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Pane Siciliano - Original Recipe and Method

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TasunkaWitko View Drop Down
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    Posted: 09 December 2011 at 00:34
To my knowledge, this is the original recipe for pane Siciliano, which has been floating around the internet for quite some time. I slightly modified the recipe for my circumstances during my attempt at this wonderful Italian artisan bread. This version is more advanced in technique than mine, but results seem great either way.
Pane Siciliano
Yield: 3 loaves
3 cups(16 oz) pate fermentee (below)
1 3/4 cups(8 oz) unbleached bread flour
1 3/4 cups(8 oz) semolina flour
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 1/4 cups(10 oz) water, lukewarm (90 to 100f); see directions
Sesame seeds
1. Remove the pate fermentee from the refrigerator 1 hour before making the dough to take off the chill. Cut it into about 10 small pieces with a pastry scraper or serrated knife. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and let it sit for 1 hour to take off the chill.
2. Stir together the bread flour, semolina flour, salt, and yeast in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the pate fermentee pieces, the oil, honey and 1 1/4 cups of the water. Mix on low speed with the paddle attachment until the dough forms a ball and begins to come away from the sides of the bowl. If the dough seems too stiff, dribble in water 1 teaspoon at a time until all the flour is gathered and the dough feels soft and pliable. If the dough seems sticky don't worry; you can adjust the flour while kneading or mixing.
3. Mix on low speed with the dough hook, adding flour as needed to make a smooth dough that is tacky but not sticky and has the same pliability and suppleness as French bread dough. Mix about 6 to 8 minutes by machine. The dough should pass the windowpane test and register 77 to 81°F . Form the dough into a ball, lightly oil a large bowl, and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it to coat it with the oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Ferment at room temperature for about 2 hours, or until the dough doubles in size.
4. Gently divide the dough into 3 equal pieces. Shape as for baguettes, extending each piece to about 24 inches in length and taking care to degas the dough as little as possible. Then, working from each end simultaneously, coil the dough towards the center, forming an S shape. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and sprinkle some semolina flour on the paper. Place each loaf on the pan. Mist the loaves with water and sprinkle sesame seeds on the top of each loaf. Then mist the tops with vegetable oil spray and place the pan in a food grade plastic bag or loosely cover with plastic wrap. Place the pan in the refrigerator overnight.
5. The next day, remove the pan from the refrigerator and determine whether the loaves have risen enough to bake or if they need additional proofing time. Gently poke the dough. If it springs back quickly, leave the pans out, still covered, for a couple of hours, or until it wakes up and rises more. The dough should stay dimpled when poked, and the loaves should be nearly twice as large as when first shaped.
6. Prepare the oven for hearth baking, making sure to put an empty steam pan in place. You do not need a baking stone. Preheat the oven to 500°F with the oven rack on the middle shelf.
7. Uncover the dough and place the pan in the oven. Pour 1 cup of hot water into the steam pan and close the door. After 30 seconds, spray the oven walls with water and close the door. Repeat twice more at 30 second intervals. After the final spray, lower the oven temperature to 450°F and bake for about 15 minutes. If the loaves are touching, gently separate them. Rotate the pan 180 degrees for even baking and continue baking for 10 to 15 minutes more, or until the loaves are a rich golden brown all over. If there are still light or white sections of the dough, extend the baking time for a few extra minutes to maximize color and flavor. The internal temperature of the bread should register 200 to 205°F
8. Remove the pan from the oven and transfer the loaves to a cooling rack. Cool for at least 45 minutes before serving. One way to slice this bread is to cut it lengthwise down the middle. Lay the cut side on the cutting board to stabilize the loaf, and then slice onto 3/4 inch thick slices across the width, either straight down or on a slight diagonal.
This dough can also be used for pizza, rolls of any shape, or for bread sticks.
For the Pate Fermentee (Pre-ferment):
1 1/8 cup (5 oz) unbleached a/p flour
1 1/8 cup (5 oz) unbleached bread flour
3/4 teaspoon (.19 oz) salt
1/2 teaspoon (.55 oz) instant yeast
3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons (6 to 7 oz) water; at room temperature
You can use this on the same day you make it, if you ferment it at room temperature for 2 hours instead of refrigerating it. The overnight treatment however, seems to bring out even more flavor. If you only have bread flour or only a/p flour, you may use them for this pre-ferment, but the blend seems to bring about the best results.
Stir together the flours, salt, and yeast in a 4-quart bowl (or in the bowl of an electric mixer). Add 3/4 cup of the water, stirring until everything comes together and makes a coarse ball (or mix on low speed for 1 minute with the paddle attachment). Adjust the flour or water, according to need, so that the dough is neither too sticky nor too stiff. (It is better to err on the sticky side, as you can adjust easier during kneading. It is harder to add water once the dough firms up.)
Sprinkle some flour on the counter and transfer the dough to the counter.Knead for 4 to 6 minutes (or mix on medium speed with the dough hook for 4 minutes), or until the dough is soft and pliable, tacky but not sticky. The internal temperature should be 77°F to 81°F.
Lightly oil a bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and ferment at room temperature for 1 hour, or until it swells to about 1 ½ times its original size.
Remove the dough from the bowl, knead it lightly to degas, and return it to the bowl, covering the bowl with plastic wrap. Place the bowl in the refrigerator overnight. You can keep this in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or freeze it in an airtight plastic container for up to 3 months.
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