Pane Bianco with Tomatoes, Basil, Garlic and Cheese

This Italian white bread is a real showstopper! It is wonderfully soft and packed with flavor from the basil, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, and a blend of Italian cheese. Easily customize this recipe – you can add olives, sweet red bell peppers, or use other kinds of cheese. The smell of this bread while being baked will make you hungry. =)

a whole loaf of pane bianco with tomatoes, basil, garlic and cheese

Pane Bianco literally means white bread. It is light with a porous, airy interior. This version, which I adapted from King Arthur Flour is filled with fresh basil, garlic, cheese, and sundried tomatoes. Not only it is pretty to look at but also enjoyable to bake and satisfying to eat. Its shape is unique which actually makes it more visually stunning.

I think the best part of baking this bread is that you can add your own little twist. You can choose to change the fillings – use ham bits, sausage, onions, red pepper, green olives, or your preferred cheese blend. The bread dough is the base then add the fillings you like. Fun, isn’t it?

Sliced pane bianco with tomatoes, basil, garlic and cheese

Do I need a special equipment to make this recipe?

Here’s the list of the tools you’ll need. A stand mixer is recommended, but if you don’t have one you can definitely knead the dough using your hand.

a whole pane bianco with tomatoes, basil, garlic and cheese
slices of pane bianco bread with cheese and basil

Ingredients

For the Dough

  • 361 grams (3 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 piece large egg
  • 113 grams (1/2 cup) lukewarm milk
  • Lukewarm generally means between 100 and 110 degrees Fahrenheit, 36.5 to 40.5 Celsius.
  • 74 grams (1/3 cup) lukewarm water
  • 35 grams (3 tablespoons) olive oil

For the Filling

  • 85 grams (3/4 cup) shredded italian-blend cheese
  • 113 grams (1/2 cup) sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 3-6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 14 grams (1/3 cup) chopped fresh green basil
whole pane bianco with cheese and basil

How to make this Italian bread step-by-step

To make the dough, combine all dough ingredients in a stand mixer bowl and mix on low speed until the dough forms into a ball and dough sticks a bit to the bottom of the bowl, about 3-4 minutes. I used a Kitchen Aid Artisan mixer in speed #2.

Transfer the dough to a bowl that is lightly greased with oil. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and place in a warm area to allow the dough to double in size, around 45-60 minutes.

bread dough in a bowl

When the dough has risen, gently deflate it by putting your fist in the dough and push down on it. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a 22″ x 8.5″ rectangle. At this point, evenly spread the cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, and basil.

bread dough filled with cheese, basil, and sundried tomatoes

Starting with one long edge, carefully roll the dough into a log then pinch the edges to seal. Place the log seam-side down on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Use your kitchen shears to cut the log lengthwise down the center about 1″ deep, starting from ½ inch from one end to within ½’ of the other end. Form the dough into an “S” shape, keeping the cut side up. Tuck both ends under the center of “S” to form a “figure 8”. Pinch the ends together to seal.

shaped pane bianco bread

Cover the dough with a tea towel and let it rise again for the second time by putting it in a warm place until size doubles, about 45-60 mins.

Around midway of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350 F (175 C). Remove the cover and bake it for 35 – 40 minutes. Tent the bread with foil after 25 minutes to avoid over-browning.


Remove the bread from the oven and transfer to a rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.

picture of the bread before and after it was baked

Printable Recipe

Pane Bianco with Tomatoes, Basil, Garlic and Cheese

This Italian bread is wonderfully soft and packed with flavor from the basil, garlic, sundried tomatoes, and a blend of Italian cheese. The smell of this bread while being baked will make you hungry!
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time1 hr 10 mins
Servings: 1 loaf – about 20 slices

Ingredients

For the dough:

  • 361 grams (3 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 piece large egg
  • 113 grams (1/2 cup) lukewarm milk
  • 74 grams (1/3 cup) luekwarm water
  • 35 grams (3 tablespoons) olive oil

For the filling:

  • 85 grams (3/4 cup) shredded italian-blend cheese
  • 113 grams (1/2 cup) sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 3-6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 14 grams (1/3 cup) chopped fresh green basil

Instructions

  • To make the dough, combine all dough ingredients in a stand mixer bowl and mix on low speed until the dough forms into a ball and dough sticks a bit to the bottom of the bowl, about 3-4 minutes. I used a Kitchen Aid Artisan mixer in speed #2.
  • Transfer the dough in a bowl that is lightly greased with oil. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and place in a warm area to allow the dough to double in size, around 45-60 minutes.
  • When dough has risen, gently deflate it by putting your fist in the dough and push down on it. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a 22″ x 8.5″ rectangle. At this point, evenly spread the cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic and basil.
  • Starting with one long edge, carefully roll the dough into a log then pinch the edges to seal. Place the log seam-side down on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  • Use your kitchen shears to cut the log lengthwise down the center about 1″ deep, starting from ½ inch from one end to within ½’ of the other end.
  • Form the dough into an “S” shape, keeping the cut side up. Tuck both ends under the center of “S” to form a “figure 8”. Pinch the ends together to seal.
  • Cover the dough with a tea towel and let it rise again for the second time by putting it in a warm place until size doubles, about 45-60 mins.
  • Around midway of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350 F (175 C).
  • Remove the cover and bake it for 35 – 40 minutes. Tent the bread with foil after 25 minutes to avoid over-browning.
  • Remove the bread fro the oven and transfer in a rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Notes

(Note 1) Use room temperature eggs.
(Note 2) I highly recommend to measure ingredients in grams. Many things can go wrong with inexact measurements!
(Note 3) STORAGE: Wrap the bread in cling wrap and store at room temperature. Best to be eaten on the same day until after 2 days.
Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour

4 thoughts on “Pane Bianco with Tomatoes, Basil, Garlic and Cheese”

  1. Angela

    Hi! Do you have a video of the shaping please .

    1. trish

      Sorry, I don’t have a video for this yet.

  2. Manal

    Helloooo
    Can i do it with basil paste if I don’t have basil leafs on hand and if yes i use the same amount???
    Thank you

    1. trish

      I haven’t tried using basil paste but I think it should work. If I would try it, I would spread the paste on the dough (roughly 1-2 tablespoons only as pastes have stronger taste) before adding the cheese, garlic, and sun-dried tomatoes. I would love to know the results if you would use a paste! Thank you.

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