Pane Bianco returns: best of Bakealong

Pane Bianco is our original Bakealong recipe, having debuted in August 2016. Now this savory swirled yeast bread is making an encore.

This crowd favorite, Pane Bianco, was the first recipe in our Bakealong challenge. Now it's back, better than ever. Click To Tweet

Over the past 24 months the questions you’ve asked about our Bakealong recipes — as well as ingredient additions you’ve suggested and proposed preparation shortcuts — haven’t fallen on deaf ears; collaboration is at the heart of every great recipe.

Pane Bianco returns via @kingarthurflour

And this month’s recipe is no exception: as we bring back Pane Bianco, we’re showcasing some of the many suggestions you’ve offered (and questions you’ve posed) around it.

Let’s start with the dough.

Looking for a softer Pane Bianco?

A few of you commented on the texture of both dough and bread—

“My dough was a bit tough – suggestions?” — Katy Rush

“The bread tasted stale (dry and not chewy) right out of the oven…” — Chloe

Bread made from low-hydration (less water) dough, like Pane Bianco, can sometimes tip over into tough and dry.

But we have a solution: tangzhong, a yeast dough technique we’ve posted about in the recent past. (For the basics, read our Introduction to tangzhong; and for some key followup information, How to convert a bread recipe to tangzhong.)

Pane Bianco returns via @kingarthurflour

It’s simple to turn stiff, low-hydration Pane Bianco dough into a higher-hydration dough (pictured above); one that yields a softer, moister loaf with better shelf life. All you need to do is cook 3 tablespoons of the flour and the milk in the recipe into a slurry, then add it to the remaining ingredients; you’ll find all the details in the baker’s tips at the bottom of the recipe.

Pane Bianco returns via @kingarthurflour

When you use the tangzhong technique your dough will be quite soft, probably sticking to the sides of the mixer bowl. Just scrape it together and proceed with the recipe.

Pane Bianco returns via @kingarthurflour

You’ll find your loaf is softer and more tender than the original lower-hydration version.

Prep one day, bake the next

Another hot topic out there is how to make yeast bread or rolls ahead of time, then bake them the next day:

“Hi, what do you think about making it the day before you need it, and putting it in the fridge for the 2nd rise? Then baking it the next day?” — Carole

Pane Bianco returns via @kingarthurflour

Carole, you can absolutely do that. Let the shaped dough rise at room temperature until it’s about three-quarters of the way to doubled, as shown above.

Tent the loaf with greased plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Pane Bianco returns via @kingarthurflour

Next day, remove the loaf from the refrigerator and let it rest at room temperature while you preheat your oven, about 20 to 30 minutes.

Pane Bianco returns via @kingarthurflour

Bake as directed; you may need to add a couple of minutes to the baking time to account for the chilled dough.

Dividing to multiply: Mini Pane Bianco loaves

Aside from being delicious, Pane Bianco is simply a gorgeous bread, one you’re eager to share. The original recipe makes one very large loaf; can it be divided into smaller loaves?

“Do you have any thoughts on how to make this into personal-sized rolls, even if they are larger than average rolls? I’m intrigued with the idea of making this, but when I first saw the picture they looked like they might be rolls, not a whole loaf of bread, and that seemed like a really neat idea.” – Amy

“I finally got around to making this yesterday and it was a hit. Just beautiful. Very impressive. My family thought it was so clever to have done it. It was really big, however, and I think next time I will make two smaller ones. Has anyone tried that?” – Beth

Well, let’s see what happens when we divide to conquer.

Pane Bianco returns via @kingarthurflour

First, gather your filling ingredients: fresh basil, minced garlic, grated or shredded cheese (I’m using cheddar), and sun-dried or oven-roasted tomatoes.

I know from the get-go that the shaping technique for this bread will be more difficult when done in smaller proportions. One thing that will help is making sure the filling isn’t too chunky.

Pane Bianco returns via @kingarthurflour

So I snip the basil into small pieces and gently mash the tomatoes, then stir everything together.

Pane Bianco returns via @kingarthurflour

Following the original recipe, I roll the dough into a 22″ x 8 1/2″ rectangle, then top it with the filling.

Pane Bianco returns via @kingarthurflour

I roll the dough up the long way, being careful not to lose any of the filling.

Pane Bianco returns via @kingarthurflour

Four loaves or two?

First I’m going to try to make four loaves. So I cut the 22″ log into four equal pieces, and gently roll each log to a length of 10″: which is much easier said than done. The filling, despite my best efforts, keeps squirting out one end or the other.

Eventually, I get the logs lengthened. I use a pair of scissors to snip them open at the top, as directed in the recipe.

Next comes shaping each one into an “S” and tucking the ends underneath.

Pane Bianco returns via @kingarthurflour

Not a pretty sight; the logs simply aren’t long enough. And the more I try to gently stretch them, the more filling spills out.

I manage to finally plop the four loaves onto a pan in a semblance of their proper shape.

Pane Bianco returns via @kingarthurflour

But after rising and baking, even that semblance pretty much disappears.

Unless you have more patience and skill than I do, I don’t suggest making four loaves from one batch of Pane Bianco dough.

How about two loaves?

I start out the same way, but instead cut the 22″ log in half instead of in quarters. I lengthen each half into an 18″ log.

Pane Bianco returns via @kingarthurflour

Much better. Here’s one of the logs shaped and ready to rise…

Pane Bianco returns via @kingarthurflour

…and here it is baked. Unlike with smaller loaves, the pretty swirl is still apparent.

So yes, you can make two 7 1/2″ to 8″ mini loaves from the Pane Bianco recipe.

Pane Bianco returns via @kingarthurflour

Here’s a full-size loaf on the left, a mini on the right. You can make one large loaf or two smaller ones from the recipe.

You’ll bake the smaller loaves for 30 to 35 minutes, rather than the original 35 to 40 minutes. Other than that, simply follow the directions as written.

Pane Bianco returns via @kingarthurflour

No matter how you slice it, Pane Bianco remains a Bakealong favorite. If you haven’t yet made it — now’s your chance. And if it’s become a regular in your repertoire, use these tips and techniques to take it to the next level.

What’s your favorite Bakealong recipe — any particular standouts? Please comment below.

Interested in more? See our complete collection of Bakealong recipes.

PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!


    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We’re glad you asked, Viv. You didn’t miss any new Bakealong announcements; it was time for us to conclude Bakealong to make more room for other great baking initiatives of ours, some of which, like Bake the Bag are already live and open for participation. Recognizing how beloved Bakealong has been for so many of our audience members, we’ve created a special collection of Bakealong recipes so that anyone can revisit them at any time, indefinitely. We’re still baking non-stop and are every bit as committed to answering baking questions and cheering fellow bakers on in the kitchen. We hope you continue to share your bakes with us! Kye@KAF

  1. Sandra

    Okay People are going to think I am Nuts I made this bread the last time it was on the Bake of the month and while I was making it Yes it was sticky but not overly so. I don’t use flour on most bread recipes (except sweet and enriched dough for non savory breads) to knead because it throws the ratio off and dries out the bread giving a bad result I use Olive oil and Not extra virgin either just plain Light Olive oil. The bread keeps it’s integrity that way and even the wettest dough can be done that way (almost all my dough’s are wet more tender crumb and plenty moist). Wet dough’s do take a bit more work at first but you get great gluten strands and are less likely to over work it

  2. Karen

    I finally had an opportunity to make this bread. I loved it! The bread was not only delicious but relatively easy to make. The dough was a bit more sticky than I expected which made it a little more difficult to work with but I managed. I used pesto instead of basil leaves as mine normally burn. Will make this again!

  3. Debbie McKelvey

    YAY, a way to make this DELICIOUS bread into a couple of smaller loaves to share with my friends!!!! This bread is a HUGE HIT, but I’ve often wished I could share a couple of smaller loaves rather than cut a larger loaf.

    Gonna give this a try REAL SOON!

  4. Jini Simpson

    I am confused about the cutting and shaping. After you place filling on top and roll, what next? SAy ” get logs lengthened and snip as directed? then form S ?
    please explain as only one log

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Jim. Since this blog article is all about putting a twist on the original recipe, I’m going to share the original blog post that shapes just one, large loaf, which is what it sounds like you’re looking for. Once you’ve filled and rolled up your dough, you slice open the top and then for the “S” before it has its final rise. Happy baking! Annabelle@KAF

  5. Pia

    My family calls this “sausage bread” — I make it with crumbled pre-cooked Italian sausage and a shredded Italian cheese blend (the bagged kind works fine here). They LOVE it. I like making it with some semolina flour and I leave out the egg. I will try the tangzhong method once the weather cools down enough for me to turn on my oven!

  6. Perla

    I made this but used jalapeños and cheddar cheese, and entered it in the county fair. I received the Best of Show blue ribbon. Great and easy recipe.

  7. Roz Cashen

    I made this recently with a more pizza topping-like filling, fresh tomatoes, onions, pepperoni and fresh oregano, delicious and impressive looking too. I will be making it again.

  8. Shari

    I’m confused. What is the reasoning behind filling and rolling up the dough first as opposed to dividing the dough and then stretching it out?
    Also, if I don’t care about the twisted shape, could the log be cut into smaller individual sized rolls and then baked on their sides like the Gruyere Stuffed Crusty Loaves? If so, what would you suggest for a baking time and temperature?

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Shari. That was just the way we did it, but we like your roll idea! You can make them as you would the Crusty loaves, and bake them until the center reaches between 190°F and 200°F — about 30 minutes. Happy baking! Annabelle@KAF

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