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Just Just David and Pane Siciliano with a twist


Photographs by Elspeth Young
 As our work commenced on our late summer issue of The Storybook Home Journal, in the end we were too besotted by Eleanor H. Porter's endearing novel, Just David, to be satisfied by sandwiching it in between a summer anthology also starring the Miss Billy Books and Six Star Ranch. So we decided to adapt our editorial calendar to feature just-Just-David for our summer jaunt with Eleanor.  Miss Billy and Texas will simply have to wait while we go back to school with Anne Shirley, spend Christmas in the Alps with Heidi, and while away winter evenings with Rachel Ray.

While knee-deep in violin-mania, gorgeous gardens, perfectly pure interiors, and summer soups, we paused this morning for some Italian bread baking.  These loaves of whole-wheat-laced and black-sesame-seed-topped Pane Siciliano shaped in a traditional Occhi di Santa Lucia form are fresh from the oven, and were too delectable not to share with followers at the same time we spread the good news about doing Just David justice.  

Look for a Stradivarius in your mailbox in a couple of weeks!

Black Sesame Seed Pane Siciliano
by Nancy Young

Using black sesame seeds makes for strikingly handsome loaves, but regular sesame seeds are traditional and make for beautiful loaves as well.  The whole wheat adds an earthy richness, but go for white if you prefer--just add an extra 1/4 cup or so above the amount of whole wheat called for.  Makes 4 three-quarter pound loaves, recipe can be halved.
1 tablespoon yeast
3 cups warm water
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon salt
2 1/2 cups semolina flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 to 3 cups (or more) white flour

A little beaten egg
1/4 to 1/3 cup black sesame seeds

Black Sesame Seed Pane Siciliano by Nancy Young
In the bowl of a heavy duty mixer, proof the yeast in the warm water until foamy--about five minutes.  Add the remaining ingredients, using 2 cups of white flour to begin with.  Beat with the paddle until smooth, then add enough additional flour as necessary (half a cup or less at a time)  to create a slightly sticky, but smooth dough.  (You can change over to the dough hook  before beginning to add the additional white flour--but I rarely bother as I find the paddle keeps the dough lighter.)

Allow dough to rise until doubled--an hour or two depending on the strength of your air conditioning--then deflate and shape by cutting into fourths,  rolling each quarter into a long rope, and rolling opposite ends to create a sort of sinuous S-curve.  Finally, place on parchment-covered baking sheets.  Brush each loaf with the beaten egg and sprinkle 1-2 tablespoons over each.  Allow to rise again--about another hour.  Meanwhile preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

When fully risen, bake until a nice light golden brown, then remove and cool on wire wire racks.  Very nice with everything from cheese and soup to butter and honey or jam.

Tags: 2011, Recipes by Nancy Young

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