Sage, Honey & Pecorino Heart Bread

In January, I stated that one of my “I Dare cooking challenges for 2007” was to make bread. So when “Waiter, There’s Something in My….” challenge for April is Bread, I knew it was meant to be!

I started flipping through April’s (Italian) issue of Sale e Pepe, and I stumbled on this recipe, “Pane con miele, salvia e pecorino” – Bread with honey, sage and pecorino cheese. A golden brown with flecks of green sage, it looked delicious and complex, and I was craving a bit of complexity in my bread – I love the Acme bread back in SF.

Then I realized I had a big problem.

I’ve gotten much better at working with grams in recipes, but until now I’ve scraped by without a scale. Until I had to measure relatively small amounts of liquid like oil and honey. Argh! So I redoubled my promise to myself to buy a scale at the next opportunity and did a few frantic searches on the internet before I decided to eyeball a few measurements.

(Translated and adapted from the Sale e Pepe April 07 magazine)
Pane con miele, salvia e pecorino (Bread with honey, sage and pecorino cheese)
500g flour
15g (brewer’s) yeast (lievito di birra)
1t. sugar
100g grated pecorino (I used more than the recipe)
30g acacia honey (1 really big tablespoon)
7-8 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
extra virgin olive oil (I used about 2T.)
salt (a heavy pinch)


  1. The yeast I used didn’t need to be prepared beforehand and was mixed in directly with the flour, 25g (2T.) olive oil, the sugar and 250ml of water. Add the pinch of salt (5g) and continue kneading for about ten minutes. This dough was a lot of fun to mix – the yeast kept it light and it was very responsive!
  2. Form it into a ball, make a cross-like incision on it, cover it and leave it in a warm place for an hour. Then, deflate the dough and mix in the grated pecorino (I grated mine into very thin ribbons – courtesy of my microplane ribbon grater), the finely chopped sage and the honey.
  3. It got a little slippery here with the honey, but when it’s mixed thoroughly, divide the dough into two halves and form two long cylinders with your hands – be careful here as they can start sticking to each other before it’s necessary! The recipe wants you to intertwine them in the form of a circle, but I chose instead to do a heart shape.
  4. Transfer the bread to its baking pan, lined with parchment paper and leave it rise for another 30 minutes. Cook in the oven at 200C for around 35 minutes. (Note on this: it started to get pretty dark for me around 30 minutes and I took it out – so keep an eye on it!)

Ready for the Oven

The recipe in the magazine calls for a side garnish with fava beans, puntarelle (a type of chicory) and more pecorino, but when I started cleaning the fava beans, I realized the bread was perfect how it was but maybe it needed a little more pecorino. I decided to whip up a little spread for it. Plus, when I was cleaning the beans, I started feeling bad for them. What a comfortable little bed they have inside their pod!

Fava Beans in a Pod

Pecorino garnish
60g pecorino
A few tablespoons honey

In a food processor, blend the pecorino and honey, adding a little milk to make it bit more spreadable. This will not smooth in consistency. Apply a thin layer to fresh, hot bread!

Pecorino Spread and Fava Garnish

This bread didn’t last very long in the house – it was gone in a few hours! It was very good and I think next time I might even grate the cheese a bit coarser as a few of the little chunks got mixed in and were a nice surprise when you found them. I’m glad that I Dared this time around. Ilva, where are you on your promises??

Fresh hot sage, honey & pecorino bread

And since I promised that I would try to post a bit more in Italian, and I’m trying to partake in the Sale e Pepe club, here’s some commentary in Italian!

In Italiano….
Ho detto a gennaio che uno dei miei obiettivi per l’anno era di fare il pane, e anche che volevo cominciare a scrivere piu’ in italiano, quindi il mese di aprile mi ha consentito di fare tutte e due!

Sfogliando il numero di Aprile di Sale e Pepe, ho visto la ricetta “Pane con miele, salvia e pecorino” – un pane dorato con pezzettini di salvia, mi sembrava interesante e complesso, e non molto tradizionale. A me piacciono il pane anche con il pepe intero, spezie e altre cose mescolate dentro, quindi in quel momento ho capito che dovevo fare questo pane.

Poi per la prima volta partecipo nel club Sale e Pepe per aprile con questa ricetta!

Alla fine ho deciso di non fare l’ornamento di fave e puntarelle – invece ho preparato una spalma di pecorino (80-100g), alcuni cucchai di miele e un po’ di latte (per aiutare la consistenza). Mettite il formaggio e il miele in una frullatore, aggiugendo poco latte ogni tanto per renderlo piu’ cremoso – la consistenza in realta’ non sara’ completamente cremoso. Spalmalo subito su pane ancora caldo.

Avevo alcuni problemi senza una bilancia per misurare pero’ ho promesso a me stessa di prenderlo subito, ed alla fine questo pane era ottimo e lo farei di nuovo – magari grattugiando il pecorino in pezzi piu’ grandi perche’ ogni tanto trovavo una piccola massa di formaggio ed era buonissima!

Ricetta per Pane con miele, salvia e pecorino nella revista di Sale e Pepe Aprile 2007, pagina 36.

Lovely Remains

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  1. says

    Beautiful looking bread! I’m not surprised it disappeared so quickly. Since it is still early enough, I think I’ll go ahead and make some today. Merci for the recipe!

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