474. pane Siciliano (Sicilian sesame seeded semolina bread)

January 26, 2015mayurisjikoni
Blog post

bread with semolina?

Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen’s challenge for the We Knead to Bake group was a semolina bread. I was surprised as how would it really hold together. Then as I read the recipe further down realized that I needed to add wheat gluten. Thank God I had brought that back from India with me. Most breads baked in India require you to add the gluten as the plain flour available there is not as glutenous as the flours available in the western countries or here in Kenya. My daughter was not using it so brought it back here with me.
When I was getting the ingredients ready, I still had that little doubt in my mind about using only semolina. I decided to add wheat flour and was really glad with the outcome. Pane Siciliano is usually baked on 13th December to celebrate the bravery of Santa Lucia. It is said that Santa Lucia or Lucy came from a wealthy family and she carried food for the persecuted Christians hiding in the dark underground tunnels. She would wear a wreath of candles on her head to light her way. Another tale claims that she was blinded for following her faith.She is known for feeding people during famine.Santa Lucia is the patron Saint of Syracuse. It is believed that she arrives with a donkey and her helper Castaldo bearing gifts for children. Children are asked to leave some hot milk for Santa Lucia, hay for the donkey and wine for Castaldo. Bread traditionally made on this day is either an S shaped loaf (occhi di Santa Lucia) or the snake shaped (mafalda) loaf. I made the occhi di Santa Lucia (eyes of Santa Lucia), representing the eyes of Santa Lucia.
The bread is made from rimacinato or ground again semolina or durum wheat. I was lucky that a few months back when I bought semolina, by mistake I got the really fine one. I put it away in the fridge thinking that I will use it up to make pani puris. Was I glad when I could use it for this delicious bread. The semolina made the baked bread appear very light yellow in colour with a lovely crusty golden top.


Makes about 8
recipe source : My Diverse Kitchen

For the crescuita (biga/poolish/preferment) :
¼ cup lukewarm water
¼ cup all purpose flour (plain flour)
¼ tsp instant active dry yeast

For the dough :
2 cups fine semolina flour
½ cup wholewheat flour
1 cup lukewarm water
½ tsp instant active dry yeast
2 tsp honey
½ tsp vital wheat gluten
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
all of the prepared crescuita

For the topping :
water for brushing
2-3 tbsp sesame seeds

Preparation of the crescuita :

  1. Put flour and yeast in a bowl. Mix it up.
  2. Add the water and mix with a spoon.
  3. Cover the bowl and leave it overnight or for 4-8 hours.
Preparation of the dough :
  1. Sift the flour,salt, wheat gluten and semolina together in a big bowl.
  2. Add the honey to the water and mix well.
  3. Mix in the crescuita.
  4. Add the yeast and mix into the flour.
  5. Rub the olive oil into the flour mixture.
  6. Add the warm water mixture to the flour mixture.
  7. Mix and form into a dough.
  8. Lightly flour the work top or board and knead the flour for 10 minutes till it is soft and silky. The dough will be slightly sticky and NOT too sticky.
  9. Place the dough in a well oiled bowl.
  10. Cover the bowl with a cling film and leave it in a warm place for nearly 1½ – 2 hours till the dough rises and becomes double the size.
  11. Knead the dough gently again with oiled hands for a few seconds.
  12. Divide it into 8 parts.
  13. Let the dough rest for 5 – 10 minutes.
  14. Take one part of the dough and on a lightly floured board or top, roll it into a 12″ rope.
  15. Make a swirl staring from both ends but in opposite directions till you get a S shape.
  16. Place the shaped bread on a greased tray.
  17. Repeat steps 13 – 15 with the remaining dough.
  18. Brush the bread with water.
  19. Sprinkle liberally with sesame seeds.
  20. Cover the tray and let the dough rise again for 1-1½ hours.
  21. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  22. Place the tray in the oven and bake the bread for 20-30 minutes or till the tops are golden brown and the bread is done.
  23. Remove the bread from the oven, and let it cool on a wire rack before serving.
  • If you are not using instant yeast then sprinkle it in the warm water with honey and leave it for 10 minutes till the mixture is frothy.
  • I stuck toothpicks in the centre of each swirl so that the cling film does not touch the bread.
  • If you don’t have wheat gluten, you can still make the bread without it.
  • Use plain flour instead of wheat flour if you like.
  • If you don’t find fine semolina flour, just grind the normal semolina (sooji) in a coffee grinder.
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  • Shobha

    January 27, 2015 at 1:14 pm

    Lovely bread..mine is still pending as I was on a vacation. Will make it this week.

  • Jane Sarchet

    January 27, 2015 at 1:14 pm

    They look just pefect, and ideal for little dinner rolls.
    Janie x

  • Amrita Roy

    January 27, 2015 at 4:52 pm

    neatly prepared…loved it

  • Sadhna Grover

    January 28, 2015 at 3:01 am

    Very nice semolina bread.
    I am still thinking about joining “Shhh cooking secretly” group. How often do you have to cook the same dish and post.

  • Vardhini

    January 31, 2015 at 4:38 am

    Lovely semolina bread. Tempting.

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