If there’s one thing that SoupAddict believes, it’s that gorgeous bread recipes should be shared. (That, and bacon is love on a plate.) Fortunately, the peeps at King Arthur Flour feel the same way (at least about the bread — not sure about their philosophy on bacon, although she suspects that their excellent taste in wheat products might just extend to salty pork). They’re as generous with their recipes as they are with their techniques. SoupAddict [hearts] KAF.
Scali bread, a staple in Boston, is a nutty, just plain delicious loaf. The rolls are even more delicious. SoupAddict realizes that makes no sense, since it’s all the same recipe, but somehow, the cuteness adds a litte sumthin’ sumthin’ that the peeps just love.
Start with the starter. It’s the right thing to do. Much like beginning at the beginning.
The next morning, the starter is slightly bubbly and entirely lovely.
Mix all the dough ingredients …
… until it all comes together in a soft, smooth ball.
Set the dough in an airtight container to rise.
It’s aliiive. ALIIIIIVE!
We’ll be making two braided loaves, from which the rolls will be cut. Divide the dough into six equal pieces. Roll each piece into a long, thin rope.
Whisk the egg white together with the water. A bit of cornstarch adds an extra glueyness to the egg glue that holds the sesame seeds in place. Don’t you just hate it when the seeds fall off as you’re munching? SoupAddict does, so she doesn’t skimp on the egg wash.
Brush three of the ropes with the egg white mixture and coat heavily with sesame seeds. Don’t be a skimper with the seeds. Sesame seeds do a body good.
Braid the three, unskimpily-sesame-seed coated ropes. Braiding is simple: channel your inner child and take the far left rope and drape it over the center rope.
The left rope becomes the new center rope.
Then take the right rope and drape it over the center rope (the right rope then becomes the new center). Repeat – left, right, left right.
When the braid is complete, tuck the ends under, all pretty like. Repeat with the other three ropes.
Divide each braid into six pieces, for a total of 12 rolls. Place them on parchment paper and let the yeast do its puffing thing again. Bake. And prepare to weep …
… with joy.
Lovingly Stolen from KingArthurFlour.com
Starter (night before)
1 cup King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/3 to 1/2 cup cool water, enough to make a stiff ball of dough
pinch of instant yeast
all of the starter
2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons Baker’s Special dry milk or nonfat dry milk
2 teaspoons instant yeast
2/3 cup lukewarm water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large egg white beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch (optional)
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1. To make the starter: Mix the starter ingredients together, cover, and let rest at room temperature overnight. Note: This is a dry, stiff starter. Dribble in sufficient water to make the dough come together, and proceed with the recipe as directed.
2. To make the dough: Combine the starter with the remaining dough ingredients, and mix and knead — by hand, mixer, or bread machine set on the dough cycle — to make a soft, smooth dough.
3. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl or large (8-cup) measure; cover, and let it rise for about 90 minutes, till it’s just about doubled in bulk.
4. To make one large loaf: Gently deflate the dough, and divide it into three equal pieces. Shape each piece into a rough log, and let the logs rest, uncovered, for about 10 minutes. This gives the gluten in the dough a chance to relax, which in turn will make the logs easier to roll.
5. Working on a lightly greased surface, roll each log into a rope about 24″ long. Brush each rope with the egg white/water/corn starch mixture, and sprinkle heavily with the sesame seeds, rolling the ropes gently in the seeds to pick up as many as possible.
6. Grab one end of each rope, and squeeze the ends together firmly. Braid the ropes, tucking the ends under to make a neat braided loaf.
7. To make rolls: Follow the directions above, but divide the dough into six pieces, rather than three. Roll each piece into a thin rope about 28″ long. Take three of the ropes, and coat with seeds and braid as directed above. Repeat with the remaining three ropes. The resulting loaves will be about 18″ long.
8. Cut each braid into six 3″ rolls. Squeeze the cut ends together to seal, and tuck them under.
9. Place the loaf on a large, parchment-lined (or lightly greased) baking sheet. Or space the rolls on a baking sheet. Cover the loaf or rolls with lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow to rise till very puffy, about 90 minutes. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 425°F.
10. Bake the loaf for about 25 to 35 minutes, till it’s a deep golden brown. The rolls will need to bake for about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven, and cool on a rack.
Yield: one large loaf, or 12 rolls.