BBA Challenge #23: Pane Siciliano

“How cute” – this is what I thought when I saw the picture of the Pane Siciliano that would be the next bread  in the BBA Challenge. A nice S-shape, lots of sesame seeds (feed me breads with sesame seeds and I’ll be happy), nice-looking crumb. Then I started reading the recipe and the description and stumbled on the term “semolina flour”. What the heck is semolina flour?

It’s not that I don’t know what semolina is. I used to live on semolina pudding (which might be comparable to Cream of Wheat, so I was told). But those semolina particles are kind of coarse and I would never think of calling that flour.  OK, so then Peter Reinhart mentioned that it was possible to use pasta flour instead of semolina flour. That’s what I bought and I was surprised about the structure of the flour – it was totally different from regular bread flour: coarser, but not comparable to semolina at all. Anyway, to cut a long story short: I made the pâte fermentée, the next day I mixed it with bread flour (type 1050), pasta flour, salt, yeast, olive oil, honey and water, kneaded everything and let it rest for 2 hours. Then I divided it into 3 equal pieces, shaped them into loooooong baguettes, and coiled the dough pieces toward the center so they formed an S shape. I had a lot of fun doing that! I placed the S loaves on ONE sheet pan  (I could not have fit more than 1 pan in the refrigerator) and stuck the pan in the fridge for an overnight rise – I should have known better! When I took them out the next day the loaves had grown together and there was no way, absolutely NO way I could separate them, so I just stuck them in the oven and baked them as directed.

The result was a REALLY yummy, fluffy bread with a nice golden crust and a good crumb. The crumb didn’t have these big holes as shown in the book, but I ascribe this to the pasta flour that I used instead of the semolina flour.

I DEFINITELY will make this bread again, but next time I’ll use semolina flour. I’m such a blockhead – I’ve been owning a flour mill for 2 years now and didn’t even think of grinding semolina to get semolina flour! Duh! I also found a solution to the “in my refrigerator there is room for 1 pan only”-problem: Paul from the Yumarama Artisan Bread Blog placed all 3 loaves on 1 pan with extra parchment forming a wall between the loaves (see pictures below; I asked for his approval to use these pictures). This is a fantastic idea, I think!

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9 responses to “BBA Challenge #23: Pane Siciliano

  1. Thanks for the reminder to grind semolina. I found a store that carried rye berries and I ground that for my marbled rye bread. The wheat grinder is not just for wheat anymore! Great looking bread!

  2. You did an excellent job with the coiling. I think your bread looks gorgeous!

  3. Hurray – I’m excited that this yummy bread is coming up! And I’ll echo Frieda on the thanks for the idea to grind my own semolina flour . . . . For the fridge space problem, I’ve started stacking the cookie sheets, using my kids’ wooden blocks on the corners of the sheet pans to keep them separated. Your bread looks great!

  4. Your breads looked great! You are now ahead of me, hopefully I can shape mine as nicely.

  5. The bread looks great! One of the things I remember about this was that a lot of people were complaining that 8 hours in the fridge was getting them overproofed bread. I cut it down to six- had not much sleep- and the bread barely stuck to each other. Then I had to take some scissors and cut them apart.

  6. hello
    I have browsed through your blog and love alll these international recipes (breads from everywhere) I like hat idea !!
    I am pierre a french foodie with a food blog dedicated to french creative food ! come and visit me you are very welcome !!!!
    Cheers from Pierre in Paris

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