Many people have asked me to share my Colomba recipe and now after a week since I first baked it, this year I feel confident enough to share it with you. I’ve baked 3 of them with the recipe that I will give you, so it will be enough for many people. I’m sure you will love this recipe, as much as my family did.
Starting with the preferment, the beginning is always the most important.
50 g of starter 100% hydro
1 whole egg
100 g of flour
20 gr rice malt
50 gr water
This preferment is the most important part of the recipe.Iit is very simple to make as it is very simple to mess it up. The mixing bit is the easy part, the control part is the tricky side of it. You need to be very careful when to stop the fermentation, especially to reduce the possibility of high lactic acid bacteria. My suggestion is to keep an eye on it and check it every hour. when it doubles in size it is ready to be used for the next step. Off course if you bake in winter it might take you longer than if you would make it during summer.
Suggestions: leave the preferment in the room temperature for even rising. If you do not have time to check your preferment put it into the fridge covered and take it out once you have time to focus on it and to focus on the second step.
Preferment ready to be used, see the bubbles, at this pick it is ready to be used.
At this stage its about time to prepare the second step or the first actual dough for the colomba. Day 2.
Secons Step-First Dough
300 gr milk
300 gr of Strong flour
60 gr sugar
These ingredients can all be mixed together, easily by hand, but if you have a dough machine it will be even easier and even quicker. By hand you will find this dough very sticky and wet. I suggest to you to either use a Danish spatula or a spoon. mix it as long as the dough comes together and don’t be afraid when you look at it and it looks uneven and wet.
Suggestion: Learn to give time to your dough, I love when my dough can slightly autolyse after I mix them for the first 5 minutes. i rest my dough for 15-20 minutes. It is very important to give them time, you will see the benefits of it.
Third step- Second dough.
300 gr egg yolks. roughly 15-17 egg yolks
165 gr sugar
600 gr strong flour
180 gr butter
zest of 2 oranges
2 tbs of vanilla paste
45 gr candied diced orange
22 gr salt
70 gr of milk
Proceed mixing the egg yolks, sugar and milk, add the dough from the day before and mix until everything turns into a slightly wet dough. Then add the flour and the salt. at this point if you are mixing it by hand you also need to melt the butter and mix it through. Instead if you are actually using a dough mixer and any other sort of mechanic tool, you can mix this mixture until the gluten is developed and, add the butter toward the end, roughly after 10 minutes of mixing. this is also the time were you add the candied oranges.
In case you are making this by hand the candied oranges need to be added with the method of folding. so make sure that you mix the dough, rest it and stretch and fold it few times to be able to a have a good gluten structure. Also keep in mind that you might need to lightly grease the container where you are keeping the colomba dough.
Now the dough should be nice and mixed, and you should definitely put it to sleep into the fridge for at least 8 hours. Once the 8 hours have gone, you can take out the dough and bring it to room temperature. Following a normal procedure you also need to divide it into 3 part. Two parts will weight around 750 gr each and 1 part should weight roughly 1 kg..
PIRLAGE OR PIRLATURA (CUTTING, PRESHAPING AND SHAPING)
This is my favorite part, once you divided the dough into 3 other doughs you divide every other single one into 2. keeping them separate, rool them into 6 balls. Let them rest for a while or until your fingers do not stick to the layer of skin on top.
It about the time to roll them and put them to sleep into the fantastic Colomba molds. (you can find them here) When you dry the skin for a bit it will help you from sticking to your hands and bench. put them down in a cross shape and during the proofing time they will fill up the molds.
Final Proofing time and expectation.
The dough ready to proof.
It is very simple to tackle this task perfectly, once you put your Colomba into the molds you just need to give time to the dough to fill up the container to the fullest and when it is slightly reached the edges at the top you can glaze it and bake it.
The glasage is the mixture of almond, egg whites,and sugar, that is going to coat the Colomba whilst baking. It is the crunchy flavorful crust that We want when we eat the Colomba.
Here we are going to prepare this Glasage by using some of the egg whites left over few days ago, some almond meal and some icing sugar.
80 gr almond meal
80 gr hazelnut whole
80 gr icing sugar
50 gr of egg whites or 2 egg whites
20 gr of corn flour
(I usually score my Colomba to help the dough rise while baking, but it is not paramount.)
Mix by blending in a robot coupe or food processor everything together and put on the side. With the aid of a spatula or a piping bag distribute it evenly around the surface of the dough. You can also add some unpeeled almonds on top and then dust it all with icing sugar.
Bake it at 150 C for roughly 45 – 55 minutes. If you want to be sure, that it is baked properly and you have a probe thermometer, the core of the Colomba needs to be 91-93C.
Thank you so much for trying and reading this recipe. Please let me know if you, would like me to share some more recipe, or if you need assistance.
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