Pane siciliano

The Pane siciliano Recipe This rustic semolina bread from Sicily toasts particularly well and makes deliciously crunchy bruschetta.

Fermenting time:
12 hrs or overnight

Rising and proofing time:
2 1⁄2 hrs

For the starter
¼ tsp dried yeast
1⁄2 cup fine semolina, or semolina flour
vegetable oil, for greasing

For the dough:
1 tsp dried yeast
2 cups fine semolina, or semolina flour,
plus extra for dusting
1 tsp fine salt
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 egg, beaten, for glazing

1 To make the starter, dissolve the yeast in 1⁄2 cup warm water. Add the liquid to the semolina and bring everything together to form a rough, loose dough. Place the dough in a large bowl, with plenty of room for it to expand, cover with plastic wrap, and put in a cool place to rise for at least 12 hours, or overnight.

2 To make the dough, dissolve the yeast in 3⁄4 cup warm water. Put the risen starter, flour, and salt into a large bowl, or the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the liquid.

3 Stir the ingredients. When it seems a little stiff use your hands to bring the dough together, or mix on a low speed. Knead by hand for up to 10 minutes, or 5–7 minutes in an electric mixer on medium speed, until smooth, glossy, and elastic.

4 Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and leave to rise in a warm place for up to 1½ hours, until doubled in size.

5 Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gently knock it back. Knead it briefly and shape it into the desired shape; traditionally a tight boule shape. Place on a large baking sheet, cover loosely with oiled plastic wrap and a clean kitchen towel, and leave it to rise in a warm place until well risen and almost doubled in size. This could take another hour. The bread is ready to bake when it is tight and well risen, and a finger gently poked into the dough leaves a dent that springs back quickly.

6 Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Brush the top of the bread with beaten egg, and scatter with the sesame seeds. Bake in the center of the preheated oven for 25–30 minutes until well risen and golden brown. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.

The bread can be stored, loosely wrapped in paper, for 2 days.

This bread can be made using either fine semolina or semolina flour. Semolina is made from durum wheat and therefore is not wheat free, but gives a deliciously rustic texture to the bread, similar to that of polenta or cornmeal. It is especially good on the side with an oil-rich tomato salad.

Pane siciliano Recipe 
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