Tessinerbrot. Pain tessinois. Pane ticinese. Different languages, different names. All for the same Swiss bread. When we arrived last year, this was the first store-bought bread I found that was safe for my food-allergic son. In the last few months, Coop has started selling an organic version of pain tessinois, but it contains milk. So, I thought I would try making it at home this time.
Please note: Since I published this post, the non-bio Pain tessinois at Coop now has a warning that it may contain traces of milk. As a reminder, please always read food labels carefully.
A Cantonal Bread
The Swiss government recognizes Pane ticinese as the cantonal bread of Ticino. A loaf of this bread typically contains five sections, which can be broken apart with your hands and shared. Apparently, bakers considered it disrespectful to use a knife to cut fresh bread.
In Italian-speaking Switzerland, Pane ticinese has been around for hundreds of years. Unlike the traditional Zopf bread made with butter and milk, Pane ticinese is traditionally made with water and oil. As such, this bread’s ingredients are safe for our son with multiple food allergies. Bakers often use an egg wash to create its golden brown crust, and since our son passed his baked egg challenge, he can safely eat it this way.
I adapted a recipe from kochbar.de and didn’t have to make any recipe substitutions.
3-3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups water, very warm
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast (7 grams)
2 tablespoons olive or other vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1. Add yeast to the warm water and let sit for about 5 minutes until the yeast has dissolved. Add the oil, salt and 2 cups of flour. Mix vigorously until well-blended.
2. Stir in another cup of flour to form a dough. Knead for about 5-10 minutes, adding additional flour as necessary, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Cover and let rise for about 1 hour or until the dough has doubled.
3. Once the dough has risen, divide it into 5 equal parts. Make 5 small, elongated loaves and set them side by side, nearly touching on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Let rise for another 30 minutes.
4. Then, using a pastry brush or the back of spoon, spread a thin layer of the beaten egg on the top of the dough. With a sharp knife, make a long cut through the center of the loaf.
5. Bake at 200°C/400°F for 30-35 minutes. Remove and place on a wire rack to cool.
We’re taking a family vacation, so you won’t be seeing any posts from me in the coming weeks. In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to send me your favorite Swiss recipes. Just leave a comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks so much!
Updated: December 29, 2014