stone. Four baguettes at a time. It's not the big automatic loader I used at SFBI, but hey! That wouldn't fit in my kitchen without knocking out a wall. Take a look at Super Peel. And, if you get it, get the extender that makes it wider.
TFL doesn't like me today. At least you got the message. i would think unless your grind is very coarse you should be able to manage a pretty nice loaf when its a blend with a good amount of "white" flour. I have a nice peel and all but a small oven i think. I have two 20 " x 15 " ceramic firing stones 1" thick that I use and thats leaving just about an inch around. I'm used to loading baguettes Lengthwise but to get a long baguette I need to load them side ways and they curve every time unless I load 1 at a time which is quite timely for the oven door to stay open so long. It works though. I'm always impressed with the many excellent home bakers this site has. It's very challenging to make bakery quality bread in a home kitchen. I'm sure most of us have day dreamed of knocking a wall out and putting a deck oven in at home.
It's a beautiful area. I was also there with a tour bus coming into the lake area from the Swiss side down to the lake. Staying in the valley while we toured the area. So beautiful! Good memories.
Your loaves do them justice. Also Beautiful!
I think we have a lock ness of Fresh loaf gobbling up messages. mysterious little monster!
We stayed a couple days in Como 20 years ago. I haven't been to the other lakes.
Are you saying you stayed in the Valle Maggia? In Locarno? It was either my parents or an uncle who really liked Locarno. I would like to spend some time in Lombardy and Piedmont one day. A visit to Locarno and the Valle del Maggia would make sense as part of such a visit.
Thanks for the compliment on the breads.
Floyd is aware of the message gobbling critter, but it has been as elusive as the Loch Ness monster so far.
Those are very nice looking loaves! I'm anxious to try baking with a mixture of whole grains. The chicken looks good too.
I think all my favorite breads currently include some mixture of grains, mostly wheat and rye. Most so have some white flour too.
Looks beautiful. I bet I'd like it.
I said it looks like something I'd like. Beautiful bake.
In Northern Italy there is a good deal of German/Austrian influence. Much of Northeast Italy was under Austrian Control from 1815 to 1866. Vitello Milanese is Wiener Schnitzel, for example. Anyway, this is a Swiss bread.
FYI, next time I make it, I am going to use a rye sour and pre-ferment all the rye.
Thanks for looking in.
I want to make this bread soon and was inspecting your formula. I think you've got the Baker's % backwards on the white/rye levain. Mass (g) amounts are right, but % switched. Maybe somebody pointed that out and I missed it.
Lombardy: highly recommended. Have spent some time on Lake Como with my wife's family (Bellagio). Heaven on earth. Hope to retire there.
Thanks for catching that!
I'll have words with my editor! Oh .... I'm the editor. <blush>
David: These look wonderful. I have been traveling and unable to bake very much. You are inspiring me to get back to it! I am going to make the baguettes again at some point as well. Thanks for sharing. Best, Phyllis
This is a nice bread. In fact, I thawed a half loaf last night and had some for breakfast this morning! It makes good toast.
Welcome back from the UK (as I recall)! I hope you'll share any bread adventures during your travels.
Amazing... I wish one day, I can bake bread like this. amazing.......
so much? When I score my bread I hardly ever get them to open up this much, I do have a tendency to overproof my dough, its hot in Texas.
So you left the oven at 500 F through the whole baking time? I am trying to get that sort of crust with my high-hydration bread but so far nothing.
Congratulations on the excellent baking!
High hydration breads do tend to develop a soft, chewy crust as they sit and moisture moves from the interior outward. You can prevent this somewhat by leaving the loaves in your cooling oven with the door ajar for a while after they are fully baked. At the San Francisco Baking Institute, Miches were left like this for a full 30 minutes. Of course, they also baked for about 50 minutes.
Okay, interesting info. I tried to bake my high hydration dough as you do in this recipe, but I think I exceeded with the steam (I was worried about the dough not growing enough in the first 10 minutes). I left it cooling inside for only 5 minutes, switching to fan mode. I definitely needs more time, as you suggest. Indeed, as it cooled down, the usual thin and elastic crust formed, the only difference being that it was darker than usual.
I will get than familiar (Italian) thick dusty crust one day!
I think the kind of crust you have in mind is achieved with low/short steam. That gives you a thick, dull (not shiny) crust.
The first Italian bread I baked (ca. 1976) was a "Montevani" loaf from a Marcella Hazan cookbook. It was a smallish, football-shaped loaf that was baked with no steam. The crust was quite thick and crunchy. I didn't love it, but not because of the crust.
I am strating to get some results. I have increased the temperature of my oven in the first phase, now baking (1) at 250° for 10 minutes, then (2) down to 200° for 20 minutes, then (3) I open the oven a bit and switch from static to fan for about 10 minutes. Steam wise, I put a recipient with hot water at the bottom of the oven during phase (1) only, then I remove it. I do not drop water inside anymore, so to reduce the steam.
The crust was crunchy when I got the bread out of the oven, which is already an improvement. However, during the cooling phase, it still regains elasticity, as the internal moisture gets to the surface of the loaf
Hi David.... Thanks for a great recipe.
I baked this as a yeast bread. I did the two preferments with perhaps 1/4 tsp of instant yeast each and a 15 hour room temperature rise.
I added approximately 1.5 tsp of instant yeast to the final dough.
The bread is great -- though I am sure the flavor and texture are not as interesting as can be achieved with an active liquid levain.
I baked the loaves on a baking sheet (I don't have a stone) at 500 degrees, the first 13 minutes with steam and then 20 minutes more without. They looked fantastic and got great spring in the super-hot oven. But, though the crust was starting to scorch, the inside wasn't close to being done. I dropped the temperature to 450 and gave the loaves another 10 minutes, at which point they were still too wet, so I gave them 5 minutes more at 425.
Does a yeast bread traditionally require more oven time than a sourdough? Or do you think the fact that I don't have a stone accounts for the longer baking time? Or is it more likely that my oven thermostat is simply way off?
Thanks for your thoughts.
The same bread leavened with commercial yeast or sourdough starter should bake in the same time for the same weight and shaped loaf.
When you took the loaf out of the oven, did you check the internal temperature? Did it sound hollow when you thumped the bottom?
Your oven temperature could be off I suppose, but my gut feeling is that you cut into the loaf before it was cooled. That's a no-no. Please correct me, if you did cool it thoroughly before slicing it.