Thursday, December 2, 2010

OK - This One Is Pane Siciliano

It had to happen. With everything going on I was preparing two posts for this blog at once. And wouldn't you know it, I mixed up the names!! The last post, now corrected to its proper name is for a sourdough whole wheat bread. This one is Pane Siciliano (literally Sicilian Bread) is also a sourdough made with fermented dough. However, the last post featured a soaker and a poolish allowed to ferment overnight in the refrigerator. This bread uses a technique I've used before called pate fermentee (literally fermented dough in French). The idea is the same, a 'dough' is mixed, allowed to ferment at room temperature for a few hours, then placed in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, the dough is revived, mixed with the remaining ingredients, then allowed to rise and is baked. The idea is to slow down the rising process of the yeast so that the natural complex flavors of the wheat flour can be maximized. Yum!!

This bread is usually baked as a loaf. I have chosen to make it as rolls, both because they bake faster and also because they are more easily stored (and eaten!). They have been liberally coated with sesame seeds in the Italian tradition. The result is a chewy, very stable roll, perfect for sandwiches and snacks. Whether you make it as a loaf or as rolls, you'll love this bread.

Here's What You'll Need for 3 loaves:

for the pate fermentee
1 1/8 cups AP flour
1 1/8 cups bread flour
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. instant yeast
about 3/4 cup water, at room temperature

for the dough
3 cups pate fermentee
1 3/4 cups bread flour
1 3/4 cups semolina flour
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/4 tsp. instant yeast
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 Tbs. honey
about 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water

Here's What You'll Need to Do:
1. About an hour before starting the bread assembly process, remove the pate fermentee from the refrigerator to bring it to room temperature. Cut it into about 10 or 12 pieces and place it in the mixing bowl, covered so it doesn't dry out.

2. Stir together the bread flour, the semolina, salt and yeast, add the pieces of pate fermentee, along with the oil, honey 1 1/4 cups of water.
3. Mix thoroughly with a mixer until the dough forms a smooth dough adding a little flour or water as needed.
4. Knead for about 10 minutes, then place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, turn to coat.
5. Leave the dough, covered, to rise until doubled for about 2 hours.
6. Divide the dough into 3 pieces (for loaves) or about 100g. (4oz.) for rolls. While working with one piece keep the others covered. Roll out each piece into a 'snake', then rolling from each end bring the ends to the center to form an 'S'.

7. Place the 'S' shapes on a prepared baking sheet covered and let the dough rise until doubled, about another hour.

8. Place an empty pan on the bottom of the oven and preheat the oven to 500F (250C) about 20 minutes before baking time.
9. Just before placing the dough in the oven, lightly coat it with egg white then sprinkle sesame seeds liberally all over.
10. Pour about 1 cup of boiling water into the pan in the oven, spray the walls with water and close the door quickly. After a few seconds, place the dough in the oven, lower the temperature to 425F (220C) and bake for 18 minutes or so (for rolls) or about 30 minutes for loaves.
11. Cool on a rack thoroughly before slicing.

This is so good, you've gotta love it!


  1. These are so pretty looking! I can't wait to try them!

  2. They are also VERY tasty. A little chewy which makes them perfect for cold cut sandwiches etc. and with the addition of a sourdough-ness.Enjoy!

  3. ?לא הבנתי,זה לחם מהמאפייה או לחם מאפיה

    bakery or mafia?

  4. מצחיק מאוד! אבל בסיציליה אוכלים לחם טוב במיוחד אחרי יום עבודה מפרך

  5. Hi, there!
    Your bread looks delicious! I was wondering if you could help me in my quest, though...
    I was at the grocery store yesterday, and they had something called Scali bread. Is this the same thing? Or something similar?

  6. It is very similar. I am assuming that the supermarket variety has a softer crust, texture etc. I have posted my recipe for scali bread on this blog. You can find it at:

    BTW thanks for the kind words about the blog. You can use the new index of recipes if you like. I now have more than 75 different kinds of breads!