Based on Pane Siciliano, a classic Sicilian sesame bread, these deeply golden twists with nutty sesame seeds and a nice chewy interior are an absolute cinch to make. There’s no kneading or mixer required; simply mix up the dough and let rest a few hours, then chill until ready to bake (the dough keeps for up to 2 weeks, so time is more than on your side).
I love these twists freshly baked with butter and jam (and experience tells me they also make a fine lunch when split and lightly toasted with a slather of peanut butter, sweet honey drizzle, and hearty shake of cinnamon). No matter how you enjoy them, you can never go wrong with freshly baked artisan bread.
- 1 1/2 cups (340 g) water
- 1 1/2 tsp Red Star PLATINUM Yeast
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups (212 g) durum semolina flour
- 1 2/3 cups (230 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- 1 tsp + 1/4 cup water
- 3 Tbsp sesame seeds
- Heat water in a microwave-safe measuring cup for 45 seconds to 1 minute, until very warm (120-130°F). Combine warm water, yeast, and salt in a 3-quart bowl or lidded (not airtight) food container. Gradually mix in flours with a dough whisk or wooden spoon, just until combined. Cover bowl loosely with plastic and let rest at room temperature for 2 hours, until the dough rises and flattens on top.
- After 2 hours, place the covered dough in the refrigerator to chill for at least 4 hours, or up to two weeks. When ready to bake, line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and dust with semolina flour. Flour board or counter well and dust refrigerated dough with flour. Use floured hands to quickly shape dough into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating dough as you go.
- Use a floured bench scraper to cut dough into four pieces; cut each piece into 3 pieces for a total of 12 pieces. Gently roll each piece into an 8-inch rope; shape into a twist and place on prepared baking sheet. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rest for 40 minutes; in the last 20 minutes, preheat oven to 450°F with an empty broiler pan on the lower rack.
- For the wash, combine cornstarch and 1 teaspoon water in a small bowl and whisk with a fork to form a slurry; whisk in 1/4 cup water. Microwave for 1 minute, until mixture appears glassy. Gently brush twists with wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
- Place baking sheet in oven and pour 1 cup hot water into broiler pan below, quickly closing oven door. Bake for 25 minutes, until twists are golden brown. Cool for 2 minutes on baking sheet before removing to cooling rack.