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Pane Siciliano

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TasunkaWitko View Drop Down
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    Posted: 17 February 2010 at 17:27

Pane Siciliano

 

NOTE - I made this back in the days when I didn't really know I was supposed to take pix documenting the preparation of my food (shocking, i know!) - consequently, I had to "borrow" a few pictures to show some concepts...

 
 
This Italian bread looks and smells GREAT! It uses a pre-ferment" in order to allow the bread dough to ripen and obtain a depth of flavour, texture and aroma that is really a hit out of the park. The 3-day process that allows the flavours to bloom and develop may sound time-consuming, but in reality it's an easy way to be a winner in the kitchen!
 
This recipe is adapted from a version in Peter Reinhart's book, The Bread Baker's Apprentice, and is very well-suited to help beginning breadmakers turn out a wonderful artisan bread. For the original, more advanced method, click here.
 
Day 1 - Make the pre-ferment:

1&1/8 cup (5 oz) unbleached all-purpose flour
1&1/8 cup (5 Oz) unbleached bread flour
3/4 teaspoon salt ( I use sea or kosher salt)
2 pkgs yeast (NOT the instant-rise kind - use regular yeast)
3/4 cup (+/- 2 tablespoons) water, room temperature

Mix all of the dry ingredients, then added the water, mixing until all flour is incorporated (about 1 minute). Allow the mixture to autolyse (rest) for 20 minutes.

Knead the dough for 4 to 6 minutes and place in a greased bowl. Set in a arm, draft-free place (such as a turned-off oven with the interior light on) until 1 & 1/2 times original size, about 1 hour.

After this first rise, gently knead the dough to de-gas slightly, then shape into a ball and place in a lightly-oiled bowl overnight in the refrigerator to develop.

Day 2 - Make the bread dough:
 
Remove the pre-ferment from the refrigerator and cut the dough ball into 10-12 equal-sized pieces. Allow the dough to sit on the counter, covered, and come up to room temperature.

When the pre-ferment is at room temperature, prepare the secondary dough:
 
Secondary Dough

2&1/4 C (10 oz) bread flour
1&1/4 C (6 oz) semolina flour
1&1/4 tsp (.31 oz) salt
2 pkgs regular yeast
2 tsp (1 oz) olive oil
1 Tbsp (.75 oz) honey
1&1/4 - 1&1/2 (10 - 12 oz) water, room temperature

Mix the dry ingredients thoroughly, then add the water and honey. Start by using 1 cup of water and then drizzle in enough to mix all together well and form a ball. Allow the dough to rest for 20 minutes in order to autolyse before working in the oil. Work in the cut-up pieces of pre-ferment.
 
Knead vigorously until a nice, elastic dough is achieved; it should be just slightly tacky, but not sticky. Set in a greased bowl at room temp until doubled in size. Cover with plastic wrap and put the dough back in refrigerator overnight so that the flavours can bloom.

Day 3 - Bake the bread:
 
Remove the dough from the refrigerator, cut the dough into 6 equal-sized pieces and and let the dough come up to room temperature; approximately two hours. Then combine 2 pieces of the dough per loaf (total of 3 loaves) and, on a floured surface, form them into loaves of your desired shape, or put them into loaf pans to rise. Traditionally, the loaves are formed into a spiral S-shape. If you use metal loaf pans, give them a generous spray of Pam before you put them in. If desired, toppings such as sesame seeds, poppy seeds etc. may be sprinkled on at this time. Cover the loaves with a cotton cloth and put them in a warm place to rise.

Once the loaves have doubled in size, preheat your oven to 450 degrees Farenheit. Once the oven has reached temperature, place the bread in the oven, either on a baking stone or in a Dutch oven. Bake until golden brown on top and ready, approximately 45 minutes to an hour; if using a Dutch oven, cover with the heavy lid for the first 30 minutes of baking.
 
I prepared this pretty much as described above, baking the loaves on a stone at 450 degrees until they looked done and made a hollow thump when tapped on the bottom. I simply made two loaves, each from half the dough, instead of three loaves, each from a third of the dough. Traditionally, the loaves are formed into gli occhi di Santa Lucia (the eyes of Saint Lucia):
 
 
 
 
 
 
However, this concept was a little beyond my skill level...for now. 
 
As you can see, the loaves often have a topping such as sesame seeds, poppy seeds, etc .; in my case, my own preference was to leave the bread unadorned, except for a slight "painting" of the loaves with butter, followed by a dusting of kosher salt, as they came out of the oven.
 
Results were wonderful, both in aroma and in taste - this bread takes a little time and attention, but it is very much worth it!
 
A note on the semolina flour: I am not sure how strictly necessary it is to use semolina flour (which may be difficult to find in some areas) for the success of this recipe, although it did provide an interesting flavour and texture. My strong guess is that one could just as easily make the dough entirely from flour, possibly using a 60/40 ratio of bread flour to all-purpose flour.
 
Here are a couple of pictures; the first shows the pane Siciliano alongside the ingredients for Poulet a Quarante Gousses D'Ail:
 


And here we are with the pane Siciliano sliced, toasted and ready to be served with Poulet a Quarante Gousses D'Ail:

 
Thanks for looking, and I do hope that you give this a try. If you have any questions, just ask!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 December 2011 at 21:16
December 13 is the Feast of Santa Lucia of Siracusa. In honour of her feast day, The next time I make this, I will try to coincide with the day ~ and I will see if I can prepare pane Siciliano as-intended, in the form of gli occhi di Santa Lucia.... Since I am Lutheran, it looks like i won't be violating any protocols ~ Wink
 
According to Wikipedia:
 
Quote Saint Lucia (Lucy), was a wealthy young Christian martyr who is venerated as a saint by Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, and Orthodox Christians. Her feast day in the West is 13 December; with a name derived from lux, lucis "light", she is the patron saint of those who are blind. Saint Lucy is one of the very few saints celebrated by members of the Lutheran Church among the Scandinavian peoples, who take part in Saint Lucy's Day celebrations that retain many elements of Germanic paganism. Saint Lucy is one of seven women, aside from the Blessed Virgin Mary, commemorated by name in the Canon of the Mass....
 
 
[Lucia] was a Christian [who] consecrated her virginity to God, refused to marry a pagan, and had her dowry distributed to the poor. Her would-be husband denounced her as a Christian to the governor of Syracuse, Sicily. Miraculously unable to move her or burn her, the guards took out her eyes with a fork. In another version, Lucy's would-be husband admired her eyes, so she tore them out and gave them to him, saying, "Now let me live to God."
 
The oldest record of her story comes from the fifth-century accounts of saints' lives. In medieval accounts, Saint Lucy's eyes are gouged out prior to her execution. In art, her eyes sometimes appear on a tray that she is holding.
 
 
 
A more-detailed account of her legend can be found in the Patron Saints' Index.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 February 2012 at 09:34
Ron,
 
Fabulous post --- okay, I know what Sicilian bread is now --- of course, it is not called that in Palermo !  I shall advise real name --- have to read the names in Italian ... then, I shall know...
It is delicious I am sure ... Margi.
 
*** so many hours in a day -- for bread baking !!!  ha ha
Volamos a Mediterraneo, un paraiso que conquista su gente u su cocina.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 December 2012 at 18:39
So, Ron, did you ever make this in honor of Saint Lucia's Day?
 
Shaping the bread really isn't difficult, it's just unusual is all. Basically, you roll the dough into a long cylinder, then twist it equally from both directions.
 
I'd be interested in how it comes out using regular wheat flours. One of the hallmarks of pane siciliano is the use of semolina flour. This adds both color and flavor to the finished bread.
 
Interestingly, like you, I only divide the dough in half, when making full-sized loaves, instead of the recommended thirds. Great minds think alike, I reckon.
 
You can also go in the other direction, and make rolls from the dough. It's a little more work, rolling and shaping the dough. But you'll really impress any dinner guests you might serve them to.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 December 2012 at 08:08
Hi, Brook -
 
Unfortunately, I haven't yet made this bread again (since the original time pictured above), but it is a goal for this year - using the preferment and also in shaping the loaves in the Saint Lucia tradition.
 
I do have a small supply of semolina, but it's old, and I'm not sure if it's still any good. It doesn't seem discoloured or anything like that, and I might try it or, if I am able to, simply get a new bag.
 
We'll see how things go!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 December 2012 at 09:43
Let me know, when you're ready to try it again, whether you've found a local source of the semolina. If not, I'll ship you out a bag.
 
It's also readily available on-line from places like Bob's Red Mill; Weisenberger Mill; and, I believe, Anson Mills. Probably other sources as well.
 
One thing to keep in mind, with your less used flours, is that they can be stored in the freezer until needed. That way they last two days longer than forever, with no degradation.
 
This applies to all flours. As you know, I buy my AP and Bread flours in 25 lb bags directly from the mill. When I get them home I break them down into more-or-less eight pound portions, and they go in the freezer. Other flours, which I get in quantities from 2-5 lbs, go directly in the freezer until needed.
 
It's important that when you remove them from the freezer to let the flour come to room temperature before opening it. If not, condensation can form on the flour; and that can degrade it.
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