Pane Cafone – Naples peasant bread

The delightful breakfast buffet at our beach side hotel had several yummy types of bread. When I asked one of the breakfast staff what the bread was called he shook his head and said “Bread”, when  asked what another bread was called he said “normal bread”.  I needed to clarify that I was interested in what he called it, in Italian. “Oh, Pane Cafone and Pane”  so I was one step closer.

Peasant bread and bread. Pane Cafone is a typical bread for the area around Naples and has a wonderful chewy crust and lots of texture. It has a slightly sour dough spongy-ness due to the long rising time. It takes 2 minutes to put together but plan ahead you need 24 hour lead time.

It’s a nightmare to slice because of the hard crust but I saw many of the guests smothering it with fresh ricotta cheese, and since I am not one to argue, I did the same. I added some honey for  sweetness and this made the most magnificent breakfast for a day of sunbathing.

480 grams of flour
2 teaspoons of salt
350 ml of warm water
6 grams fresh yeast

Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Dissolve yeast in the lukewarm water. Pour liquid slowly into flour mixture and mix for no more than 2 minutes with your fingers. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for 20 hours.

Cover work surface with a thick layer of flour. Scrape risen dough onto the flour layer and fold on to itself a few times integrating the flour into the dough.

On a clean dish towel place another thick layer of flour and place the soft dough on top and cover with the towel and let rise for 3 hours at room temperature.

Preheat oven to 250 degrees Celcius. Reduce heat to 200 and place risen dough into a pot of approximately 20 cm and bake with the lid on for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and bake for another 20 minutes.

This is a most wonderful video, with very catchy music, showing how easy it is to make Pane Cafone. The recipe above is translated by me and google, ok mostly google. Thanks to Gigio Attanasio for this much appreciated tutorial!

Delicious Italy writes here that tradition and knowledge about baking many of the bread types made today could disappear with one generation. Let’s do what we can to keep this simple peasant bread alive!

*My crust wasn’t quite right, so I need to check my oven temperature, this one was too soft but the flavor was nice.

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