Thursday, May 27, 2010

BBA Challenge #23 – Pane Siciliano

Like the Pain de Campagne, I made my pâte fermentée  for the Pane Siciliano using my wild yeast sourdough starters.  I figure that I’ve got the starter and I ought to take any and every opportunity I can to use it.  And, I figure that with these breads that use a pre-fermented dough already, adding the flavor of a sour dough starter certainly wouldn’t hurt.  This the formula I am using for the wild yeast pâte fermentée:

10 ounces starter 
2 ounces bread flour
2 ounces a.p. flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-2 ounces water

It rises in about the same time that Mr. Reinhart mentions in the book and by every way that I can tell, acts exactly the same as the instant yeast version. 

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But I tell you what… Pane Siciliano, I love you.

I had to make a quick emergency trip to the grocery store to get semolina flour before I could get started.  After feeling the texture of the semolina, I was worried about the dough coming together and getting a good window “pain” test in a reasonable amount of time.

I felt my fears were well founded based upon this after my initial mixing.

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But I tell you what, after about 8 minutes of kneading in at the gentle “hands” of the Kitchen Aid, it turned into about the most gorgeous dough I have ever seen.


Smooth.  Soft.  Stretchy.

And it had this beautiful earthy tone to it, I think due to the hue of the semolina flour. 


And the window “pain?”  Faah-getaboutit.  It’s not a very well focused picture, but this is one of the most beautiful windowpane tests I’ve done in this challenge.


Without a good two foot long surface to roll out the dough ropes on, I had to improvise just a bit.


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By the way, I have added a large wooden cutting board like this one (in the 24”x18” size) to my kitchen wish list in case anyone is reading who might be interested in such knowledge.  It would be so nice to have a surface larger than a small pizza peel to work on with my bread.

But back to Pane Siciliano.

Shaping these guys was kind of fun.  The little “S” shape is so cute and decorative. 


The shaped loaves went into the fridge for the night.  I took one out to bake the next day and then did the other two the day after that. 




In shaping, I think I ended up degassing the dough more than I intended or wanted to.  My finished product actually had more big holes in it than I thought it would, but not as many as I might have liked.  

We really loved this bread.  The crunchy nuttiness of the crust and sesame seeds combined with the sweet softness of the interior bread was just perfect.  My man said that it might be his favorite so far… not counting the cinnamon rolls, raisin bread and Casatiello, which of course has meat and stuff in it.  But for a dinner party that is begging for some nice crusty artisan bread, this is absolutely the bread I will make.  No doubt about it.


Rachel @ Mothering Blindfolded said...

It looks delicious! I am just getting started with bread-making, so this seems a bit complicated to me. Fabulous job though! I would eat the whole loaf if you served it to me :-)

pipedi said...

I just got the book, and after reading your post, this is the one I'm going to try first. Thanks!