This is a lovely, light and crispy bread from Sicily. It brings back fond memories of Italy and I absolutely love it. It’s perfect served with pasta but also really good with anti pasti and your favourite tipple.
Sicilian Semolina Rolls
For the starter dough
10g fast action dried yeast
2 tsp caster sugar
60 ml warm water
For the dough
250ml warm water
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp molasses or honey
350g ‘00’ flour
150g fine semolina
1 egg, beaten with 2 tbsp water
4 tbsp sesame seeds
In a jug, stir the yeast and sugar into the water and leave until the yeast it’s frothy, about 10 minutes.
Pour the yeast mixture into a large bowl. Add the water and olive oil and stir in the flour, semolina, molasses and salt. Mix until it forms soft dough. You may need to add a little more water if the dough is too dry or a little more flour if the dough is too wet. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 8 – 10 minutes until smooth and elastic.
Place the dough into a large oiled bowl and cover with clingfilm or, I use a shower cap, and leave in a warm place until at least doubled in size. This will take between 1 – 2 hours.
Grease two baking trays. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work top and knead it gently for 2 minutes. Divide the dough into eight equal pieces and roll each peace into a 15cm long rope. Curl each rope in on each end until it resembles the letter S for Sicily and place on the baking sheets. Cover the rolls loosely with oiled clingfilm and leave to rise again in a warm place for 40 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan. Brush the rolls with the egg wash, sprinkle on the sesame seeds and bake the rolls for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 180C/160C fan and continue baking for another 15 minutes. The rolls should be a nice golden colour and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Leave to cool on a cooling rack.
You could make this as one large loaf but adjust the cooking time accordingly, 10 + 30 minutes.