My Sicilian Sesame Seed Bread made with doubled-milled durum wheat semolina flour is very special. The flour is golden in color and delicious. This strain of durum wheat from Italy is very differnet from the all-purpose white flour we know in the U.S. Semolina flour is also used for pasta. You can see the color difference below.
This Semolina flour is ground very fine (double-milled) making it perfect for bread. Do not confuse "00" flour, which is also ground very fine and often used for pizzas. That flour typically is made from soft wheat or white flour. After some research, I found an importer for imported Rimacinata Semolina Flour AND it can be purchased from Amazon here. Yay. This is my favorite brand. One 2.2 lb. bag makes 3-4 loaves.
The bread recipe is a typical recipe for homemade bread. Beside using the special gold-colored flour, add lots of sesame seeds with an egg-wash to the top, and most important - add some ice cubes to a preheated cast iron skillet on the bottom shelf of the oven for a crusty crust. I prefer loaves shaped like baguettes, but other shapes can also be done such as a S-shape or thicker Italian loaf.
Here is the step by step Guide for Sesame Seed Bread:
Bloom the yeast, with warm water and sugar. Add to salt and semolina flour in a stand mixer and knead until a dough is formed.
Place ball of dough in an oiled and covered bowl. Let rise in a warm place for several hours until double in size.
Shape the dough into 4 baguette shapes. I placed on a floured baker's couche, cover with a tea towel and let rise again.
Transfer each loaf to a baguette bread pan. Paint the top of each loaf with an egg wash and sprinkle generously with sesame seeds. Pre-heat the over to 450 degrees. Place a cast iron skillet on the bottom shelf to heat up.
When the over is ready, place the bread pans on the middle shelf and add 10 ice cubes to the skillet. The steam will help create a nice crust on the bed. Bake for 35 minutes. Add more ice cubes halfway through.
One of my favorite way to enjoy Sesame Seed Bread is toasted with butter and jam
Sicilian Sesame Seed Bread
- 3 ½ teaspoon Active dry yeast room temperature
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 cups warm water 112° to 115°F
- 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
- 4 cups Rimacinata Wheat Durum Semolina flour (plus a few tablespoons more if needed)
- 1 small egg
- 3 tablespoon water
- ⅓ cup sesame seeds
- 16 ice cubes
- In a large glass measuring cup, dissolve the sugar and yeast in 2 cups of the warm water. Let stand, covered for 5 minutes, or until foamy.
- Add 2 cups of flour and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the yeast mixture and mix until a dough starts to form. Add 2 more cups of flour and let mix until a smooth ball of dough is formed. It too wet, add 1 -2 tablespoons more flour. Do not let the dough get to dry. It should be slightly sticky. Let knead for about 5-10 minutes in total.
- Place the dough in a large oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let it rise until doubled about 2 hours. (I usually place in my oven with the light on).
- On a floured board, punch down the dough, divide it in half and shape two thick loaves or four baguettes.
- Transfer loaves a floured baker’s couche or large cotton dish towel. Cover the loaves and let rise in a warm place for about 2 hours until doubled again in size.
- Preheat the oven at 450 degrees for 30 minutes. Place a cast iron skillet on the bottom rack and let heat as well.
- When ready to bake, mix the egg and water to make a wash. Brush the egg wash over the loaves and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
- Place the loaves on baking sheet or a french loaf baking pans.
- Put the baking pan on the middle rack.
- Add 10 ice cubes to the cast iron pan. This will create the steam for a great crust. Add 4-6 more cubes halfway through for more steam.
- Cook for 35 minutes until the bread is a nice golden brown.
- Let the bread cool before slicing.
When making these, do you butter the baguette trays beforehand?
You do not need to butter the baguette trays. The crust should not stick. Best, Cara
Mary Ann Giovannelli
Hi Cara - I just made this amazing bread today and it was delicious! The recipe called for 4-1/2 cups of Caputo, but I found the consistency was perfect at 4 cups. I measured the flour and water according to the recipe, so not sure why I only used 4 cups of flour instead of 4-1/2. Has this happened before or am I missing something?
PS - The family insists I make this bread at least a couple of times a week. Easy and delicious!
Thank you Mary Ann for the note! I will update the recipe to 4 cups. I think you are right since! So glad your family enjoyed it!
Hi! I was considering purchasing a baker’s clouche. How do you transfer the risen dough from the clouche to the baguette pan without deflating? I’m ordering the semolina now!
I love baking and anything with dough is particularly interesting to me. I have to try all bread recipes!
Your website is filled with recipes that my Sicilian husband would love. So glad I found it and can’t decide what to make first.
Hi Julie! The easiest way to transfer the dough is to pick up the couche at the ends with both hands and gently roll it off onto the pan. Good luck! I know you will enjoy this bread. Cooking for the ones you love is what it is all about.
Cara, I ordered the Caputo flour and made this - best bread I ever made. And my family commented on the crust - best crust I ever made. Thank you for this and all the other recipes. How do I freeze this bread, how long can I freeze it and what should I freeze it in?
Jim, I am thrilled you made it and liked it. Thank you for the feedback!
To freeze, I wrap the cooled loaf tightly in plastic wrap, then in foil, and then in a large bag. To reheat, remove the plastic wrap and put back loosely in the foil. Let thaw for a couple of hours and then heat in 350 oven for 10-12 minutes.