MONTREAL--Tired of mass-produced bread? Mutsumi Takahashi speaks with Nick Malgieri about his new cook, which aims at rendering the art of bread making easy.

Here's a recipe adapted from Nick Malgieri's Bread (Kyle Books, 2012):


Gubana, a traditional fruit and nut filled cake from Friuli in Northern Italy, is related to strudel, babka, and a host of other Slavic, Czech, and other Eastern European pastries with names like presnitz, putitza, and povetitza. What distinguishes all of them is the construction. Each is made by rolling up a filling in a dough that is then coiled in a pan so that when the finished cake is cut, you see an attractive spiral pattern of filling in each slice. I once went on a Gubana pilgrimage and ended the day with a visit to Cividale del Friuli, an old Roman town in the Natisone Valleys, the epicenter of gubana’s homeland. A visit to Gubana Vogrig and a talk with Lucio Vogrig, the bakery’s owner, gave me all the information I needed to attempt a version of gubana, later published in my Italian dessert book in 1990. Just a couple of years ago, a client who has an Italian bakery asked me to show his staff some recipes, and gubana was among them. I hadn’t made one in years, and when I did a few weeks before traveling to the bakery, I wasn’t satisfied with the texture of the dough. I made a few adjustments, but it didn’t seem to be improving noticeably until I decided to use a variation of brioche dough—the result was excellent.

Makes one 9-inch cake, about 12 generous servings.


  • 1/2 cup/112 grams whole milk, scalded and cooled to lukewarm, about 100˚F
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons/7 grams fine granulated active dry or instant yeast
  • 3/4 cup/100 grams unbleached bread flour (spoon into a dry-measure cup and level off)


  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 2 large egg yolks at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup/110 grams sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Grated zest of 1 large lemon
  • All the sponge, above
  • 2 1/4 cups/300 grams unbleached bread flour (spoon into a dry-measure cup and level off)
  • 1/2 teaspoon/3 grams fine sea salt
  • 8 tablespoons/115 grams unsalted butter, softened


  • 1 1/2 cups/150 grams golden raisins
  • 3/4 cup/75 grams candied orange peel, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 4 tablespoons/60 grams dark rum
  • 1/2 cup/100 grams dark brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons/60 grams unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup/60 grams dry breadcrumbs (page 000)
  • 2 cups walnut pieces, lightly toasted and finely chopped but not ground
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • One 9-inch round, 3-inch deep cake or springform pan, buttered and lined with a disk of parchment paper
  1. For the sponge, whisk the cooled milk and yeast together in a small bowl. Wait 30 seconds and whisk again. Use a small rubber spatula to stir in the flour. Cover the bowl with oiled or sprayed plastic wrap and let the sponge ferment until it more than doubles, about 1 hour.
  2. For the dough, whisk the eggs, yolks, sugar, vanilla, and lemon zest by hand in the bowl of an electric mixer. Use a rubber spatula to stir in the sponge.
  3. Place the bowl on a mixer fitted with dough hook and add the flour and salt. Mix until smooth on lowest speed. Let rest for 15 minutes.
  4. Mix on low-medium speed until the dough comes away from the side of the bowl, then beat in the butter a little at a time. Cover the bowl and let the dough rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
  5. Flour a cookie sheet and place the dough on it. Flour the dough and press it out flat to about 8 x 12 inches. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  6. For the filling, place the raisins in a small pan, add water to cover, then bring to a boil. Drain the raisins and place in a large bowl with the orange peel and add the rum. Scatter the brown sugar over the fruit.
  7. In a medium sauté pan, melt the butter and cook the breadcrumbs in it over low heat until they are golden, then add to the filling. Add the nuts and egg and fold the filling together until it is evenly sticky. Let cool.
  8. Invert the dough to a floured work surface and roll it to a rectangle about 12 x 18 inches; spread the filling evenly over the dough, leaving a 1-inch margin so the filling doesn’t leak out when you move the gubana to the pan. Beginning from a wide end, roll up the dough and filling.
  9. Form the dough into a loose spiral and drop into the pan, leaving room between the curves for the dough to grow while it’s rising. Loosely cover the pan with plastic wrap and let the gubana proof until there are no longer any gaps in the dough, about 1 hour, but possibly longer.
  10. About 30 minutes into the proofing, set a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 325˚F.
  11. Bake the Gubana until well risen and deep golden, with an internal temperature of 200˚F, 65 to 75 minutes.
  12. Place the pan on a rack and cover the gubana with foil and a slightly damp towel so that it cools slowly and the filling doesn’t shrink away from the dough. Unmold when cooled. Wrap and serve the day after it’s baked.