Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Hamelman's Semolina Bread

For my twenty second birthday I bought myself a pizza stone. I know you're wondering who in the world buys themselves a slab of earthenware to celebrate but I do! Can I just say, I AM SO EXCITED TO FINALLY HAVE ONE!!! Okay, got that out of my system. I was envisioning all sorts of properly browned and crusty breads and perfectly puffed pitas.... I finally decided that despite the diet, I was going to put it to use. I had been perusing Jeffrey Hamelman's excellent tome on bread baking, aptly titled Bread, and found a recipe for Semolina Bread. Seeing as I had semolina flour left over from my last trip to the health food store, I figured it would be a good place to start. And was it ever. The bread took about a day to make, starting with a sponge-- nothing too intimidating. Half way through fermentation, the dough gets a fold. That's about is fussy as it gets. I preheated the baking stone way before bake time and I can't lie, I was nervous that it would break but it didnt fail me. On the contrary, the even transferrence of heat gave it nice oven spring and a crust I never knew possible and opened my slashes so beautifully. I almost cried I was so delighted. Not only that, I knew I had a winner when I took the loaves from the oven and the loaves SANG!! I think I actually squealed at the time. Alot. I was beyond thrilled. I made my friends wait at least a half hour and I think the obligatory waiting time was worth it. The crust was so crusty and flavorful and delicious and the crumb a beautiful yellow. My friend S kept telling me that I outdid myself which I assumed to be a good thing :) This bread would be good with anything.. cream cheese, tomato sauce and pasta, jam... The sky's the limit. Oh. And did I mention how proud I am of myself?? This post goes straight to Yeastspotting!

Semolina Bread
adapted from Bread

Sponge:
1 1/2 cups semolina/durum flour
1 1/2 cups all purpose or bread flour
1 1/8 cups water
1 1/4 tsp instant yeast
1/2 tsp sugar

Dough:
2 1/8 cups semolina/durum flour
2 1/4 cups all purpose or bread flour
1 3/8 cups water
1 tbsp salt
3 tbsp canola or EVOO
All of the Sponge

In a bowl place all of the dry sponge ingredients
and whisk to combine.Add the water and blend really well. Set the sponge aside to rise for 1 1/4 hours.Here is the risen sponge. To the sponge, add the rest of the dry ingredients and the water,
and mix to make a shaggy dough. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface,
and knead until just smooth. You dont want to develop all the gluten because we will give it a fold later.
Place in a bowl to rise for an hour and a half.
Here is the dough at the forty five minute mark. Take the dough out of the bowl and place it on a floured surface.Pat it out into a rectangle and give it a letter fold.
Repeat in the opposite direction.
Here is the folded dough. Set it aside to finish its fermentation. When the rising is finished, turn the dough out onto a lightly dusted surface.Divide the dough into to pieces.
Shape the halves into rough circles and place them seam side up on a piece of parchment. Allow to rest for 10-20 minutes. At this point, preheat your oven to the highest temperature with the baking stone inside.Shape the rounds into tight balls and allow to proof. Proofing time really depends on your kitchen temp. Mine was shmoiling as usual so it happened faster than the recipe stated.Here are the nicely proofed loaves.Slash the loaves.My baking stone!!!!!! Anyway, load the loaves onto the baking stone and steam the oven. Bake at 460 degrees. Depending on your oven this should take between 35-40 minutes. Remove from the oven carefully and cool on wire racks. Wait at least 30 minutes before cutting! My glorious bread. Couldnt stop photographing. Cant you just hear that crust sing?

The lovely yellow crumb.

2 comments:

Susan said...

Yes, I can hear it! I love your choice of gift to yourself, and it clearly was the right choice. Beautiful!

Elra said...

Yes, I can see that you had fun photographing this bread. Unfortunately I can not hear it sing, lol. But, I can see how delicious it is!