Saturday, July 22, 2006

Pane Siciliano Mafalda – Sicilian Bread White Bread with Sesame

There are some things that leave an impression, that remind of a moment, a place or an experience. It can be a song, a smell, a sound, or an image. Sicily is a beautiful place, rich in culture and tradition. Scenic views of green valleys and mountain slopes covered with vineyards and olive groves. The Mediterranean Sea envelops the Island with blue and turquoise waters lapping soothingly along the beaches. A mild climate year round makes Sicily a fantastic vacation destination able to rejuvenate and replenish both body and soul.

Early in the morning, with cappuccino, bread, in the form of a snake on a stick, with sesame seeds covering the top arrives at the table. Golden in color and a soft crust, the aroma of fresh bread permeates the air. We tear the bread open to reveal the soft and cushiony interior. Slowly I spread the fresh fig jam and give a piece to Raffaella. The baked Sesame seeds covering the crust give just a hint of roasted peanuts. Every time I prepare Malfada, the Sicilian white bread, Raffaella asks me what I am thinking. Amazed that she recognizes that I am off in another land, I ask why.

“The smile on your face,” is her usual response.

Yes, I relive, with pleasure, the trips to Sicily, different scenes, but always with satisfaction and Mafalda triggers my voyage.

Mafalda is perfect for breakfast with jam, lunch with Mortadella or Salami, and dinner with cheese. Simple, home bread, prepared over the centuries by the Matriarch of the Sicilian household, Mafalda is Sicily, its sea breezes, mountains, valleys and wines.

Mafalda requires flour of durum wheat. If you are unable to procure durum wheat locally, purchase durum wheat pasta semolina. This is available in most supermarkets. Measure the desired weight and place in a food processor or blender. Grind until very fine.


3 cups (400 gr.) durum wheat flour
¾ cup (110 gr.) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 ¼ cups (310 dl.) warm water
1 tsp. sugar
1 package (7 gr.) active dry yeast
1 tbs. Malt
1 ½ tsp. Salt
Olive oil to grease the bowl
Sesame seeds

Dissolve the sugar in the warm water. Stir in the dry yeast. Let the yeast stand for 10 minutes until creamy.

Place the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add the yeast-water liquid. Knead energetically for about 10 minutes.

Grease a large bowl with the olive oil. Model the dough into a ball and place in the bowl. Roll the ball around in the bowl so the entire surface of the bowl is covered with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and a towel. Let the dough rise for 1 hour

Place the dough on a lightly floured hard surface. Divide the dough into two parts. Roll the dough into long tubes.

Lay the roll out on the work area in a serpentine leaving enough space at the end of the roll to cross over the top of the serpentine for the entire length.

Brush the top of the form with water and cover the entire surface with sesame seeds. If you are able to without breaking the form, turn the forms upside down to allow the pressure of the dough to press the sesame seeds into the dough. Leave upside down for 5 minutes, turn over onto a baking pan covered with parchment paper and let rise, covered with plastic wrap or a damp towel for another 90 minutes.


Preheat the oven to 410 degrees. Spray the sides of the oven with water from a spray bottle. Be careful, steam will be immediately created and can burn you. Bake for 10 minutes, turn the heat down to 375 and bake for another 15 minutes. Remove the baking pan and allow the bread to cook another 15 minutes. Cool on a rack.


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

sounds like a little bit of heaven :)

10:37 PM

Blogger Alfonso Cevola said...

reminds me of my time there as a young boy...

6:45 AM

Blogger Travel Italy said...

Jennifer It is a really good bread made better by some great experiences in Sicily! Both worth a try.

IWG Young boy, could not have been more than 5 years ago.

10:41 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The sesame seed bread looks so good. I will try to make it. Thanks for the recipe.

3:04 PM

Blogger Dianne said...

Sicily is the place of my memories and my dreams ... I just love the place! Great blog!


11:56 PM

Blogger Travel Italy said...

Suanne Thanks for stopping by. I hope you will try it and let us know how it turns out for you.

Dianne Thank you for the kind words. Dianne blog A Gluten-Free Journey covers some truly interesting topics.

3:20 PM

Blogger Baking and Books said...

Those look delicious! I love a man who can bake. :)


2:04 PM

Blogger GollyGumDrops said...

How about the fig jam recipe? Fig jam on soft Italian bread is just plain heavenly!

7:17 AM

Blogger Travel Italy said...

Muttering Muse They are really good, and from all us men who bake, Thank you!!!

GollyGumDrops I can do that. I must admit that I follow traditional Italian recipes even on jams which means about 1/2 the sugar most people are used to. I had fig trees for many years and fig jam is really good!

7:31 AM

Blogger M. Graeber said...

I lived in Sicily for 17 years, this was my favorite bread. I am using your technique to make this for Easter dinner tonight.
Will let you know how it works out, thanks for the blog.

1:52 PM


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