52 Cookbooks #5: Panini Lunghi al Pepe Nero

Yes exactly. That's long panini with black pepper topping to you and I. 

And I've chosen this week's recipe from Gino d'Acampo's Italian Home baking book. I like this book and have previously cooked a chocolate cakey-bread from it before, which was divine.  I mean bread plus chocolate, how could it be anything else?


Looking at the book again to choose this recipe I was struck by how many things I actually wanted to cook from it, but I settled on these paninis. Partly for a practical reason which is that MOH is bemoaning the price of lunch in the London sandwich bars and the quality and choice of meals available in his work canteen, and partly because I've never made panini!

I make sourdough bread regularly, which is a blessing and a curse. A blessing because we have lots of lovely home made bread around, and a curse because it's easy to knock up the recipe I know and love...

Gino's version 

Anyway, onto these paninis... 230g of white bread flour, a teaspoon of salt, a sachet of yeast and 140ml of warm water. That's all it took to get to this stage. I wasn't sure how active my yeast was - it was dated Jan 2014 - so rather than add to the flour as the recipe suggested I added it to the water to see if it was still alive. I reckoned if there were bubbles in the warm water I'd be ok, if not I could get another in date sachet out of the cupboard and I wouldn't've wasted the flour either. 

After ten minutes of kneading, or as I like to think of it an upper body workout my dough was ready to rest under its shower cap for 50 minutes. I'm out of the habit of kneading bread as my standard sourdough recipe is just "turned over" before being left to prove in the fridge overnight (it really is that simple!).  I left these in my failsafe place for dough - on top of the (cold) toaster but under one of the wall cupboard lights...

It'd done it stuff and was now ready to knock back and shape. 

This recipe makes six paninis

Each triangle was shaped into a more regular panini shape, and slashed three times on the top - I used my blade for this, but a sharp knife also does the trick. 

Next they were brushed with olive oil and left for a second shorter rise of 20 minutes and then with another lick of olive oil they were ready for the oven. 

After 15 minutes I had these little beauties:

  • The verdict:
  • I'm looking forward to trying them for lunch, as MOH won't be the only one having these at lunchtime!
  • I'm not sure what happened to the "Lunghi" part of the recipe title, I wouldn't call these long...
  • I'd make them again, but would perhaps make four larger paninis rather than the six. 
  • I'm also going to try and cook more from this cookbook!

... And you'll have to wait for MOH's taste verdict, his initial reaction was that he'd have to make them up now that I'd made them for him. And he wasn't wrong, he's very much in charge of his own lunch!