Sunday, February 12, 2012

Semolina Sandwich Bread

I decided to make this bread because I had made bread the day before and I went and ate most of it. It was Friday and a weekend without fresh bread is a weekend not worth living.....So I made a simple straight dough. As luck would have it, Thursday morning I had gone to the local community co-op and picked up some semolina flour.  I got this flour because I wanted to conquer some of the semolina breads from Leader's book, Local Bread.  This chapter provides several formulas for the Altamura area and also provides formulas which use a semolina sourdough starter.  I am really excited about this and couldn't wait to get started.  
This bread is different, in that in contains 100% semolina flour.  To be honest, most of Leader's semolina breads do.  This is a new practice for me and the current loaf called for some tenderizing ingredients to combat the rough texture of semolina flour. This formula included both sugar and olive oil.  The olive oil weighed in at nearly 2 ounces, which is considerable for a one loaf recipe.

Semolina has a tendency to wreak havoc on gluten structure. In an effort to reduce this tendency, I took the pre-ground semolina and ran it through my mill 2 more times. I found that this really softened the flour.  I am not sure if I have mentioned this before, but I like to use semolina to help with the transfer of my loaves from the peel to my baking stone. When semolina is ground, it has a roundish shape, and I feel that using seminola makes the transfer much easier than the use of regular bread flour. It's almost like the loaf rides along a bed of "seminola wheels".  In addition, it adds a nice texture to the bottom of the crust.

Another thing to mention is that many bakers, including Daniel Leader, recommend the use of corn meal for dusting and for transfering breads into the oven. Personally, I do not recommend this. I find that corn meal actually tends to burn whereas semolina tends to brown, but does not burn. In my experience, the smell of burnt corn meal is terrible and is an absolute turn-off.  Although it costs a little more, I strongly recommend that you invest in some semolina flour. Even if you are just going to be using it for transferring your loaves, it is well-worth the extra cost. Anything done to remove the nasty smell of burnt corn meal from the baking process is a plus in my book. 

So I guess in order for me to finish this post I need to take a break and try this bread.

Well, I'm back and I am pleased with the result! The sugar and the oil really helped to create a very tender crumb. The crust is thin, which is a great change from what I have been baking as of late. I suggest that you slice this bread really thin. The crumb lends itself to really thin slices and with a bit of raspberry, apricot or fruit preserves....WOW!  The crumb is slightly dry but that is the nature of semolina and that is why the jam is so marvelous!

I really love this natural split this loaf got, I chose not to score it!

Look! I have a yellow crumb!

Another pleasing loaf with a lovely yellow color, here are some photos:
Bake ON!

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