Pane Nero di Castelvetrano, the Recipe (with instant yeast)

This recipe is designed for all the home bakers that are starting to explore the fascinating world of bread making.  Are you not (yet!) familiar with sourdough starters and natural fermentation? The pre-ferment step is a trick our professional baker friends taught us, for using instant yeast in a way that allows for a slower fermentation and more complex aromas. For this recipe you can use any kitchen mixer at the slowest speed, or roll up your sleeves and do some old-fashioned (and therapeutic) hand kneading.

All of us have their personal version of the recipe for Pane Nero di Castelvetrano, all adapted from this one. In the end, bread making is something you learn with experience and by adjusting proportions and techniques each time. So go ahead, use this recipe as a guideline and feel free to give it your touch!

Ingredients

Step 1: the pre-ferment

200 g flour (Semola Rimacinata or Castelvetrano Flour)
0.6 g instant yeast (0.3%)
4 g sea salt (2%)
100 g water (50%)

Step 2: the Castelvetrano bread

1000 g Castelvetrano Flour
300 g pre-ferment (30%)
18 g sea salt (1.8%)
3 g instant  yeast (0.3%)
750 g water (75%)
Sesame seeds

Preparation

Total time: 5h

Step 1: the pre-ferment
Fermenting time: 2h

  1. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl forming a round piece of dough;
  2. Let sit at room temperature in the container, covered with plastic wrap for 2h.

Step 2: the Castelvetrano bread
Fermenting time: 2h
Baking time: 1h

  1. Preheat your oven at 485 F;
  2. Mix all the ingredients by hand for about 10 minutes. Dough temperature at the end of mixing should be 78-82 F (if lower, keep mixing);
  3. Let sit at room temperature in the container, covered with plastic wrap for 40’-50’;
  4. Divide into pieces of 500-600 g;
  5. Shape into round loaves pulling the edges of the dough up and folding them towards the middle;
  6. Cover a baking tray with parchment, place there the round loaves, cover with a towel, and let sit for 1h at room temperature;
  7. Sprinkle with sesame seeds;
  8. Bake at 485 F for one minute;
  9. Lower oven temperature to 400 F and bake until dark brown (about 1h).