Galganov's Recipe for
One Loaf of the Calabrese Bread!

To make this Calabrese bread recipe you will need:
  • a mixing bowl
  • a wooden spoon
  • a mixer with dough hook in place of the bowl and wooden spoon
  • measuring spoons
  • a measuring cup
  • a loaf pan, lined with parchment paper of about 12" x 4" (131 cm x 10 cm).
  • a baking sheet lined with either parchement paper or a silicon baking sheet (we prefer parchement paper)
  • a pizza stone is an excellent extra
  The required ingredients for this Calabrese bread recipe are:
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 1/2 tsp yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/3 durum semolina
  • 1/2 C whole wheat flour
  • about 1 3/4 to 2 C white flour
  • fine white corn flour

» Best of Calabrese Bread recipes ever «

Method I (mixing):

  1. Sprinkle yeast onto warm water and let sit a few minutes until it foams.
  2. Add salt, sugar and oil and mix vigorously.
  3. Add 1/3 C durum semolina and mix in.
  4. Add 1/2 C whole wheat flour and beat 100 strong strokes with a wooden spoon.
  5. Add 1 C white flour and work it in then work in and additional 1/2 cup white flour.
  6. Add addtiional flour - first 1/4 C, then 2 tbsp, then just a small amount only until the dough becomes workable (still barely sticky). Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and work it by hand once it becomes too hard to work with the spoon.
  7. Knead the dough for about 7 minutes - until it feels silky-smooth and barely sticks to the hands.
  8. Cover the dough and let it rest for 15 minutes.
  9. Press out the air bubbles and knead the dough a second time for about 7 minutes - until it becomes resilient to the touch and looses its stickiness.
  10. Cover the dough and let it rest for ten minutes.
  11. Press out the air bubbles and knead the dough a third time for about 5 minutes - again until it becomes resilient to the touch, looses its stickiness and is silky smooth.
  12. Form the dough into a ball and oil the surface of the dough lightly.
  13. Place it in the bowl, cover the bowl, and place it in a draft-free place to rise for about 70 minutes.
Method II (forming):
  1. Turn dough out onto a (lightly floured) work surface. Press the bubbles out of the dough - flattening it into an oval shape. Cover it with a dish towel and let it rest for about 5 minutes.
  2. Knead and shape the dough into a long loaf and dust it well with the white corn flour, rolling it in the corn flour as necessary, assuring to coat it well on all sides and place it in the loaf pan.
  3. Cover the loaf with a lint-free dish towel or a piece of parchment paper (or wax paper although it sticks a little more - we like the lint-free dish towel) and let rise in a warm, draft-free place for about 30 minutes. (We rise our doughs in the oven with the light on - if the oven is free/available.)
  4. Optional: after 10 minutes, gently roll the loaf out of the pan and onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Cover the loaf again and let it rise for another 20 minutes. This will make a flatter loaf.
  5. Total rising time for this loaf is 30 to 35 minutes.
Method III (baking):
  1. Preheat the oven to 445ºF (220ºC) with the baking rack on the bottom rung.
  2. If using a pizza stone and raised on a cookie sheet: slide the loaf, on a piece of parchement paper, onto the stone
  3. If using a pizza stone and raised in a loaf pan: "gently" invert the pan over the stone leaving the loaf, without the pan and parchment paper liner, on the pizza stone.
  4. Bake for a total of about 30 minutes or until desired doneness is reached.
  5. To bake on a cookie sheet and finish on a pizza stone: bake the loaf for about 10 minutes (until it sets) on an oiled or lined cookie sheet then slide the loaf off the sheet onto a stone for an additonal 20 minutes or until desired doneness is reached.
  6. If baking on a cookie sheet only: line the sheet with parchment paper OR oil the sheet.  Bake the loaf on the lowest shelf for about 30 minutes or until desired doneness is reached.
  7. Tap test the loaf for doneness. If tapping the bottom, sides and top, the loaf yields a deep, hollow sound the loaf is cooked.
  8. When cooked, move to a wire rack to cool.
Tips & Tricks:
  • A pizza stone is best for this loaf.
  • Parchment paper lined cookie sheets and/or loaf pans is best for this loaf unless baking directly on a stone.

The Background Story
Calabrese Bread

I first tried this variety, while working in a Trattoria in Guelph, as a roll from a bakery in Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada.  It had a deep, rich crust and a beautiful, chewy interior.

I'd since tried Calabrese breads from several other bakeries and came to the realization that, like almost all other foods, there are a range of recipes and the only true Calabrese bread was a loaf made by a Calabrian.

With bread, though, that means something a little different than for some other foods. This favoured bakery made it with white flour only (in fact, if I took my guess, they made it using a pizza flour).

I found that bakery's Calabrese rolls and loaves in a Guelph grocery store and indulged many times. It was always a delightful loaf - perfect, as I had it at the restaurant, simply with butter ... or excellent with an olive tapenade or a slice of cheese. It was, as it is, a delightful bread regardless of how it was used ... and particularly appreciated as a base (as recommended by one of the chefs) for bruschetta.

I later tried the Calabrese bread made by a different bakery - made with a rye flour, durum semolina, and whole wheat component and, from still another; with, only, a whole wheat component. White flour, however, was always the base.  All varieties are acceptable in Calabrese bread.

I also read an article that said, "Calabrese bread, typically, has a deep crust and crumbly interior." That, I'd never had and I'm not in love with crumbly bread.  I love the deep crust and particularly chewy interior that typifies most of the Calabrese loaves I'd tried ... so, while our recipe relies, primarily, on white with a little whole wheat, try changing up the whole wheat for rye (or go to 100 % white flour).  Adjust, carefully, the proportions and learn what you like best.  This variety is what we like best.

So, since ingredients varied so much, it came down to method - the method to make this very special bread! What was to be recongnized, in our minds, is that this bread is best made with a view towards pizza. That means, we choose to bake it on a pizza stone.  If you are uncomfortable with this, it may be finished on a pizza stone but either way, bake it on the bottom shelf of your oven.

We are pleased, now, to share with you, our version of this delightful Mediterranean loaf - the rustic Calabrese bread.

Try this recipe to make one of these recipes: