When I was first introduced to semolina bread, I was in awe. I usually thought of semolina in terms of pasta but after trying it in bread form, I was hooked. The bread had a light golden color and a soft, fine crumb that craved to be toasted and buttered. Whenever I get my hands on semolina flour I always look forward to making a loaf that stands up to that vision.
This past week I went to a local grain store and purchased a few bags of different flours. Some bread flour, some wheat flour, and gladly some semolina flour. I was a little dismayed when the vendor wasn’t sure where the flours came from (I was hoping for some local flour milled in Pennsylvania) but nevertheless, home I went.
I fed my sourdough starter and adjusted a recipe from Jeffrey Hamelman’s “Bread” book for a semolina sourdough loaf. The recipe yields two loaves and is quite easy to make. If this is your first time using semolina, you’ll be surprised by how it transforms from granular flour to soft dough.
The items below will be helpful in your bake (and support the site)!
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- Begin the night before by feeding your sourdough starter.
- When your starter is ready, take 300g of it and put it in the bottom of your mixing bowl.
- Add the semolina and all-purpose flour to the bowl and then add the water.
- Mix at slow speed for about 5 minutes.
- Let the dough rest for 15 minutes.
- Add the salt and mix for 10 minutes longer.
- After the dough is well mixed, cover the mixing bowl with a moist towel and let it rest for about an hour.
- Punch down the dough and knead by hand for just a minute or two.
- Place the towel back on the bowl and let the dough proof for another 2-3 hours.
- When your dough is ready, divide it in two. Then shape and put in your baskets for the final proof.
- For this bake I did a 24-hour proof in the fridge. I think this worked perfectly for this loaf. Simply very lightly spray your dough w/ non-stick spray and cover with a plastic bag. Put in the fridge.
- Remove from fridge about 90 minutes before bake time. Pre-heat your oven to 500˚F.
- When the oven is ready, score the bread and load in to the oven. For optimal crust I recommend using a Le Cloche or other similar setup where you can trap the steam. A dutch oven works quite well as does a pizza stone with an inverted steel bowl for a lid but the Le Cloche is no-fail.
- Remove the lid after 15 minutes of baking and bake for another 10-15 minutes.
- Let cool and enjoy!
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