Tuesday, August 31, 2010

BBD # 33 Breads with Booze : Crescia Cingolana

This month Bread Baking Day # 33 is hosted by Adriana at Baking Powders.
I made a sweet bread I wanted to make since I got The Baker's Dozen Cookbook ; in the book there are some photos and the Crescia Cingolana looks very cute baked in vintage cans.
So finally after years thanks to Adriana I decided to bake it !
The Crescia, a dialectal word that refers to a yeasted baked good coming from the word Crescere that means to Grow, is called in the book also Orange Rum Sweet Bread.

I wanted to add more informations and looked for this bread in the net but did not find anything. Anyway the recipe is from Carol Field and I trust her, maybe she ate it in Cingoli which by the way is called the Marche's balcony, for its wonderful view.

Traditionally in the central regions of Italy a sweet bread and a cheese one are baked for Easter morning; during the Holy week the Priest would visit all the households and bless eggs and all the ingredients of Easter lunch. Hens start laying more eggs in the spring and I remember the breads that my neighbours in Umbria baked were so loaded with eggs that looked almost green !!!

by Carol Field from The Baker's Dozen Cookbook


1/2 cup whole milk, lukewarm
2 1/2 teaspons active dry yeast (I used 1 3/4 instant yeast )
2/3 cup (3 1/2 ounces) ubleached all-purpose flour


1/4 dark rum
3 1/4 cups (1 pound) unbleached all purpose flour
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 large eggs at room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
Zest of two oranges (see step 2)
1/4 cup olive oil

1 large egg white beaten with 2 teaspoon water, for the glaze.

1. To make the sponge, pour the milk ito the bowl of a heavy duty stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Let stand until the yeast dissolves, about 5 minutes. Add the flour and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon to form a thick batter. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let stand at room temperature until it is bubbly and doubles in volume about 30 to 45 minutes.

2. To make the dough, add the rum to the sponge. Attach the bowl to the mixer and fit with the paddle attachment. On low speed, add 1 cup of flour and the salt and mix until smooth. Add 2 eggs and another cup of flour and mix util smooth. Beat in the remaining egg, the remaining 1 1/4 cups flour, along with the sugar and zest (grate the orange zest right into the bowl, removing the bowl from the stand if necessary). With the mixer on low speed, add the olive oil in a slow steady stream, then mix for 3 minutes. Switch to the dough hook and knead on medium-low speed until the dough is firm elastic and velvety with a barely sticky surface, about 3 minutes. If the dough seems too firm, beat in an additional tablespoon or so of milk; if too wet add flour 1 tablespoon at a time.

3.Detach the dough hook and remove the bowl from the stand. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Let stand until the dough is doubled in volume, about 3 hours.

4. Lightly oil a 2-quart round soufflé dish or charlotte mold. Turn the dough into a floured work surface and shape it into a round. Fit, rounded side up, into the prepared dish. Cover with a moistened towel. Let stand at room temperature until the dough has risen to the top of the dish, about two hours.

5. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400°F.

6. Brush the top of the dough with some of the egg glaze. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350° F and bake until the bread is golden and sounds hollow when the bottom is tapped, about 20 minutes. (I checked the internal temperature and got the 195°F much later)

7. Transfer to a wire cooling rack and cool for 30 minutes. Unmold and cool completely.

TWD : Espresso Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

Donna of Life's too short not to eat dessert first (who could not agreee ?) chose these cookies and I was ready for another spread failure when they didn't move ! Almost cutting edges ! (...) I'm so happy I want to try the world peace cookies again !
What I did is diminish the butter from 8 oz to 6 oz and increase the flour a bit, this is because European butter has a higher fat content than American ( 85 % vs.80%). But I didn't go into math and just tried..

In Italy ziplock baggies aren't so common so I just cut out a normal freezer bag and put some tape to the cut end, I loved Dorie's way of rolling and even in the heat wave after two hours in the fridge the dough was ready.
I used decaf soluble coffee because Andrea doesn't drink coffee, but he certainly enjoied these cookies, infact I gave him almost all of them to bring to work (they were TOO good for me) but he admitted he wasn't generous because he liked them a lot !

Please visit Donna for this recipe and go here to check all the cookies (there is even an oatmeal and spice version !)