Monday, April 16, 2012

Braided Italian Scali Bread

Scali Bread is the signature bread of Boston's Italian-American community. According to the book, the Scali family of Boston once specialized in this bread, which is now a fixture in grocery stores, bakeries and cafes in the area. It is light-textured, usually braided and sprinkled with sesame seeds. I have never heard of Scali Bread before this,  and now it is in my to-make-again list! 

This is one delicious bread!

This bread starts off with an overnight starter. Water, flour and yeast are mixed, covered and  leave for at least 12 hours or overnight. When it's ready (starter will rise and  have small bubbles), scrape into the bread machine pan, add in the rest of the ingredients, select Basic Dough cycle. I find that the dough is really wet, so I added in about 1/4 cup more flour to the bread pan. Once dough is ready, scrape the dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide into three equal sizes. Dough is very soft and sticky, I sprinkled more flour on work surface and on the dough. Flour your hands. Shape each piece into a 16" long roll. Make into a plait, it was quite difficult as the dough is really soft! Transfer the dough to the baking sheet, again is not an easy task! Covered, leave to rise for about 30 minutes. 

Once the dough has risen, brush with beaten eggs all over and sprinkled some sesame, pressing the seeds gently. Bake in a preheated oven at 220C for 25 minutes.

Leave to cool, then slice and enjoy!

This Braided Italian Scali Bread has a soft crust, with soft, moist and wonderful texture. The sesame seeds adds the nutty taste and fragrance to this lovely bread. I really like the crust!

I ate a slice, spread with some butter and raspberry jam, delicious! This bread is also suitable as a sandwich bread, may also be served with pasta or with soup. An all-purpose bread!

I'm sharing this with :

Braided Italian Scali Bread
(adapted from "The Artisan Bread Machine" by Judith Fertig)
1 cup all-purpose flour (I use bread flour)
1/2 cup water, at room temperature
1/4 tsp instant or bread machine yeast

1/3 cup lukewarm water
1/3 cup lukewarm milk
2 tbsp olive oil
1-1/4 tsp salt
2 cups all-purpose flour (I use bread flour)
2 tsp instant or bread machine yeast

1 large egg, beaten
2 tsbp sesame seeds

  1. Starter : In a bowl, combine flour, water and yeast. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for 12 hours or overnight.
  2. Dough : Transfer starter to the bread pan. Add water, milk, oil and salt. Spoon flour on top of liquid. Add yeast.
  3. Select the Artisan Dough or Dough cycle and press Start.
  4. When the cycle is finished, transfer dough to a floured surface and punch down gently. Divide dough into thirds. Roll each third into a 16-inch (40cm) long rope. Braid ropes together, tucking ends under. Place on prepared baking sheet. Cover with a clean towel and let rise for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425F (220C).
  5. Topping : Brush braid with beaten egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds, pressing the seeds into the dough.
  6. Bake for about 25 minutes or until risen and dark brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 190F (90C). Remove from pan and let cool on a wire rack.


  1. the texture looks very soft! so nice with butter! i must try to bake more bread!

  2. eileen@hundred eighty degreesMonday, April 16, 2012

    Looks soft and I like to spread butter and sprinkle sugar over it! Yummy!

  3. The bread looks awesome, very soft and it is besutifully braided..

  4. It must have been a weekend for baking bread. I made bagels yesterday with poppy seeds and sesame seeds on top. :)

    Your braid looks lovely with the sesame seeds sprinkled on top.

  5. It sure looks good! It reminds me of some sweet Greek breads that we are doing..
    Have a nice week my friend!

  6. What a gorgeous bread, Joyce. It looks light and airy and very tasty. I wanted to put sesame seeds on my bread too, but I didn't have any at home (grumble, grumble). I shall make the bread again on the weekend and hopefully remember to get sesame seeds for it.

  7. wow awesome bread dear....luv it! perfectly baked n clicks too!

  8. wow...super yummy bread...different 1 tooo...awesome..

  9. Oh my goodness...this looks so soft and tempting! I bet this is one that the kids would adore, as well. Lovely!

  10. despite you said that the dough is very wet, you hv managed to plait it so nice! i can see that you're having bread fever now! LOL!

  11. These bread looks great! Love the step by step tutorial of the making of these awesome bread! Wonderful! :)

  12. Braided bread always looks so pretty. Yours looks tasty as well!

  13. What a gorgeous bread! The texture looks so light and fluffy! Delicious!

  14. una delicia esponjosa te ha quedado muy lindo,abrazos hugs,hugs.

  15. I love everything about a homebaked bread - this one sounds like a winner to me!

  16. Looks Yum!It reminds me of some sweet Greek breads!I love it!!!
    Have a nice day my friend!!!

  17. Hola guapa tu

    m´encanta la teva cuina, un pa deliciós
    mil petonets Susanna

  18. What a marvelous loaf!!! The texture looks perfect and the braiding impeccable!!! So yummy~

  19. Oh my gosh! I am always looking for fantastic bread recipes. Pinning!

  20. This one is a keeper; I only hope mine would turn out a nice as yours.

  21. Amazing bread!Love its shape!greetings from Greece,dear!

  22. When we use to visit my relatives in Brooklyn, this was the bread we always bought at the neighborhood bakery! Oh what I wouldn't do to get past my yeataphobia:(

    Heavenly, Joyce, simply heavenly!

    Thank you so much for sharing...

  23. that was suppose to be "yeastaphobia," lol...

  24. Wow, that is awesome looking bread, Joyce - it looks so light and fluffy - I'm really impressed.

    Thanks for sharing at Cookbook Sundays.