Jul 11, 2017

Scali Bread | #BreadBakers

Scali bread is a braided Italian style bread that is coated in sesame seeds. The interior is very light and fluffy and the crust is super soft.

Scali bread is a braided Italian style bread that is coated in sesame seeds. The interior is very light and fluffy and the crust is super soft.

Scali bread is perfect for breakfast toast and sandwiches. It also is wonderful served with dinner to soak up sauces and gravies.

Scali Bread is evidently a staple of the Italian American community in Boston. It's not just sold in bakeries, but in grocery stores as well. After trying it, I don't understand why it hasn't spread across the country!

Scali bread is a braided Italian style bread that is coated in sesame seeds. The interior is very light and fluffy and the crust is super soft.

This month, the Bread Bakers are baking braided breads, a theme chosen by Gayathri's Cook Spot. After the recipe, be sure to check out the rest of the braided breads from my bread baking friends.

I have lots of braided bread recipes on this site, including holiday breads, challahs, and even cheese filled braids. This time I wanted to make a "leaner" and lighter bread, a loaf without too much enrichment from eggs, oil, and/or butter. While I love enriched breads, they are usually best the day they are made, and seem to get stale fairly quickly.

I wanted a bread that would be equally comfortable being garlic toast or French toast! In other words, a sandwich bread, only way better.

Scali bread is a braided Italian style bread that is coated in sesame seeds. The interior is very light and fluffy and the crust is super soft.

Scali bread is a great substitute for everyday sandwich bread, and, because it includes a preferment, it's so much more flavorful. The first slice from a freshly baked loaf, slathered in butter, will make you do a happy dance.

This dough is somewhat sticky. I braided it directly on the parchment lined baking sheet so I wouldn't have to move it after shaping, in case it stuck to the counter. I'm pretty good an making a mess of my shaped loaf (or pizza for that matter) when I try to move it. Bless you parchment paper!

Note: you will need to plan ahead to make the preferment, but the timing is really flexible. I made mine around 5:30 pm the day before, and started the bread the next day at noon.

This Scali bread is also a wonderful bread to give as gifts, or sell at farmers markets. It stays fresh enough for sandwiches for at least a couple of days, and freezes very well. If you have any questions about baking this bread, leave a comment and let me know!


Scali Bread Recipe

Scali Bread Recipe

Ingredients

For the Preferment

  • 3 1/2 ounces (1/3 cup) all purpose flour
  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup) water
  • 1/8 teaspoon instant yeast

For the Final Dough

  • All of the preferment
  • 7 ounces (3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) water
  • 13 1/3 ounces (2 2/3 cups) all purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large egg, beaten with a tablespoon of water and a pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds

Instructions

Preferment:

  1. Stir all of the ingredients together in a medium bowl until combined. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 6 to 24 hours.

Final Dough:

  1. Pour the preferment into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the water and mix with the paddle attachment for about a minute. Add the flour, yeast, salt, sugar, and olive oil. Using the dough hook on low speed, mix until you have a cohesive dough with no dry flour.
  2. Increase the mixer speed to medium low and mix for another 8 minutes, until the dough is elastic and smooth.
  3. Place the dough into an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled, about 90 to 120 minutes.
  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray it generously with spray oil.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and divide it into three equal pieces.
  6. Pat and roll each piece of dough into a 10 inch rope, and place each rope onto the baking sheet, next to each other. Press the ends together, and then braid the strands. At the end of the braid, press the other ends together, and tuck both ends under the loaf. Using your hands or a bench scraper, tighten up the loaf by tucking the ends and sides under the loaf if necessary to even out the shaped dough. Cover the loaf loosely with oiled plastic wrap.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F with a rack positioned in the middle. Let the loaf rise until it is puffy but not completely doubled, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Brush the loaf lightly with the egg mixture, and sprinkle generously with sesame seeds.
  8. Bake the loaf until golden brown and the interior reaches 205 degrees F, 35 to 40 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet at 20 minutes. Transfer the loaf to a wire rack, and let it cool completely.
Yield: 1 loaf
Recipe adapted from Bread Illustrated: A Step-by-Step Guide to Achieving Bakery-Quality Results at Home

This month's Bread Baker's theme is Braided Breads and is hosted by Gayathri Kumar of Gayathri's Cook Spot Here is the collection of all the beautiful braided breads from our team.
#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our of lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the #BreadBakers home page. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to foodlustpeoplelove@gmail.com.
BreadBakers

Scali bread is a braided Italian style bread that is coated in sesame seeds. The interior is very light and fluffy and the crust is super soft.

38 comments:

  1. Hello Karen, I love Scali bread. It is my favourite. The crust of the sesame seeds that get toasted is just awesome. You bread looks beautiful. The crust and the crumb is perfect. Yes, I agree, first slice of the bread slathered with butter makes you do a happy dance :)

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    1. Yes, the toasted sesame seed are delicious, aren't they? Thank you so much!

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  2. Oh my YUM, Karen. This loaf has me actually drooling here.

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  3. I love breads coated with sesame seeds. They impart a wonderful flavour to the bread. Your scali bread has turned out so beautiful and the crust and the crumb look perfect..

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    1. Thanks so much and thank you for a great theme!

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  4. What a beautiful crumb on this bread. I can see how light and airy it is. Love this bread.

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  5. That is an excellent looking bread Karen! Perfect for soaking up the juices in a Horiatiki salad:):) Quick question: when you braid or prepare a loaf on parchment, do you dust it with flour as well (like you would do on the counter top)?
    Thank you for the amazing recipe!

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    1. I actually shaped the strands on a floured counter, and then moved them to an oiled parchment lined baking sheet, where I braided them. With pizza, I don't oil or flour the parchment. The sticking helps!

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    2. Great tips!:) Thanx so much Karen! xoxo

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  6. Love your description of making this loaf...it's pretty and I'm sure adelicious accompaniment to your meal.

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  7. Wonderful looking bread...... Sesame seeds on top makes it more beautiful......

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  8. Although I am not so a bread-butter-jam person for breakfast, I think this loaf is tempting me a lot ! perfectly baked, Karen ! am sure it pepped up your morning :-)

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  9. It looks absolutely wonderful, I love the smooth crumb and the stylish coating of seeds...

    once again, you baked a perfect example! is there any bread you cannot tackle? ;-)

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    1. Aww. Thank you. I still eed to re attempt Julia's 20 page recipe for baguettes. My original ones were basically flatbread! Please don't search my blog for them! It's an embarrassment. Or Susan's Pain au beaucaire.

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    2. That would be "need." =/

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  10. The crumb looks amazing and the braid is perfect. Have bookmarked it and will remember to braid it on the parchment paper as you have suggested... I too can make a perfect mess of a shaped loaf if I pick it up to transfer it to the tray.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Mayuri! It's so much easier.

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  11. This braid looks so beautiful and delicious!

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  12. I baked this today. It was spectacular! Thank you!

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  13. That is a perfectly baked braided bread. Beautiful crust, amazing crumb -- just perfect.

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  14. Replies
    1. I was super happy with it. Thanks!

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  15. wow, that is one pretty looking braid!! That crust and texture, too good!!

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  16. What a beautiful loaf of bread! It just looks so soft and fluffy inside and sesame seeds on bread are a favorite of mine.

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