Pan Meino, what’s that?

They are small, sweet breads made with cornmeal flour and elderflowers (Sambucus nigra). Pan Meino is a traditional recipe of Lombardy region, in the north of Italy. It was a kind of sweet shortcrust pastry made with millet flour, which have been replaced with cornmeal flour around 1700. Originally no yeast was used, but in centuries recipes change to meet modern taste, so nobody knows exactly when it became a permanent ingredient of Pan Meino (locally called Pan de mej). These small breads were usually served with fresh cream and passito wine.

Elderflowers recipe
Elderflowers (Sambucus nigra), used in traditional recipes of northern Italy

Elderflowers and Sourdough starter

Time to bloom for Elder tree (Sambucus nigra) here in the mountains! I have picked fresh elderflowers, I have a lot of cornmeal and I should feed my sourdough starter: I will try to make Pan Meino with discarded Sourdough, instead of Baking powder. It seems I’m the first to try, since I found no results from searching the web. I love the experimental way! I changed the original recipe, according to the presence of flour in sourdough an that’s the result: a perfect breakfast cake!

Pan Meino – Sourdough Cornmeal and Elderflower Bread
Pan Meino – Sourdough Cornmeal and Elderflower Bread

Here’s the Pan Meino sourdough recipe

Ingredients:

  • Elderflowers (Sambucus nigra)
  • 150 gr Sourdough starter (50% Hydration)
  • 50 gr Wheat Flour
  • 150 gr Corn Flour (ground to a much finer texture)
  • 150 gr Cornmeal (the one you use for “polenta”)
  • 125 gr Butter
  • 150 gr Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of Baking Soda
  • 1 Pinch of Salt
  • Icing sugar (to dust)
Pan Meino ingredients: Elderflowers, 3 flours (Cornbread, Corn Flour, Wheat flour), Sourdough starter, Butter and sugar
Pan Meino ingredients: Elderflowers, 3 flours (Cornbread, Corn Flour, Wheat flour), Sourdough starter, Butter and sugar

Directions:

Remove the tiny flowers from the stem. I used 3 handful of flowers (approx. from 10 umbels). In the meantime soften butter to room temperature.

Sieve the flours on to a clean work surface, add all the other ingredients and, using your hands, gently work the mixture until you have a ball of dough. Place it in a bowl, cover with a plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel, and let it raise for some hours. I made it in the evening, letting it rest overnight at room temperature (it’s cold here, so the eggs did not “suffer”. Otherwise you can put it in the refrigerator).

Gently work the mixture until you have a ball of dough
Gently work the mixture until you have a ball of dough

This dough usually doesn’t raise much, because of the corn meal. Don’t worry, that’s normal even with baking powder.

Divide the dough into round mini loaves, gently pressed, about 8 cm of diameter. Dust them with icing sugar (I forgot to do it!) and place them on a baking tray, leaving a gap between them.

Bake in a preheated oven at 356°F (180°C) for about 30 minutes.

Pan Meino – Sourdough Cornmeal and Elderflower Bread

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