Thursday, January 28, 2010

Golden Semolina Bread

My mill is still not back from the repair shop, and I am beginning to get twitchy from a lack of whole grains. I used the last few scraps of wheat flour up a week ago. I was hankering for some homemade bread, though, and decided to experiment with using a higher proportion of semolina than I have before. Semolina is coarsely ground durum wheat, so it is a whole grain. It has a fine sandy texture to it, so it'd be difficult to make something with that as the sole flour, but it adds such a nice sunshiney flavor and color that I often add a 1/4 or 1/2 cup to pizza and roll doughs. I buy mine in bulk from Kitchen Kneads in West Jordan where it is far more economical than purchasing a one pound bag at the grocery store. If you don't live in Utah, you may be able to find it at places like Whole Foods or any store that carries bulk grains.

Anyway, I completely made this recipe up from scratch. I went easy on the yeast because I like the texture of breads that rise a little more slowly. The dough was very easy to handle during kneading (I do all my doughs by hand by choice and necessity - I don't have a mixer, but I also love to feel it come together) and much less sticky than other doughs I usually work with. The kids totally raved about this bread. The crumb is soft, the texture wonderful. I have to confess that it took longer to rise than I was prepared for, so I actually formed it into three mini loaves so I could knock 10 minutes off the cook time. It worked out nicely. For the quantities listed here, you can either make one regular sized loaf or three minis, and it should be able to be doubled without any problems.

Golden Semolina Bread

1 1/3 c. warm water
2 t. active dry yeast
3 T. butter, melted
4 T. honey
3/4 t. kosher salt
1 1/2 c. semolina flour
1 1/2 - 2 c. unbleached all purpose flour

In a medium mixing bowl combine the water and yeast and let sit for a few minutes until the yeast is dissolved. Stir together the butter, honey and kosher salt and add to the water and yeast. Stir in the semolina flour, then let this mixture sit for about 10-15 minutes or until it begins to rise and bubble.

Stir in enough all purpose flour until the dough begins to form a glob, then sprinkle a generous amount on top and knead it in, adding more flour as necessary until the dough turns into a smooth and elastic ball, about 5-6 minutes.

Drizzle a small amount of oil over the dough, then turn to coat the dough ball and the bowl. Cover with a towel and let rise until doubled, 70-90 minutes. Dump out onto a very lightly oiled work surface and gently stretch out into a square. Fold it into fourths, then press it into a rectangle as wide as your loaf pan and three times as long. Roll up jelly roll style and pinch to seal. Place in the pan and let rise until nearly doubled again, about 20 minutes.

Bake in a 375 degree oven for 30 minutes, or until nicely golden brown. If doing mini loaves, bake for 20-22 minutes. Immediately remove to a wire rack to cool. Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.


dining table said...

This is nice bread! I like the color and it looks pretty stuffed. No air inside.

ejemory said...

I would happily grind you some grain! Beautiful loaf of bread. Mmmmm, I think I feel the need to bake tonight.

Nurse Heidi said...

Thanks for the offer, Jerrianne. I was most pleased to finally get my mill back late last week, so stay tuned for experiments with grains!

This picture turned out a tad more yellow than the bread is in real life thanks to flourescent lighting, but it really is a lovely golden loaf with a nice soft crumb. I used a variation of this dough to make some rolls that were awesome - hopefully I'll get it posted later this week. Things are busy right now so I'm a bit behind on food blogging :).

Té la mà Maria - Reus said...

very good blog, congratulations
regard from Reus Catalonia
thank you

Amy S. said...

Heidi, I'm finally getting around to trying this today because it's Passover here and I can't be any bread products. :)
One question - what's the purpose behind stretching it out, folding it up, pressing it, and rolling it up (verses punching it down and forming it into a loaf shape)?
Thanks in advance!

Nurse Heidi said...

Amy, it should be fine for you to form it however you're accustomed. I simply form it the way my mom taught me :). I find that by folding it over a couple times then rolling it, it mixes the folds in better and you're less likely to get spiraly falling apartness, if that makes sense. I also find that if I accidentally put too much oil in the bowl to coat the dough while it rises, that can interfere with the dough sticking together as it cooks, and I'll get a seam all the way through the loaf that breaks apart as I cut it. So go easy on the oil - just enough to keep it from drying out - and form it however it works for you. I have another dough recipe that I love for round loaves that has you rise it to double, flop it out and stretch it into a big square, fold it in thirds both directions, then let it rise again before forming the loaves. If you have the time, that works out nicely too. It's a low yeast/slow rise recipe.

Amy S. said...

Sorry to bother you again, but I just have to tell you how much I love this bread. I am making my third loaf right now for a very pregnant friend of mine.

I've tried doing a couple of different things to it that I really like. Instead of the all-purpose flour, I used mostly wheat. I also added 2 tsp. dough enhancer, and 2-3 Tbsp. milled flax seed. DELISH!
I also love how much easier it is to knead this by hand compared to other homemade breads. I always find it so hard to add enough flour that it's not too sticky, but not add so much that it turns into a brick. This dough is so easy to work with.

I will think of you every time I make this bread. :)

Nurse Heidi said...

Awesome, Amy! Thanks for the feedback! I agree that this is a particularly nice bread to knead. I knead all of my doughs by hand because I don't have a mixer, but honestly, after using my sister's mixer, I think I prefer it still.

I've become quite fearless about changing things around in my old standard recipes, trying different grain mixes and such. It's fun! I'm glad to see that you felt the freedom to do that yourself :).