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Scali Rolls

March 14, 2010

If there’s one thing that SoupAddict believes, it’s that gorgeous bread recipes should be shared. (That, and bacon is love on a plate.) Fortunately, the peeps at King Arthur Flour feel the same way (at least about the bread — not sure about their philosophy on bacon, although she suspects that their excellent taste in wheat products might just extend to salty pork). They’re as generous with their recipes as they are with their techniques. SoupAddict [hearts] KAF.

Scali bread, a staple in Boston, is a nutty, just plain delicious loaf. The rolls are even more delicious. SoupAddict realizes that makes no sense, since it’s all the same recipe, but somehow, the cuteness adds a litte sumthin’ sumthin’ that the peeps just love.

Start with the starter. It’s the right thing to do. Much like beginning at the beginning.
The next morning, the starter is slightly bubbly and entirely lovely.
Mix all the dough ingredients …
… until it all comes together in a soft, smooth ball.
Set the dough in an airtight container to rise.
It’s aliiive. ALIIIIIVE!
We’ll be making two braided loaves, from which the rolls will be cut. Divide the dough into six equal pieces. Roll each piece into a long, thin rope.
Whisk the egg white together with the water. A bit of cornstarch adds an extra glueyness to the egg glue that holds the sesame seeds in place. Don’t you just hate it when the seeds fall off as you’re munching? SoupAddict does, so she doesn’t skimp on the egg wash.
Brush three of the ropes with the egg white mixture and coat heavily with sesame seeds. Don’t be a skimper with the seeds. Sesame seeds do a body good.
Braid the three, unskimpily-sesame-seed coated ropes. Braiding is simple: channel your inner child and take the far left rope and drape it over the center rope.
The left rope becomes the new center rope.
Then take the right rope and drape it over the center rope (the right rope then becomes the new center). Repeat – left, right, left right.

When the braid is complete, tuck the ends under, all pretty like. Repeat with the other three ropes.
Divide each braid into six pieces, for a total of 12 rolls. Place them on parchment paper and let the yeast do its puffing thing again. Bake. And prepare to weep …
… with joy.
Scali Rolls
Lovingly Stolen from
Starter (night before)
1 cup King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/3 to 1/2 cup cool water, enough to make a stiff ball of dough
pinch of instant yeast
all of the starter
2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons Baker’s Special dry milk or nonfat dry milk
2 teaspoons instant yeast
2/3 cup lukewarm water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large egg white beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch (optional)
1/2 cup sesame seeds

1. To make the starter: Mix the starter ingredients together, cover, and let rest at room temperature overnight. Note: This is a dry, stiff starter. Dribble in sufficient water to make the dough come together, and proceed with the recipe as directed.

2. To make the dough: Combine the starter with the remaining dough ingredients, and mix and knead — by hand, mixer, or bread machine set on the dough cycle — to make a soft, smooth dough.

3. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl or large (8-cup) measure; cover, and let it rise for about 90 minutes, till it’s just about doubled in bulk.

4. To make one large loaf: Gently deflate the dough, and divide it into three equal pieces. Shape each piece into a rough log, and let the logs rest, uncovered, for about 10 minutes. This gives the gluten in the dough a chance to relax, which in turn will make the logs easier to roll.

5. Working on a lightly greased surface, roll each log into a rope about 24″ long. Brush each rope with the egg white/water/corn starch mixture, and sprinkle heavily with the sesame seeds, rolling the ropes gently in the seeds to pick up as many as possible.

6. Grab one end of each rope, and squeeze the ends together firmly. Braid the ropes, tucking the ends under to make a neat braided loaf.

7. To make rolls: Follow the directions above, but divide the dough into six pieces, rather than three. Roll each piece into a thin rope about 28″ long. Take three of the ropes, and coat with seeds and braid as directed above. Repeat with the remaining three ropes. The resulting loaves will be about 18″ long.

8. Cut each braid into six 3″ rolls. Squeeze the cut ends together to seal, and tuck them under.

9. Place the loaf on a large, parchment-lined (or lightly greased) baking sheet. Or space the rolls on a baking sheet. Cover the loaf or rolls with lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow to rise till very puffy, about 90 minutes. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 425°F.

10. Bake the loaf for about 25 to 35 minutes, till it’s a deep golden brown. The rolls will need to bake for about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven, and cool on a rack.

Yield: one large loaf, or 12 rolls.

  1. March 14, 2010 6:36 pm

    What a gorgeous braid you made! It almost seemed sad to slice it up – that is until I saw how sweet the finished rolls came out.

  2. PhyllisRyan permalink
    March 15, 2010 7:40 am

    KAF has been my source for bread recipes for years. They test and test so that the recipe is perfect when you use it. I love them. This looks so pretty I will have to start the starter today. Somewhere I my cupboard I have a bag of their mixed seeds. I am sure that they would also make a great roll.

    • SoupAddict permalink
      March 19, 2010 9:19 am

      Phyllis: I hope your rolls turned out great.

      Cher: That’s what I say every time I braid this. But the rolls are so cute, I just take a deep breath and slice away.

      Lentil: Challah (drool). The best excuse for french toast, ever.

  3. March 15, 2010 2:34 pm

    Looks like challah (but no butter or eggs here). Nice job.

  4. MaryJane @ KAF permalink
    April 12, 2010 3:05 pm

    You betcha we love bacon! Maple Bacon muffins were in the kitchen the other day, so I hope they will be making another appearance soon. Our beloved Andrea doesn’t eat of our friend the pig, but even she appreciates the smell of cooking bacon.

    Our receptionist Susan B. and I ❤ Soup Addict and can't wait to share your latest when we see each other. We are both going to be proud chicken mamas soon, so we talk chooks and soup!

    All the best!
    ~ MaryJane @ King Arthur Flour

    • SoupAddict permalink
      April 12, 2010 10:34 pm

      Chickens! I’ve been wishing I could raise free-range chickens, but we’ve got hawks and coyotes here, plus endlessly clever and nimble raccoons (one has even opened my screen door before, which requires pushing a button while pulling the handle – fortunately, we were both so shocked at meeting suddenly in the doorway, the little bugger took off in the correct direction, rather than into the house). Congratulations on the Spring Chicks!

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