Italian Bread with Sesame Seeds a/k/a. Scali
Convert the recipeto
Recipe by: Chef John V.
1 3/4 cup water, 110 degrees F
3 cups bread flour
This will be a very stiff dough, needing a lot of
mixing and it will be slow to rise. (Important note* Flour varies in
moisture content with the seasons and where you live. In
winter the humidity is less and so is the moisture
content of the flour and the reverse, is when in
the summer, it is humid and the flour is moister.
This very much affects this particular recipe. The work
around is to add a bit more water in the winter and a
little less in the summer. Never add more than a few
tablespoons, as the dough should be very stiff but it
should come together in a ball after mixing.)
Combine the first four ingredients and mix together well. (This is a sponge, a mixture that helps the yeast develop and increase volume during baking.) Let the mixture sit covered with plastic wrap until very bubbly and it falls back on its own, about 20 to 30 minutes depending on the room temperature.
Add the next four ingredients and mix by hand or on a mixing machine with a dough hook for
14 minutes at low speed.
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F. Beat the egg white with the water and set aside.
After the rising process, place the dough on a floured surface and divide in two equal pieces. Now divide each ball in three. Roll the pieces into 3/4 inch by 18 inch strips. Place 3 strips parallel with each other and 2 inches apart. Pinch the dough together at one end and begin to braid the dough. If you don't want to braid the dough you may form the dough into two round loaves. Place the loaves on greased baking sheets. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise for 40 minutes. Carefully and slowly remove the plastic wrap, brush the dough with the egg white mixture all around and sprinkle liberally with the sesame seeds. *(Note if you have formed round loaves---Make 4 deep slashes with a razor blade or sharp knife across the top of the dough, being careful not to tear and deflate the dough.)
Place in the pre heated oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, or to an internal
temperature of 200 degrees F. Note* turn the baking pans around after 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on wire racks. Enjoy when slightly cooled with your favorite Italian dish and Virgin Olive oil.