Silvia Colloca’s Pumpkin Seed Rolls

Silvia Colloca's Pumpkin Seed Rolls -

We all have weaknesses. One of mine is that I tend to be quite impatient. That’s why, even though I adore homemade bread, I’m not going to babysit that dough for several hours!

Enter this week’s guest, Silvia Colloca, my go-to expert (the other one is Vittorio of  Viva la Focaccia) when it comes to bread making, including tips on cutting corners and reducing the waiting time.

Silvia Colloca - Italian food blogger, actress.

Silvia is hands-down one of the best Italian food bloggers out there: on Silvia’s Cucina, she shares lots of tasty, easy, healthy Italian recipes that she learned growing up in Milan from her mom and grandma. Just FYI, Silvia is also a successful movie and theater actress and mezzo soprano opera singer, trained at the prestigious music academy of Milan. For the past ten years, she has been married to one of the most beloved Australian actors, producers (and heart-throbs), Richard Roxburgh, and living in Sydney, where they are raising their adorable sons. Silvia somehow manages to do all of the above with remarkable grace and ease, and to look drop-dead gorgeous even when covered in flour.

Which, in theory, makes her one of those super-women we’d all like to hate: however, she also happens to be incredibly nice, modest, and laid-back, so you stand no chance: you are going to fall in love with her, and her delicious, authentic Italian food.

Silvia Colloca's Pumpkin Seed Rolls - for 2


I was overjoyed when my friend Alessandra asked me if I could write a guest post on her blog DinnerInVenice. Alessandra and I both started our Italian food blogs back in 2011. Like Ale, I am an Italian-born woman, recently emigrated to an English speaking country (Australia) and, just like her, I have been fascinated and enamoured with the bounty of local produce and diverse cuisines my new home-land has to offer. However, I could not help but miss my Bella Italia, the very scents of it, its flavors. My most unsatisfied craving was “real” bread, Il pane. Fragrant, crunchy and bronzed, with its inviting crackly crust and a moist and airy crumb.

Silvia Colloca's Pumpkin Seed Rolls - for 3

I have learnt to make it at home, from slow-proving sourdoughs to yeast-risen ones, for more immediate gratification. And every time a loaf is baking in my oven, I can simply close my eyes and smell my beloved Italy from my sunny Sydney kitchen.

Silvia Colloca’s Pumpkin Rolls

makes 6-8 rolls


  • 2 cups wholewheat flour
  • 1 cup high gluten flour (or all purpose, or 00 flour)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp dried yeast stirred into 300 ml (1 1/4 cup) lukewarm water
  • 1 tsp honey or barley malt syrup
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • milk or non-dairy milk for brushing
  • 2-3 handfuls shelled pumpkin seeds (or sunflower seeds)


1. Place the flour in a large bowl, add the water and yeast, honey (or barley malt syrup) and oil.

2. Knead onto a floured surface for 3-4 minutes, then add the salt and keep keading for 3-5 minutes or until the dough is smooth and soft.

3. Transfer the dough into a floured bowl and cover with a kitchen towel.

4. After 30 minutes, stretch the dough to shape a rectangle, then fold it into three and onto itself. Place the dough back in the bowl. Repeat a second time after 30 minutes. Folding the dough will ensure the softest, moistest crumb.

5. Prove the dough in a warm spot until it has doubled in size.

6. Shape the dough into 6-8 rolls, and place them close together on a baking tray lined with parchment. Brush the top with milk, or buttermilk (or non-dairy milk) and top them with the seeds. Rest the rolls covered with a kitchen towel for 30-45 minutes. In the meantime bring your oven to 200 C (390 F)

7. Bake the rolls for 30-35 minutes, or until crusty and bronzed, and until the bottom sounds hollow when tapped. Allow to cool at room temperature before eating.

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  1. The fragrance of homemade bread certainly is transporting. Nothing else is quite like it. I can’t smell them but these rolls look beautiful.

  2. I recently ate a challah that was very similar to this and loved it. Was just saying that I need to track down the recipe. Amazing. Going to try and turn this in to challah this week. Thanks!

  3. How much yeast goes in to the rolls? I don’t see it listed?

  4. Sylvia sounds like a fascinating woman! And she has great recipes, too. I can smell the bread already…and love the addition of the pumpkin seeds.

  5. Sylvia’s blog is great. But I have just one question: how does she fit it in with all the other interests in her life? Amazing. PS – I live in Sydney, Australia too so am familiar with her theatre work.

  6. Giordana says:


  7. Alberto says:

    Fantastico! C’era un panificio sotto casa mia che faceva dei panini croccanti al mais ricoperti di semi di zucca, una favola. Non il massimo per la linea, visto che arrivavo sempre a casa col sacchetto vuoto. Poi hanno chiuso e non sono riuscito a trovarli da nessun’altra parte. Adesso una domenica mi metto d’impegno e provo a fare questi.

    • Anch’io ricordo un paio di panifici tali che il pane finiva prima di arrivare a casa; per fortuna uno era in un posto di montagna in cui ero in vacanza con i miei genitori per un mese, e l’altro in Umbria vicino al lago di Panicale. Quindi abbiamo avuto solo il tempo di metter su un paio di chili! Qui a New York finora non ho trovato niente di davvero irresistibile e riesco sempre a fermarmi al secondo panino.

  8. What a delight to be featured on your blog! Grazie davvero per avermi ospitata… aspetto il tuo guest post!
    Ciao a tutti

  9. Beautiful! I love baking homemade bread and this recipe looks absolutely delicious. I’ve never thought of incorporating pepitas on top of the bread before. What a wonderful & creative idea. Thank you for sharing! 🙂

  10. I try to make fresh rolls every week for Shabbat. There’s nothing like home made, fresh bread! My family and guests devour them. These look just amazing… can’t wait to try them! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  11. Delicious! I can smell them through the screen!

  12. There are no words for how incredible this bread looks! I am so excited that can make it in my own home. My family is gonna go nuts for the pumpkin seeds!

  13. I want to reach into my screen and bite these… they look amazing.

  14. I love love love baking bread. I wish I was better at it. These rolls look amazing!

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