are held in Sicily and around the world celebrating the bravery of Santa Lucia.
One way is by baking a special bread which is known as Pan Siciliano. What is
unusual about this bread is that it is baked with semolina ( what we know in
India as rava/ sooji). In Sicily (and Italy), the semolina they use for this
bread is a specific grind of durum wheat called “semola di grano duro
rimacinato” or just “rimacinato”, which translates as ‘ground again’. This
refers to semolina which is ground once more to break the coarser grain into finer
and use that. Otherwise use the finest grind semolina you can find.In India, there’s variety of semolina that is very fine (still
grainy) that’s used for making laddoos, halwa and batters. Otherwise, just run
the semolina you have in the chutney jar of your mixer-grinder or coffee
grinder till it’s fine.I did just that!
making this bread in a shorter time, traditionally, this bread is made with a
pre-ferment which the Sicilians/ Italians call “cresciuta”. This produces a
more flavourful loaf of bread and isn’t all that much more work. This recipe
calls for gluten which improves the texture of the loaf. I left this one out as I could not find it here.
one of two shapes – the “Occhi di Santa Lucia” meaning the “Eyes of St.Lucia”
or the “Mafalda” meaning “Snake”. I chose the “mafalda” because I had earlier
baked St. Lucia rolls in the “occhi” shape, and I had never tried shaping my
bread into a snake!
scroll shaped loaf of bread,
Pane Siciliano with Peter Reinhart is quite helpful – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VX44EtUr19o]
Siciliano (Sicilian Sesame Seeded Semolina Bread)
the Cresciuta (Biga/ Pate Fermentee):
yeast in the warm water in a small bowl and stand it aside for about 10 minutes
till it is frothy. Stir in the flour with a fork and loosely cover the bowl.
This mixture should be a little wet/ stringy.
Leave it in a slightly warm place for at least 4 hours, preferably
The next morning, mix the dough for the
bread. In a large bowl take 2 cups of semolina ,yeast ,honey,cresciuta.,oil
Add water and mix to form a dough. Add additional flour a little
at a time and knead well until you have a soft and smooth ball of dough that is
just short of sticky.I used just a handful extra semolina.
turn it to coat well, then loosely cover and let the dough rise till about
double in volume. This should take about 1 1/2 hours.Deflate the dough
Divide into 4 pieces.Roll each
into a “rope” and shape as shown in the pics.
Transfer to a baking tray.Loosely cover and let the shaped dough rise
for 2 hours till almost double in size. Lightly brush the top of the dough with
water and then sprinkle the sesame seeds over this pressing them in lightly
with your fingers. And that is Lil Dude helping me 🙂
baking tray placed upside down in it. Place your baking tray with the dough on
the hot tray and bake for about 30 minutes until the bread is brown and done,
and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.Cool on a rack completely before slicing.