PANISSIMO April Round-up and la Colomba di Terry


April has been a pretty hectic month for my second life in bread. Hosting Panissimo, helping to plan a bread workshop and the challenge of baking my first colomba. For Panissimo collection, here we are: almost 100 breads, for every taste really, each with a recipe. As expected, this month we received several special Easter breads both sweet and savory, to bookmark and save for next year (or do like me: bake Easter breads all year round). Thank you so much for your continuous partecipation, this collection is very dear to me and to my partner in crime, Sandra, who will host the next two editions of Panissimo for the coming May and June. So go to Sandra this month and the next to submit/look at beautiful freshly baked breads.

And what about the colomba?


Until recently, I did not pay enough attention -the attention they truly deserve- to grandi lievitati, big (in the sense of difficult) Italian sweet naturally leavened breads like panettone, veneziana and colomba. Colomba is basically a panettone shaped like a dove, using -like in panettone- pasta madre (a stiff starter) as a leavening agent and an insane amount of eggs and butter. So much of them that the leavening is slowed down and it takes a good 24 hours in a warm spot for the dough to rise plus one all day of preparation of the starter, which needs to be boosted and show super powers.

Well, after one 15 hours rising and 2 extremely long kneading sessions, the dough looked like… a sticky blob. I wasn’t that optimistic…

colomba dough

And I would never have dared hoping that it would have ended up with an aethereal tall crumb which tasted like nothing ever tasted before. Or, better, which tasted like colomba from my childhood (if you are an Italian who was a little kid before the 80’s you know what I am talking about).


I have to thank my Italian bread pal and real pastry master Terry Giannotta who writes I Pasticci Di Terry, created the clearest tutorial on colomba making I could find around. Follow her without hesitation if you want to learn grandi lievitati (panettone, colomba and the likes). I adapted her recipe only slightly, adding more flour at the first kneading cause local flours are less strong than the super dooper Italian ones used for these cakes (and therefore absorb less water). For the rest, I followed the master (for once). And guess what I am doing now? Preparing another colomba. Once you tasted it you absolutely cannot wait until next Easter. No way, from now on, Colomba every month!

colomba crumb

Scroll down to see the links to all the amazing Panissimo breads published in april/vai gu’ per vedere i link di tutti gli splendidi pani di Panissimo pubblicati in aprile e a maggio… tutti da Sandra!!! Grazie a tutte per la partecipazione, vi amoriamo!!!


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Barbara Elisi

Hi there! I am the "soul" behind Bread & Companatico. My main interest is the preservation of bread tradition and craft, with an eye to health. I hope you are having a good time reading this blog, and please don't be shy to connect with me through comments or emails and do keep on bread-ing! 🙂

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4 replies
  1. Susan
    Susan says:

    Just wonderful! My problem was I couldn’t find a recipe for the Colomba anywhere! Liked the recipe for the citrus cream, that is genius!


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