Sicilian No Knead Bread

This Sicilian no knead bread recipe holds a solid place on my short list of favorite no knead recipes. Huge thanks to its creator Ed Pillitteri from Seattle, who is generously sharing it with us. Serve with spaghetti, eggplant parmesan or lasagna and watch your family or guests weep with joy.

Ed Pillitteri - Sicilian No Knead Creator

Ed Pillitteri – Sicilian No Knead Creator

That’s the good news.

On the flip side, some of its ingredients are not easily found in most grocery stores. One of those is durum flour. While closely related to common durum semolina flour, which is also milled from durum wheat, durum flour is typically a finer grind and performs better in bread baking than its courser cousin. If you happen to live near a Whole Foods type grocery store, see if they carry it. Otherwise, check for chapatti flour. Chapatti flour, used mostly for the Indian flat bread, is durum flour with a little bran in it. I’ve used both and can’t tell the difference.

Update: See Ed’s comment below about doing a search for “Golden Temple Durum Atta Flour”. Same goes for this reference by Kitchen Barbarian (nice name!). Also, thanks to Eileen for finding another good on line source for durum flour (http://www.barryfarm.com). And this from Kent Perry… good work, Kent.

The other not so common ingredient is barley malt syrup. Most health food grocers should either sell it or be able to get it for you. The brand I see around is Eden (edenfoods.com). Barley malt syrup is occasionally called for in other bread recipes as well, most notably bagel recipes.

If you’ve made it this far and are actually ready to start baking, congratulations, the rest is relatively easy.

Following is the recipe, instructions and a two part video thrown in for good measure. In the videos I make Ed’s original version and also a sourdough version.

No Knead Sicilian Style Bread

300 grams  (~2 cups)  Durum flour (not semolina for pasta)
120 grams (~1 cup)  White bread flour
1 1/2 tsp.   Salt
1/4 tsp          Instant Yeast
1 1/2 cup      Purified Water
1 Tbs          Barley Malt Syrup
1 Tbs          EV Olive Oil
1/4 cup          Sesame Seeds

(for the sourdough version I simply substitute 1/4 cup of starter for the 1/4 tsp instant yeast)

Mix the two flours, salt and yeast in a bowl.  In a separate container (2 cup measuring cup works well) measure out the water then add the malt and stir until combined.  Add the olive oil and pour it all into the flour mixture.  The mixture may seem too dry but don’t  add more water.  The Durum flour takes a bit longer to absorb the water so cover for 10 minutes after mixing then mix again, briefly.

Place the bowl in plastic bag or cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 18 hours.

On a well floured surface, flatten dough and fold into three (like a letter) then in half.  Cover with plastic or a towel and let rest for 15 minutes.

Preparing the  proofing basket: Brush or spray the inside of the basket liberally with good olive oil.  While standing over the sink (to avoid a mess), sprinkle the sesame seeds evenly inside the bowl, pressing them in the grooves (if using a basket) with your fingers.

Depending on the container (proofing basket) to be used, shape the dough into a ball or log.  Place dough in the basket, cover with a kitchen towel or lightly with plastic and let rise for up to 1 ½ hours.

At least 30 minutes before baking, heat a large Dutch oven, including lid,  or La Cloche Baker ( highly recommended) in the oven at 475 degrees.  Once preheated, remove the lid, invert the loaf into the La Cloche, replace lid and bake for 30 minutes.  (The parchment paper technique, shown in the video, also works well for moving the dough to your baking vessel.) After 30 minutes with the lid on, remove lid and bake for 5 to 10 minutes more to finish baking and achieve a nice golden brown crust and toasted sesame seeds – be careful not to burn yourself.

Cool to room temperature on a rack before eating – no cheating.  Buon Appetito .

Notes:

Ed later added this:

“I lightly toasted lightly toasted the sesame seeds in a frying pan then soaked them in water for a few minutes and drained them well.  I lined an oblong proofing basket with parchment paper, lightly sprayed with oil, and let the dough rise as usual.  Just before baking, I brushed the top of the loaf with water then packed the seeds all over the top in a single layer, lowered it into the La Cloche and slashed the loaf one time down the center.   I think the combination of toasting and increased quantity of the sesame seeds added a lot of flavor.”

One of Ed's Gems

One of Ed’s Gems

Nice oven spring and natural split

Nice oven spring and natural split

By placing your dough in the oven before it’s fully risen, you’re more likely to get the nice oven spring (a quick burst of rising in the first minutes of baking) and the artsy splits in the crust as pictured above. In the video, the oblong loaf over proofed (for my taste) and rose no further during baking.

{ 225 comments… read them below or add one }

Bob Christ March 23, 2011 at 1:22 pm

Hello All,

Malt syrup and powdered malt are available from HomeBrew shops. It is used for making beer. It is available in light, medium or dark. Dark malt is full flavored. Malt syrup is often sold by the pound. Bring your own container. Dry malt is packaged in sealed plastic bags.

I use malt as a sweetener in various recipes and add some to the yeast when proofing it instead of white sugar.

I bought Golden Temple Atta flour at one of our huge Asian food markets located around Phoenix, Arizona. It is milled in Canada. It is available in a fine grade called #1 (in the yellow bag) and in a regular grade in the white bag. A really large market may have several brands of Durham Atta flour available. Look in the Indian foods section.

Read the ingredients list carefully since some flours contain a percentage of maida, which is all-purpose flour. Some brands proudly proclaim that they do not contain maida. There is nothing wrong with maida flour, it’s just that a blend may affect your recipe if it calls for the addition of all-purpose or bread flour.

Cheers,

Bob

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Santa Maria March 21, 2011 at 7:47 pm

Thanks Ed. I looked at the video again and yes, my bread is much darker. My Barley Malt is by Eden also which is used in the video but it does not say syrup, just Barley Malt, so not sure what the difference is if any. It’s dark and thick but as you said, can’t imagine a tbsp. would create the dark loaf. I’m thinking my durum flour may not be durum even thoughI bought it in a specialty shop and it was labeled as organic durum. It’s not a dark looking flour–lighter than the spelt I buy.

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Ed March 20, 2011 at 12:22 am

Hello Santa Maria,
I suspect that something is not right with your ingredients. There is nothing in this loaf that will turn out a dark colored loaf. Durum flour has light yellow cast and the bread flour is white. The malt syrup is the only dark ingredient but only one tablespoon. The dense loaf is probably due to over proofing.
Ed

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Santa Maria March 13, 2011 at 9:52 pm

I tried the sicilian bread this weekend. I have had much success with no knead using both yeast and starter. I measured all ingredients and used the durum flour but the bread was about 1/2 the size as most of my loaves I bake although still tasty. I know when I use whole wheat, rye or spelt, I always increase the yeast to 1/2 tsp and most of the flour is unbleached white, according to Jim Lahey’s book. I also weighed according to instructions. The final result was quite dark brown and heavy although it did sing to me after it was done. I proofed it for about 24 hours but only because our house is 12 celcius overnight (Canada) so it was a slow rise. I do this with most of my loaves and in fact baked a spelt loaf at the same time which turned out beautifully. Any suggestions?

Santa Maria

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Breadtopia February 14, 2011 at 11:45 pm

Hi Terry,

Semolina flour is made from the same durum grain as the durum flour, but it’s a courser grind and doesn’t work as well as actual durum flour. It’s not usually easy to find durum flour. If you can find chapati flour, that will work.

If you don’t mind scanning back through scores of previous comments (see link near bottom of page), there are some mentions of durum flour sources.

Ps. I deleted the previous strange comment that you responded to. I don’t know who is was directed at.

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Terry February 14, 2011 at 7:43 pm

I see that sicillean bread recipe states to use durum, not semonilla flour, but whole foods has it “semonilla” and it says that it is 100% durum wheat flour. Can I use this? Thanks

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David December 17, 2010 at 11:12 pm

Ed,

Great news. I must go to our Costco tomorrow and shall have a look. There are a fair number of folk originally hailing from india and the store carries basmati rice and other Indian specialties. I’ll bet they have the flour you mentioned.
Save me a trip to Kenosha, not that I want to be “saved” from a trip to Tenuta’s Grocery, about which we exchanged comments a few weeks ago.
I’ve got a couple of batches of sour dough working as I am writing. One, my first effort with your splendid Sicilian bread. I’ll let you know how it comes out. (I made my starter thirty-five years ago!)

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Jessie December 16, 2010 at 9:10 pm

Have you ever made bread in a coffee can?? If yes I would like the time and the temp to use.

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David December 16, 2010 at 7:50 pm

Greetings Eric,

Just viewed the video on the sour dough rye. Looks wonderful. I note that you have a “mill.” A friend of mine—whom I guided to Breadtopia—commented that she “ground” her own flour. I see you have what looks like an extremely efficient mill. Does Breadtopia offer this mill? How much does it cost? I am not such a purist, but the idea of milling my own flour is most interesting. Best wishes.

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Ed P December 7, 2010 at 11:51 am

Eureka! I bot a 20lb bag of chapatti flour (durum) at Costco the other day for under $7.00! I’m assuming that they carry it here (Kirkland, WA) becasue we have many hightech engneers from India and other South Asian countries living in the area. Microsoft HQ is in the next town.

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Breadtopia November 8, 2010 at 12:23 pm

Hi Karen,

I personally don’t think the malt makes a big difference. I don’t think it’s one of those things you have to go out of your way to get, but I’m finding more recipes that ask for it so if you come across it, you might want to snag some.

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Karen Hawes November 7, 2010 at 3:21 pm

I made this bread without the barley malt syrup, because I didn’t have any on hand. I used the yeast method, and it turned out very well. Does omitting this ingredient make much difference in the taste or texture? If it does, I will definately get my hands on some. By the way, I love your website.

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Breadtopia November 5, 2010 at 2:00 pm

Hi David,

The rings from the basket show up when you dust the basket with flour and dough comes into direct contact with the basket. It’s really the flour that’s creating the rings. With this recipe, the seeds (and lack of flour) keep that from happening. At least that’s my experience.

Some people get their dough to rise in the fridge and some don’t so I’m thinking it may be more to do with the temp than anything else. Although I’m not sure. Our fridge is set at 40 and the dough rises fine. I wouldn’t be surprised if even a few degrees makes a difference.

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David November 5, 2010 at 9:50 am

Eric,

Just pulled out of the oven my second loaf of the Sicilian loaf with sesame seeds. Also, my proofing basked arrived day before yesterday and I used it for the first time in this baking endeavor.

A couple of comments: the lovely rings that were on the bread when I put it into the Dutch Oven disappeared when the baking was complete! No complaint here, just wondering what might have happened. Could be I got too much “oven spring”—the loaf really rounded up so nicely.

Regarding a technique I used: first I put the dough into the proofing basket.
Then, just before I pulled the heated Dutch Oven out of the oven, I flipped the dough from the basket into a parchment paper lined 10″ frying pan, a la the method suggested by America’s Test Kitchen. Then, I painted the loaf with a beaten egg wash and loaded it with sesame seeds. Then used the parchment paper as a “lifting” device into the Dutch Oven. Worked wonderfully, though, as I mentioned above the handsome rings around the loaf disappeared.

Finally, I had seen a note in Cook’s Illustrated web page suggesting that the best flavor and texture of the bread could be enhanced by letting the dough rise in the refrigerator. Did not work for me. After 24 hours, the dough had not budged an inch. So, took it out and put it into the oven with light on for rising. Twenty-four hours later (!)—total elapsed time 48 hours—I was ready for the last phase of shaping etc. described above. Could be our refrigerator was too cold (36 degrees) for the benefit indicated by CI.

I’m trying to find a long something to use the same technique as for the boule for making a long loaf in my new long proofing basket.

Baskets are just swell. A lot less expensive than those offered by Sur Le Table.

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Ed P October 30, 2010 at 6:36 pm

Hi David,
Glad you enjoyed the Sicilian bread. I’ve been meaning to update the original recipe notes for awhile now . The first is to consider raising the amount of white flour by 20gr to 140gr. One contributor accomplished the same thing by reducing the water one ounce. Another update is to toast the sesame seeds in a dry frying pan for a few minutes which greatly enhances the flavor – careful once the oil inside gets hot they burn easily. I always use the parchment paper method and at the last minute brush the top of the loaf with egg white and water mixture before applying the seeds and patting with my hand – they stick beautifully. By the way, I lived in your neighborhood in the 70′s. Home was in Libertyville , commuted to the loop and kept a sailboat in Racine. I really enjoyed living there except for the winters. Thanks for your comments – Tinuta’s sounds marvelous, bet you can smell the provolone when you walk through the door – we could use one out here.
Have fun. Ed .

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David October 29, 2010 at 8:53 pm

Message for Ed Pillitteri
Just ate some of the first loaf of Sicilian bread made with your recipe. Superb.
I noted that the bread had a lot of marvelous holes, but seemed a bit heavier than the usual result I get from “Almost…” bread. Different from the expected somewhat dry starting dough, mine was quite moist. Should I have added a bit more flour? No complaint, just wondering. Also, I baked at 450 degrees for thirty minutes in a Dutch oven covered, ten minutes uncovered.

For any of you living within fifty miles of Kenosha, WI, I’d mention the wonderful store, Tenuta’s. They offer all sorts of flours, including one’s choice of 2, 5, 10, and 20 pound plastic sealed bags of Durum flour. Also, a dazzling array of other, principally Italian, food prouducts. It’s worth a drive to stock up. One can order up a range of prepared food offerings as well. The place cannot be too highly recommended. And, it is true, the barley malt syrup is available at Whole Foods at $5.45 for a pint.

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Big Tuna April 14, 2010 at 7:27 am

Disney world of food + fishing = heaven

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Julia April 13, 2010 at 11:08 pm

Ooo, if you live anywhere remotely near Cincinnati, you MUST check out Jungle Jim’s (junglejims.com). It is quite simply the Disneyworld of food, and I had NO trouble finding ingredients there. Their Indian section has the flour, in various quantities.

But come for the DAY. There’s over an acre of produce ALONE. And the cheese section…. *swoon*

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Big Tuna April 13, 2010 at 5:01 pm

Hi Eric,

I don’t know if anyone is still having trouble finding Durum flour. I finally found a reliable source in the Chicago area. There is a chain of stores called “Stop & Save”. They cater to an international clientèle, Indian, Asian, European(Polish, German, Italian) etc. Its a reliable source as they always have it in stock. Its sold as Chappati flour, in a clear plastic bag. On top of the bag is says 100% whole ground Durum flour. Here’s the best part; 4lbs for $4.49.
As for the Barley Malt Syrup, I can find only one source in my area, Whole Foods. Its sold under the Eden Brand.

The weather has been very mild here & I’ve got the fishing bug already. Baking bread always takes a back seat to fishing. Hey, ” Man does not live by bread alone.” A famous Son said that.

[img]TheBigTuna.jpg[/img]

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Big Tuna April 10, 2010 at 11:30 am

Hi Jessie,
You need to have a tenacious attitude to succeed; sounds like you’ve got it. I would not worry about 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour. I make a bread that has whole wheat, rye & white flour plus flax meal, oat bran, wheat & rye berries & my bread gets cooked all the way through.

I started to allude to this in an earlier post , but I don’t think I quite explained it. The temp of your oven can be the culprit that’s defeating you. You MUST verify that your oven is actually giving you an accurate temp. I set my oven at 450 degrees when I bake bread. My independent oven thermometer is usually around 5 degrees off. 5 degrees, plus or minus, doesn’t matter very much. 50 degrees off is going to matter a great deal.
Your bread is going to have a crispy crust because your oven is 500 degrees & has cooked the outside of the bread faster than the interior. If I saw crust that was mahogany brown I would believe that the bread is done & take it out. The big tip off should be that the bread reached the correct color before the time alloted for baking was up. Also your thump test should not sound hollow if the interior is not cooked properly.
I also use the bottom rack with the stone. The manufacturer recommended that & it seems to work there.

There is one other thing that can cause the sticky crumb. It can be the result of over mixing & over proofing. The gluten bonds break down, water is released & the elasticity decreases. Another indicator of this is little or no oven spring. With this type of recipe, you let the dough rise for 18 hours & you use very little yeast. The yeast will continue to reproduce its self until it reaches a point of diminishing returns. This occurs a little while after the 18 hours & the yeast will cease to function (over-proofed). I’m not sure how much beyond the 18 hours this occurs because I have not gone this far with a dough.
After the 18 hours I fold, shape & place the dough in a proofing basket. By folding & shaping the dough, you redistribute the yeast through out the dough. After 45 – 60 minutes the dough has risen enough to fill my basket & I immediately bake it in a 450 degree oven for 40 minutes. I get a very nice oven spring & a well done loaf.

Well, I hope that I have helped you to solve your particular problem. If you get frustrated, don’t give up. I’ve had some real disappointments when I started baking bread. But, I would always go back to the basics & make sure everything was exactly right. A perfectly put together dough makes a perfect loaf of bread.

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jessie April 9, 2010 at 12:32 pm

good afternoon big Tuna: I read your comment very carefully and I think that I am doing all of what you said. I am making an oval loaf in a cast iron pot that has been heated up. I also tried a free form loaf, baked on parchment paper with hot water in the bottom of the oven for steam. I have also bought a digital thermometer, because I am the type that I must win the battle. My breads come out nice and brown with a crisp crust. I just thought of the only different thing that I am doing is that I am substuting 1/2 cup of w.w. flour for the regular flour that I am using. Do you think that that could be causing it to stay tacky on the inside. I will try leaving out the w.w. flour the next time I bake. This is driving me crazy. Thanks a million again.

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Big Tuna April 7, 2010 at 11:28 am

Hi Jessie,
To find a solution to your particular problem I need to know more about your baking methods. In general any sticky crumb would mean undercooked.
There are a few holes (no pun intended) in your description of your bread. What shape is the bread. If it is fat in the middle & much thinner on the ends you will have uneven baking & the middle of the bread will most likely be undercooked. This would account for sticky sections on the interior of the loaf.
What color is the crust of your baked bread? What do you bake your bread in? When you take the temp of the bread , is it in the thickest part of the loaf? Are you using a digital or dial thermometer? Digital give a faster read & the dial is slower. So be sure to allow enough time to get a full reading.
Always insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the bread either from the top down or from the side of the loaf into the middle. Don’t insert it from the end of the loaf & try to hit the middle; it might not make it that far.
I will give you my method of baking that I have used for years & have taught it to my family & friends. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not “MY way or the highway.” There are many methods that work. I’m just trying to help you find one. Once I have decided on what type of bread to make I get the recipe & put the dough together. Follow the instructions on how long to let the bread rise & on how long to bake at what temp. As I have said before, I use a stone in my oven as it always gives me a beautiful bottom crust. I also bake my bread “free form” meaning I don’t use a pan or la cloche. So, after the dough has risen I usually do a fold of the dough & form it into a typical loaf shape. I like to use the oblong brotform proofing basket. I reuse the plastic wrap I used to cover the bowl that the dough rose in to line the bottom of the basket. The plastic wrap is ideal because it clings to the dough, but does not stick. When the dough is risen again I put a sheet of parchment paper on the counter top, roll the basket over onto the paper. The bottom of the basket then becomes the top of the loaf. Unwrap the plastic gently. Make your slices into the top of the the dough. I then take my pizza peel & slide it under the parchment paper & dough making sure to support the dough. I then slide the paper & dough onto the stone & bake my bread. You don’t have to worry about the paper burning. It won’t. I have had the paper in a 500 degree oven & all it did was scorch a bit.

At the end of the baking period I remove the bread from the oven using my peel & let it cool on a wire rack until the bread feels like room temp.

Don’t forget to use the checks [eyes (color), ears (thump) & temp] toward the end of the baking period to get the best results.
You have to be a detective & figure out what you are missing. If you are skipping steps, don’t! There aren’t that many & your bread will tell on you.

Write back Jessie & try to answer those questions for me & the other fine bakers on this site. If I missed something, one of them will catch it. You can be sure.
BTW Hello Eric & Ed It’s been a while.

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jessie April 7, 2010 at 10:18 am

Thank you big Tuna for your explanation. I understand fully, however I have another issue, here goes: The day after I bake my two loves I normally slice the bread and freeze it. It makes it easier to use for sandwitches for the
following week, however as I am slicing the bread (using a very expensive bread knife) the knife becomes tacky, and therefore difficult to cut the next slice, can you tell me why. I hate to say that this does not happen all the time. I use the same recipe and the same method all of the time. It is very frusterating when this happens. Thanks again, I am patientely waiting for your answer.

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Big Tuna April 6, 2010 at 1:21 pm

Hi Jessie,
I’ll try to answer your question about whether your bread is finished baking or not. First , the inside of the bread is in a “molten” state when you are baking it. Remember that the bread cooks from the outside to the inside & also cools the same way. So when your bread reaches 200 degrees internally it is cooked, but needs to cool before you can cut it & have it act like bread. Since bread cools from the outside to the inside we have to wait for the inside to solidify. Once the bread has cooled , the inside should have a nice crumb & the outside should have a nice crispy crust.
If, after baking your bread for the specified time (475 degrees for 30 min), you tap on the bottom crust & you hear a “drum like” sound then your bread is done. If it sounds like you are tapping on the side of a full milk carton then there is something wrong. The 30 minutes is a guide line & your bread may be done before or after the given 30 minutes. The temp of your oven may be higher or lower than the number on the oven dial . Almost all of the serious bakers I know are using independent oven thermometers to verify the temp of their ovens.
So, you are still wondering how to tell if your bread is done. Ok. Here is what I do. When I have a loaf in the oven & the time is growing short (5-10 min) I check to see if the upper crust is golden brown. If it is I will lift the loaf so that I can see the bottom. I bake bread on a stone & always have a crisp bottom crust. Just a thump or two & I know that the bread is done. I have verified my thump test with a thermometer & I usually get a reading of 200 – 205 degrees.
On the other hand, if I see that the crust is on the light side (tan – light brown) & the bottom crust is not the typical mahogany brown I know that the bread is not done; even if the 30 minutes is expired. I will continue baking until I see the crust take on the proper color & then do my doness checks. I actually like the color test because I can then bake in any oven & not worry about exact temperatures. Again I only use the timer as my guide as to when I should start checking my bread for doness.
One word of caution: if you are baking a bread that has any kind of sweetener in it, the crust will color more rapidly due to the sugar in the dough. So, when you see the color changing from golden brown – mahogany brown start doing your checks & don’t wait for the timer. Do your checks; eyes (color), ears (thump) & thermometer (200-210). The more you bake bread the more educated your eyes & ears become & you won’t even need the thermometer.
May your crumb be firm & your crust be crispy!

Big Tuna

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jessie April 6, 2010 at 12:15 pm

I cant tell if the bread is fully baked by knocking on the bottom of the loaf.
I test it by inserting a thermometer into the center of the loaf and when it registers 200 degrees I take it out. It should be baked enough. However when I remove the thermometer, stem ,the stem is tacky. Why does this happen. I tried letting the bread go till it reached 210 and the same tackeyness occurs. WHY

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Sal March 28, 2010 at 12:22 pm

Love this bread!!! I live in Florida and was wondering if I could let the dough rise at room temp for a couple of hours then transfer to my wine storage box (temp is 50 degrees F) for the remainder of the time. During the summer I keep my home at about 80 degrees. Would this change anything? I thought a long, cool rise would improve the flavor.

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Breadtopia March 28, 2010 at 12:38 pm

Hi Sal,

Yes, you can. And, yes, it probably would. I think prolonging the fermentation is always a good call as long as you’re careful not to over proof

I wouldn’t change anything as far as the baking instructions go aside from maybe giving it some extra proofing time. 50 degrees will certainly slow down the fermentation, but 18 hours (total on the long rise) is still probably enough. Also, not that it would necessarily make much difference, but I would go straight to the wine storage box then room temp for the remainder.

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Alison March 27, 2010 at 3:07 pm

Durum atta flour is on sale at No Frills in Toronto this week. The big bag is <$8 for 10 kilos.

It happens every few months. Come visit Toronto, home of Ace Bakery, a supplier of baguettes to Air France.

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mary March 27, 2010 at 1:36 pm

I tried this recipe (first bread recipe I’ve tried since 1970, otherwise I wing it). I only had malt powder which I used 1 1/2 Tbs. for a substitute for the barley malt syrup. The bread is very good. I also baked it in an enameled cast iron lidded baker. The crust may be thicker and crunchier in a clay baker, but this was very tasty. It’s different than I expected but as good as I expected. Very nice loaf. Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe.

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Kent Petty March 25, 2010 at 9:12 pm

I couldn’t find durum flour here in Anchorage, so I thought I’d try to find a local “Indian” grocery store to see if they carried the chapatti flour. Sure enough, we have a couple Indian/Middle Eastern grocery stores here in town. The first one didn’t have chapatti (under that name), they had straight up durum flour, packaged or in bulk. At $1.69 per pound King Aurthur just can’t compete! At any rate, check your local Indian or Middle Eastern Grocer, I suspect that you, too, will find that elusive durum flour!

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Breadtopia February 21, 2010 at 5:13 am

Hi Dick,

Diastatic malt powder works too. I would try to find another bread recipe that calls for it and just use however much it specifies. Seems to me that bagel recipes often include diastatic malt powder, so that might help narrow your search. I don’t think it’s going to be a large enough quantity that you’d have to alter anything else in the Sicilian recipe.

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dick February 21, 2010 at 12:02 am

Just got a bunch of durum flour from Flourgirl151 (also known as Rhonda) and want to try this. I note you use barley malt syrup. I have diastatic malt powder. Would that work as well and how would I use it.

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Natalya February 17, 2010 at 2:06 am

Hi Eric,

I’ve baked the bread yesterday. It’s fantastic! The crust is awesome! However I had to add about 60-70gr more flour, perhaps German flour is moister than American…
Thanks for the recipe!
Natalya

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Breadtopia February 11, 2010 at 11:16 am

Hi Natalya,

Not sure if you’re asking me (Eric) or Ed, but I keep my starter closer to 100% hydration. Unless a particular recipe is specific about it needing to be something else.

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Natalya February 11, 2010 at 10:54 am

Hi,
the bread looks just great! I’m going to bake it but have one question. What’s the hydration % of your sourdough, looks like smth about 70%?

thanks

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Kathy February 3, 2010 at 12:07 pm

Thanks for all of these wonderful ideas.
Kathy

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Cattypex January 26, 2010 at 10:01 pm

Wow! I’ll be trying this recipe – I’m already a huge fan of the no-knead recipe featured in the NYT.

As for the La Cloche Baker, a great multitasking substitute is the Pampered Chef big stoneware bowl & stone cookie sheet. My mother-in-law found one of the bowls at Goodwill for $5, still in the plastic wrap, and I use it for lots of things, including baking bread, because you can either use it as a bowl or invert it over the stoneware cookie sheet for that brick oven effect.
Thanks for sharing!

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Wayne January 6, 2010 at 10:51 am

Thanks Allen,
The 1st time I placed the leftover in a paper bag,dried out.
2nd time leftover went into a plastic bread bag,wonderful crust became soft.
By the way eric the whole wheat banana bread was great family rated it a 10.

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Allan Castine January 5, 2010 at 9:42 am

Hi Jessie,

I understand your frustration. Been there, done than… as they say.

I found my solution at King Arthur Flour up in Vermont. (KingArthurFlour.com) They have a product called “Easy-Roll Dough Improver” and it really works. It comes in a 12-oz. package that sells for $6.95 plus approximately $6.00 for shipping. I hate paying the shipping charge, but my angst goes away as soon as I use the product.

Just add one or two tablespoons of the product to your dough recipe and you’ll be amazed at the results.

Another trick I’ve learned about dealing with dough that “fights back” is this: As soon as the dough begins to snap back during roll-out, walk away from it – AND STAY AWAY – for about 10 to 15 minutes. By the time you return to it, the dough will have settled down and will much easier to work with. You may have to do this walk-away trick a couple of times, but eventually you will win the fight with the dough. I do this whenever I make pizza dough, etc.

Good luck.

Allan

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jessie January 5, 2010 at 8:19 am

I am tired of fighting with my dough when I make bagles, or rolls. Where can I purchase powdered DOUGH RELAXER? Does the relaxer really work?

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Allan Castine January 5, 2010 at 2:59 am

Hi Wayne,

Here’s what I do to preserve the freshness of the Sicilian bread made from Ed Pillitteri’s fabulous recipe:

After the bread has thoroughly cooled, I cut the loaf into three equal parts. I then tightly wrap each part with plastic cling wrap and then with aluminum foil.

I put two of the now tightly-wrapped parts into my freezer for later use. The third part will keep nicely at room temperature for a day or two, as will the frozen parts once they are removed from the freezer.

Try it. I think you’ll be pleased with the results.

Allan

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Wayne January 4, 2010 at 6:37 pm

Have made 2 loaves of the sicilian bread,both have turned out great. what is the best way to store to store overnight or for several days/

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John Davies December 8, 2009 at 10:18 am

I made this bread today and I couldn’t be more happy with the result. I’ve been assigned bread making duty for my girlfriend’s Christmas party on Sunday, so I wanted to test it ahead of time.

I’m going to be a bread hero.

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Ed P November 23, 2009 at 1:57 pm

Hi Jessie,
I’ve used both iodized and plain salt with no noticable difference in the bread. Any health implecations I’ll leave to those better informed.

I would aim for a minimum 200 degrees internal for all shapes and sizes unless the recipe says orthwise. At 210 you’re probaly close to burning the crust. Of course, if adopting a loaf recipe to smaller shapes, baking time willl be reduced. Example, for Eric’s Moist Whole Wheat Banana, I make three mini 3 x 5 loaf pans (makes a great gift) instead of one 9 x 5 and bake for 30 minutes + tent time instead of 50 minutes. Have fun!

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jessie November 15, 2009 at 4:45 am

I have 2 questions, here goes, does using IODIZED salt in the bread do anything to the bread?
The second question is, should all breads reach about 210 when finished baking and does the same temperature go for rolls and buns? I like using a therm, that way I know that the inside is baked to perfection. thanks

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ConnieP October 20, 2009 at 11:36 pm

Jessie, to get the percentage of grains, look at the serving size in grams and fine the listing of protein grams per serving. Divide the grams of protein by the serving size and this will give you the percentage of protein. It’s a pretty handy formula. You will find that there can be quite a difference in the protein value in different flours (or grains). Hope this helps.

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Breadtopia October 20, 2009 at 9:06 pm

Hi Jessie,

I think you have to call Eagle Mills and ask them. I’ve done that with Heartland Mill and Guisto’s flour and they were happy to me.

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jessie October 20, 2009 at 12:06 pm

I reciently purchased “Eagle Mills” all natural all purpose unbleached flour from Costco. I made your bread and it turned out great. Can you tell me what percentage protien is in this flour?

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Allan Castine October 15, 2009 at 12:26 pm

Hi Ed,

Thanks for your post, and thanks also for continuing to try to come up with a solution to my original hydration problem. Please be advised that I have never used chapatti flour when making your Sicilian bread recipe. I always use Durum Wheat Flour that I purchase online from King Arthur Flour.

Now, then, I am very pleased to tell you that I believe I have solved my overly-wet, impossible-to-shape-into-a-log dough problem. Originally, as I’ve said in a previous post, I followed the recipe to the letter and used 12 ounces of water. Then I read Big Tuna’s post and I reduced the water to just 10 ounces. That worked well: the dough was now easy to shape into a log. But I noticed that by using only 10 oz. of water, the texture of the baked bread and its shelf-life both declined a bit.

I then decided to try using 11 ounces of water rather than the 12 oz. and the 10 oz. I had tried before. That did it. The dough was very easy to shape into a log. The texture of the dough was perfect. Its shelf life returned to normal and I, my friend, am now a very happy camper.

It was wonderful hearing from you. Thanks again.

Allan

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Ed October 15, 2009 at 11:24 am

Hi Allan,
Your experience with extra wet dough has been on my mind. It is easy to see that you have become more than a casual baker and dismissing your experience with an “I don’t know, just didn’t sit right. The, the other day, an epiphany, “it has to be the flour”. So, I bought some of the Indian style chapatti durum and made a loaf side by side with the durum I usually use. The difference in the two is that the chapatti flour is not ground as fine and also includes bran. Bingo! The chapatti dough was extremely wet and the plain durum perfect. I think Eric uses the chapatti flour but I believe he runs it through his grain mill first to get it finer. Now, if you didn’t use chapatti flour, we’re back to square one. Have fun. Ed

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Ed September 16, 2009 at 6:15 pm

Hi Allen,
Your scale is right on so it looks like your extra moist dough will forever remain a mystery. As we have all agreed, your tweak worked for you so all is well.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a personal 100% whole wheat recipe. Since the master bakers have all tried valiantly and produced only marginal results, I have never been motivated to experiment. I believe that most bakers feel about whole wheat flour the way the French feel about the merlot grape; OK by itself but better when used in a blend.
Ed

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