I’m a little late to the party again, but not too late to miss out on some of the fun. The Bread Baking Babes turn ten this month and they unanimously decided to revisit the Royal Crown Tortano Bread. That was the first bread they ever baked as a group. I joined the group some years ago and so never baked the bread so it’s new to me.
A Tortano is a rustic Italian round bread with a hole in the middle. The Royal Crown Tortano Bread is a signature bread from the Royal Crown Bakery in Brooklyn in New York. The Royal Crown Tortano Bread recipe is adapted from Maggie Glezer’s book. She describes it as the “most beautiful bread” made by the Royal Crown Bakery. My recipe is based on the Bread Baking Babes first recipe. The advantage of going back to a bread others have baked before you is that you can learn from their experiences with it.
This Tortano is a high hydration bread. I have no idea why but suddenly, the past few higher hydration breads I made weren’t my best. So I made adjustments with a water and flour to make it a slightly lower hydration dough. The recipe below is the higher hydration version that seems to have worked well for others.
To bake this bread, you need to start with making the pre-ferment the night previous to the day you’re baking the bread. The next day morning, you knead the dough and let it rise. Then you fold and stretch it four times at 20 minute intervals, letting the dough rest in between. Shape the dough, let it rise again and bake. That’s it. If you’re not familiar with the stretch and fold method, this video demonstrates it very well.
I halved the recipe given below because there are just two of us at home now. I already have a baguette, some garlic bread and dinner rolls. As much as love bread, there’s only so much of it the two of us can eat. I also decided to add a tsp of cumin seeds to add some more flavour to the bread. Just to be a bit different and do my own thing with it. The important thing is to make sure the dough doesn’t over proof.
The addition of mashed potato to the dough gives the bread a nice flavor and texture. A crisp crust and soft crumb is the hallmark of this Royal Crown Tortano Bread. Eat it as it is, toast it and have it with soup or as crostini, maybe.
The Bread Baking Babes are –
Though the Bread Baking Babes (BBB) are a closed group, you’re most welcome to bake with us as a Bread Baking Buddy. Here’s how it works. This month is the 10th anniversary of the group.
Karen is this month’s Kitchen of the Month and the recipe for this month’s bread is on her blog. Bake the Royal Bakery Tortano Bread and post it on your blog before the 28th of this month. Make sure you mention the Bread Baking Babes and link to her BBB post in your own post. Then e-mail her with your name and the link to the post, or leave a comment on her blog post with this information. She will do a Buddy round-up for this month on her blog and send you a BBB badge to add to your post on your blog.