Pane Siciliano Semolina

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The third bread I attempted from the FCI book was “Pane Siciliano Semolina.”  This Italian bread is made from a blend of durum and semolina flours.  The FCI version incorporates toasted sesame seeds.  Visually impressive, Pane Siciliano is fashioned into an S-shape prior to baking. Due to the semolina content, this bread bakes up a beautiful golden color and the smell and taste are irresistible.

This bread requires a biga, or starter, which is made the night before (or >12 hours in advance).

Making this bread is really rather straightforward.  The dough is relatively easy to work with – and there were really no “gotchas” involved in its preparation.

After the initial mixing, here is what the dough looked like:

The real fun in making Pane Siciliano is the shaping.  The dough is first shaped into a baguette.

Following this, the dough is shaped into a simple “S”.

The dough is then placed on a couche for its final proof.

After proofing, the dough loses some of its shape and gets puffy.

The toughest part of baking the Pane Siciliano is getting it into the oven and onto the stone without making a total mess, burning yourself, or letting all the heat and steam escape the oven.  I was able to do it using a baker’s peel.  The result?

See for yourself:

The crumb:

Frequently touted as a sandwich bread, I was rather happy to just eat this as part of an Italian dinner – spaghetti and meatballs and a glass of wine.

Lessons Learned:

  • The durum flour contributes to the cracked crust.  The FCI images show a substantially darker crust – this is a common theme with all the breads I bake.
  • I baked 4 at a time – perhaps I will try baking only two at a time.
  • Bake these more often!  Not only do they look impressive — they taste amazing!
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