Pane Nero di Castelvetrano, the Recipe (with sourdough starter)

Since we started importing ancient Sicilian flours from Filippo Drago’s mill in Castelvetrano, we have watched many different bakers (from Sicily to Torino, from the Bronx to Detroit) bake their versions of Pane Nero di Castelvetrano (Black Castelvetrano Bread). We’ve learned firsthand that despite being a rigorous scientific process, bread is also an art, and that the creative touch of the baker can make a huge difference! You have to take into consideration all the conditions around you, the temperature and humidity of the room, the acidity of the sourdough starter, the freshness of the flour. This recipe is designed for bakers with a sourdough starter (lievito madre), a mixer, and a professional oven. We invite you to use this recipe as a guideline and shape yours according to your baking habits, fermenting techniques, and weather status!

Ingredients

Castelvetrano flour (1kg)
300 gr of liquid sourdough (30%), or 200 gr of solid sourdough (20%)
18 gr of sea salt (1.8%)
750 gr of water at room temperature (75%)
Sesame seeds

Preparation

  1. In a dough mixer, pour flour, sourdough starter, salt, and 70% of the 525 gr of water.
  2. Mix at the slowest speed, pouring the remaining 30% water little by little.  The temperature of your dough should be between 78°F and 82° F.
  3. Let the dough sit at room temperature for 1 hour, covered.
  4. Make a fold, then keep it covered for another 30 minutes.
  5. Divide the dough into 500-600 gr pieces, shaping each section into a round loaf.
  6. Put the loaves on a tray, cover, and let sit for 2 hours.
  7. Place loaves touching each other and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  8. Bake at 465-485°F with light steam for 30 seconds.
  9. Let the steam out for 1 minute.
  10. Lower oven temperature to 390-410 °F and bake for about one hour, until dark brown.