Pane Siciliano

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 teaspoon active dry yeast or half tablet of fresh yeast
3 1/2 cups fine Semolina
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Olive oil
1/2 pound sesame seeds

Combine 1/2 cup of water, the yeast and 1/2 cup of the flour. Stir to dissolve and allow to ferment for 20 minutes.

Add remaining water, salt and as much of the remaining flour as needed and kneed on medium speed to create a ball of dough that is just slightly tacky and winds around the dough hook. Let dough rest in the mixer for 5 minutes, then kneed again.

Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl; cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise. When risen, punch down and place in a plastic container or bag and refrigerate overnight.

Remove the dough from refrigerator and transfer it to a bowl, cover and allow it to come to room temperature. 

Lightly flour a work surface and knead the dough for about 4 minutes, then shape into a 10 inch round and place on a parchment lined baking sheet or baking peel. Cover and allow dough to rise until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 450°F. 

If using a stone, place it in the oven and heat it 30 minutes prior to baking the bread.

Score the top of the dough with a lame, razor or sharp knife the letter of your initial.

Brush the top of the bread with olive oil and sprinkle the sesame seeds evenly over the top.

If using a stone, transfer the dough off the peel directly onto the stone with the parchment paper. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes or until the bread is nicely browned and sounds hollow when tapped. Half way through the baking, shimmy the parchment paper away from the dough.

If baking on a baking sheet, place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 25 to 35 minutes or until the bread is nicely browned and sounds hollow when tapped.

Transfer the bread to a wire rack and cool completely.