This Tuesday's Baking with Julia recipe and the second TWD bake for the month of July is the Semolina Bread by contributing baker Nick Malgieri. This is the second bread recipe of his that I've made the first one being his Old-Fashioned Raisin Bread which my entire family loved. I've also made various kinds of semolina breads before but this is the first time I made a version that makes use of only commercial yeast via the "flying sponge" method where all the yeast called for in the recipe is already added to a mixture of equal parts flour and water, allowed to ferment for about two hours, then eventually added to the final dough mix. I must say that I'm loving this sponge method in bread baking because of how super quick it is to whip up unlike other pre-ferments like a biga or poolish that takes about 12 or more hours to ferment.
|The top of the loaf generously coated with untoasted sesame seeds|
|I got good oven spring mainly due to the well-heated baking stone|
I deviated from the recipe a little bit by adding a little sugar to the sponge mixture (which speeds up its fermentation), adding about a Tablespoon of vital wheat gluten to the flour, and by shaping the loaf into a round loaf instead of a batard. I also couldn't resist but give the loaf a generous coating of sesame seeds just to give more flavor and crunch to the crust. A good technique that ensures the seeds will stick to the loaf is by dabbing the loaf first on a very damp, lint-free kitchen towel then immediately rolling it on top of a tray filled with raw sesame seeds. The flavor of the sesame seeds on this bread is amazing! I'd also like to note that I used extra-fancy durum flour/pasta flour instead of coarse semolina which, according to all of the books I've read, is more feasible for bread making.
One thing I also did differently was create a steamy environment inside the oven the first 20 minutes of the bake. This, in conjunction with a well-heated baking stone, results in a wonderful oven spring and oven bloom.
Overall, this was delicious and it is in fact, the best-tasting one out of all the semolina breads I've made. I now prefer semolina breads this way with no wild yeast whatsoever. I love the mild, creamy taste of the bread, the tenderness of the crumb because of the olive oil and the lovely yellowish hue from the durum flour. I actually just made a tuna melt with this bread and it was so good!
If you want to try making this Semolina Bread do check out our hosts' blogs -- Renee's The Way to My Family's Heart and Anna's Keep it Luce or better yet, get the book! :-)
*Submitting this post to YeastSpotting*