I checked the dough at 8 and it looked like it was not moving, so much to my desire to eat it for breakfast. The recipe says that it takes more than 3 hours. Patience.....At 10 it was almost there, it was going to be ready for lunch at that point.
At 11:30 I decided to call it, the dough was almost at the rim and looked nicely proofed. After thirty minutes I had to turn down the oven temperature to 350, and later to 330 because the top was getting too dark and the center of the dough was still really wet. The top came out a little too dark for my taste, I would lower the temperature earlier next time.
We never ate it at lunch because we went to visit some friends who were celebrating Passover so yeast was out of the question. The bread tasted perfect at dinner time, rich, moist, super delicious with the orange peel and the crunchy topping. It was denser than the commercial dove, but the traditional taste was all there. I would keep this recipe, and make it again, it was well worth the effort.
Thanks to all the wonderful bakers who came up with the idea of baking this bread and gave me the much needed push to try it again. Do you feel all the energy and passion coming out of your computer? Go make a Colomba now.
These traditional holiday loaves are made in several easy steps over about 18 hours. We recommend doing steps one through four on the first day, since step four includes an eight- to ten-hour rising that, ideally, could be done overnight. Then finish the next day.
Yield: 2 loaves
Step 1 (Starter)
Step 6 (Glaze and baking)
For step 1 (Making starter):
For step 2:
For step 3:
For step 4:
For step 5:
For step 6 (Glaze and baking):
Bake breads until brown on top and slender wooden skewer inserted into center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool breads completely on rack. (Can be made ahead. Wrap; let stand at room temperature up to 2 days or freeze up to 1 week.