“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!