The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Pane Siciliano - BBA interpretation

BellesAZ's picture

Pane Siciliano - BBA interpretation

On Saturday, I began making Peter Reinhart's Pane Siciliano formula from the Bread Bakers Apprentice.  When I first started it, I thought it was a 2 day bread build.. lol.  Needless to say I had to pitch something else real quick for Sunday dinner - thanks Jason's Ciabatta!  Nope, this dough takes a full three days, but I have to say.. it was absolutely worth it.

The direction and assistance in the book is so well written that it made it easy to follow along.  I just love how this book really guides you through every step.  I started with his Pate Fementee and on day 2, I was able to add the remaining formula ingredients, including 1 TBS of honey.  Yesterday afternoon, I was able to shape the dough and the only big mistake I made was to try and shape this dough on a lightly floured surface.  This made shaping the dough into 24 inch ropes a bit tricky, but with a 10 minute rest, they ended up rolling out just fine.  What I didn't realize is that with that slight amount of flour adhered to the dough, my shape didn't stay tight.  Lesson learned.  During the rise and oven spring, they came a bit loose. 

This "S" Shaped bread is beautiful though.  The smell from the oven, after three days of building flavor, was incredible.  The bread was so creamy with a slight bit of sweetness from the honey that actually enhanced the flavor, not really made it sweet at all.  The color of the crust is a beautiful bronze - thanks to the semolina flour.  Seriously, this just melts on the tongue and is well worth the three days.

If anyone else has made this, I'd love to hear what you think.

saltandserenity's picture

Your Pane Siciliano loaves look great.  I made these last year and loved them as well.  Worth the 3 day wait!

BellesAZ's picture

I could not believe how gorgeous they smelled baking in the oven.  I have recently switched flours and lately, all my breads have taken on a much better flavor and texture, but this three day build really heightens the flavor intensity.

I'm going to build the Pain a l'Ancienne next.  It is made with Ice Water and according to Reinhart, it is the dough that has received the most attention from his baking students.  It should be an interesting science project.  LOL

Thanks for the comments.

breitbaker's picture

I too, love this bread! After the 3 days isn't it jus SO satisfying to pull these babies outta the oven? :) when I have the time, it's always a "sure to impress" bread for guests :) I (think) I have a blog post here on TFL of back when I baked it the first!

cathy B. @ brightbakes


breadsong's picture

Hello, I made this awhile back as a birthday gift for my sister-in-law "S"usan.
The bread was a good one - thanks for your post and reminder about this wonderful bread.  Regards, breadsong

BellesAZ's picture

That's so sweet.  I admit, the shape also attracted me as well.  It might also make a nice braided loaf too.  Was thinking about that the other day

hanseata's picture

This is one of our most favorite breads! I bake them regularly - making 4 loaves out of the batch - and sell them in our local natural food store.

BellesAZ, don't worry about the shape, it never comes out perfectly coiled, with very distinct contours - who cares! It always looks nice and the taste is fantastic.

I tried this bread in a 2-day procedure, with bulk fermentation in the refrigerator. But I found that it doesn't has the same airiness as it does when refrigerated as shaped loaves.

For the Pain a l'Ancienne I can give you some tips (I bake it every week). Take the dough out of the refrigerator at least 3 hours before using, it really has to rise some more. Make a real bed of flour on your work surface, not just lightly floured, and, also, generously flour the top of the dough after you transferred it unto the counter. This makes it really easy to cut the dough with the bench scraper, you don't have to make it wet. The surface flour doesn't hurt the baguettes, they will have a nice rustic look.

Preheat the oven to 550 F and bake the breads at 475 F, steaming with 1/2 cup of boiling water (additional spraying of the walls is not necessary!) Lower temperatures don't give the same result.

I use perforated baguette pans, and bake the breads 17 min., rotating them after 9 min. When they are done, I leave them 5 min. longer in the switched-off oven with the door slightly ajar, before cooling them on a rack, that keeps the crust from getting soft.

Happy baking,


SylviaH's picture

I love Dan Di Muzio's Sicilian Semolina bread.  The flavor is delicious.  I baked 2 Scrolls and one batard.  I have the photos and info about the bake on my blog   One is baked under my La Cloche the other is baked with steam on lava stones, one is shaped as a batard.


hanseata's picture

Well, I live in Maine, Doug, but we had our generous share of temperatures above 80 this summer!

What I really wanted to emphasize on were some deviations from P.R.'s instructions. I'm baking Pain a l'Ancienne as my selling staple for 3 years twice a week now, and during that time I found some little adjustments to make it easier to handle.

For example, P.R. mentions sprinkling the top of the dough only as an option, and recommends working with a wet bench scraper. If you do that (no flour on top and wet scraper), you'll have the dough constantly sticking to the scraper, and because of the repeated moistening of the scraper the flour on the work surface gets also wet. If you generously sprinkle flour over the dough it is quite easy to cut it with the scraper and the flour falling into the cut prevents the pieces sticking back together or on the scraper.

Taking the dough out of the refrigerator you just have to watch it - it needs to rise some more, whether that happens faster in Florida or slower in Maine, your observation matters, not given times in the recipe. It also makes it easier to get the slices to the desired length - the dough is more relaxed and the slices lengthen by their own weight when you pick them up.

Also, I differ with P.R. on the question when to put the bread in the oven. He instructs you to put it into the oven right after slicing it. I don't agree, I want an airier crumb and therefore let the breads rise in the pan for about 30 min. before I bake them.

This is how I want my crumb to look like (this is a multigrain version).




hanseata's picture

I didn't know that. I'll try it on my next batch.

Thanks, Doug,


KYHeirloomer's picture

I make the Pane Siciliano often, as it's one of my favorites. One experiment with it is worth sharing: it makes fantastic rolls.

What I do is divide the dough into six pieces, then roll and shape each of those in the standard double S. Frankly, it's a real PITA. But the end result is always worthwhile.

If you're looking for something different in a roll, give that a try.