I've opted for an Easter theme and chose to make a luxurious Pandolce from Ursula Ferrigno and it's found in her book La Dolce Vita: Sweet things from the Italian Home Kitchen. This Pandolce is a little different in that saffron is used to impart a wonderful aroma and adds a most distinctive colour to the dough. I should mention that I've replaced regular flour with spelt flour.
Pandolce with Saffron
1 teaspoon saffron strands
15 grams fresh yeast or 2 teaspoons dry yeast
150ml tepid milk
450 grams Spelt Flour
85 grams butter, softened
25 grams caster sugar
175 grams sultanas
2 tablespoons warmed honey
Soak the saffron in 1 tablespoon of hot water for about an hour.
Place the yeast in a bowl with a pinch of sugar and add the tepid milk, stir and then leave to activate.
Put the flour, butter and sugar into the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook. On low speed, mix for a minute then add the saffron and yeast mixture.
I found I needed to add some more liquid to this mixture. As all flours absorb differing amounts - always keep this in mind and adjust as necessary.
Add the sultanas and continue to mix until a smooth and amalgamated dough forms - about 5 minutes.
Turn out to a very lightly flour dusted bench and knead briefly to form a sausage shape.
Butter and flour a bread tin and place the dough inside. Cover and place in a warm spot until doubled in size.
When doubled, cook in a preheated 170°C/340°F for about 1 hour or until golden and cooked through.
Turn out onto a wire rack and paint the surface with warmed honey to give it a lovely gloss. Cool before cutting.
Eat plain or toast the left overs for breakfast - this also would make an excellent bread and butter pudding.