The Fresh Loaf

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Colomba round Four, lemon and white chocolate

SueVT's picture

Colomba round Four, lemon and white chocolate

This is my second bake of the Gallina Limoncello and white chocolate Colomba, by far the best of my four rounds of baking. I learned a lot during these bakes, all of which I will leverage going forward.

This recipe from Luigi Gallina is nicely balanced, relatively easy to work with and is also the most delicious of the ones I've tried. It makes a cloud-like and moist crumb which is also sturdy enough to stand up to being baked in Colomba format.

Another side benefit was that the repeated baking cycles made my lievito madre really perform, and it was clearly performing well. 

It met the benchmarks, didn't over-acidify, and as a result the dough had lots of gluten development throughout the process:

I also just received some Italian granella sugar, which made the decoration more appealing. Pretty happy with these doves, and I will make them again!


mwilson's picture

I like the flavour combination and they are very professional looking with those sugar grains! I must get some myself. I hear you about the repeated baking cycles helping the performance of your mother leaven. I think Massari has said somewhere "repetition helps".

I not sure I follow your train of thought about the Colomba needing to be more sturdy (than Panettone). As a general rule of baking, dough that needs to rise to higher heights requires more strength. In terms of Panettone vs Colomba, I would highlight the need for a more dedicated bulk time for Colomba, since it typically requires more elaborate shaping. That bulk time will make the dough less slack and more able to be shaped, just as is the purpose of bulk fermenting.

I appreciate your dedication to this type of baking. I'm just wondering, you can't be eating all those bakes? Are you selling them or giving them away?

Great work as always Sue, well done!


SueVT's picture

Hi Michael,

I'm selling some, giving some away, and we are eating some. Due to the demographics of my area, selling options are limited. ;-)

Due to the large area/shallow format of the Colomba, something or some series of things needs to happen to stiffen the loaf enough to prevent floppiness. The first thing was ensuring that the bottom gets enough heat. While I sometimes bake panettone in an Anova Precision oven, the Colomba did better in a conventional oven on a large preheated pizza stone. 




Debra Wink's picture
Debra Wink

Did this bake include tangzhong, and is that a method you'll keep moving forward?

SueVT's picture

Hi Debra,

Yes this is with tangzhong, which Luigi Gallina refers to as "polentino al limoncello", a nice name! Reminds me that it would be nice to have polenta one of these days.... 

I don't have any limoncello, so I just used water plus a couple of teaspoons of lemon essence, which worked perfectly. The ratio was 1:3 farina debole:limoncello, so that is unusual .... I think it is usually 1:5 or in the case of yudane it would be 1:1.... but it worked.  The directions actually said to cook until dry like choux paste but I kept it at the thickened but not dry state.


Our Crumb's picture
Our Crumb

I have enjoyed watching (and of course been massively impressed by) your triumphant panettone/colomba campaign almost as much as the serial indulgences this past week in my first full Settimana Santa in Lombardia.  One new-to-me feature of the seasonal gastronomic landscape that I became blissfully aware of yesterday was the accompaniment of the family’s mid-day culinary climax of tea and Milanase Colomba with Mascarpone Cream, a divine potion of whipped egg whites, egg yolks + sugar and mascarpone (+ or - vanilla), assembled by a very strict protocol of order and mixing methods, of course.  Its half-life is measured in minutes due to separation (and consumption ;-).  Spread on Colomba chunks, it takes the confection to a new level. Where have you been all my life, M. Cream?

Highly recommended.

Loosen belt another hole.  Tomorrow we hike it off in the mountains.


SueVT's picture

Now I must make mascarpone!!!  Though I have quite a lot of cheesemaking training, I have never made mascarpone! Time to remedy that! It sounds like a dream.... and your mascarpone cream mixture must be incredible...... Do you have a recipe?


Our Crumb's picture
Our Crumb

Hi Sue, 
I’m pleased to hear you’re tempted.  We’ve all had Mascarpone Cream before since it’s the base layer of Tiramisu.  I’d just never thought to schmear it on panettone or colomba.  Capital idea.
WholeFoods sells a passable mascarpone.  Some sweeter American cream cheeses can substitute in a pinch.  But anyone who bakes panettone and colomba is obviously (obsessively?) self-reliant, adventurous and handy enough to make mascarpone at home, which of course comes out creamier and … just better.  It’s easy esp if you’ve made other cheeses — a process almost identical to ricotta but omits salt, uses milk with 10x the butterfat: heavy cream rather than non, low or full fat milk, and relies on fresh lemon juice not citric acid (as for ricotta, mine at least).  
For the Mascarpone Cream, there are plenty of recipes online, including a good sounding one from Giallo Zafferano (who must have the best SEO ever since I get them first with almost every Italian dolce recipe search I do).  
But wait and let me consult cugina Elisabetta whose concoction captivated me last Sunday.  Her process is inherited not googled and therefore worth waiting for.
I shall return.  Stay tooned.

Our Crumb's picture
Our Crumb

Hi Sue,
Had to wait for Sunday gathering up at nonna's to take dictation of cugina's recipe for Crema al Mascarpone -- which perhaps not surprisingly looks a lot like others I found online last week.

Crema al Mascarpone

    •    400 g mascarpone
    •    4 eggs
    •    100 gr caster sugar
    •    Vanilla (optional)

    1.    Separate eggs into medium bowls. 
    2.    Mix sugar well into egg yolks until color lightens to indicate sugar has dissolved.
    3.    [Optional:  Mix a few drops of vanilla into egg yolk-sugar mixture -- cugina doesn't]
    4.    Mix mascarpone thoroughly into yolk-sugar mixture.
    5.    Beat egg whites to stiff peaks.
    6.    Gently fold egg whites into yolk/sugar/mascarpone mix, preserving delicate integrity of egg foam as much as possible.
    7.    Spread on panettone or colomba, or use as base for tiramisu.

That should translate pretty easily from the Old World to New England.  However yesterday's mid-day Cassoeula Milanese is an entirely different matter (unless you're a pig farmer).

Buon appetito.


SueVT's picture

Thank you Tom!!

I've saved this to a  file and will definitely try it. One thing I will do is pasteurize the eggs first, considering our current situation with bird flu here in the US. 

I had to look up Cassoeula Milanese, but..... considering the ingredients, that is one that I'll have to enjoy vicariously. Somewhat reminiscent of certain Korean dishes I've seen on kdramas. It also reminds me of a lambs' tongue braise that Madeleine Kamman demonstrated in a long-ago cooking course. We live a sheltered life here in Vermont.

Regards, Sue