Sunday, January 17, 2010

Semolina and White Bread

Semolina flour is what's used in some pastas, but I really like the flavor and texture that it gives to breads. Ever since I discovered this little trick, I've been adding semolina to a lot of different bread recipes.

If I'm ordering other things from the King Arthur Flour website, I usually stock up on their semolina. Locally, I buy Bob's Red Mill semolina which is available at the supermarkets.

Today seemed like a good day to bake bread, so I starting throwing things into the bowl of the Kitchenaid stand mixer.

1 cup of whey, warmed in the microwave to take off the chill
1 yeast-spoon of yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 tablespoon honey crystals
2 scoops of semolina flour

Okay, this requires some explaining. The whey was left over from yogurt making. I strain it because I like a thick yogurt, and I keep the whey for making bread. The honey crystals are dried honey that I picked up at an Asian market. I'd never seen them before, so I had to buy. The scoops of semolina are because a keep a scoop in the container and I wasn't in the mood for measuring. Imagine it was about a half-cup or so.

I whisked it up, and left it on its own for a while. When I came back, I added:

1 1/2 cups (approximate) of King Arthur Organic Bread Flour
1 teaspoon Real Salt. (it's a brand name. It's pink. It's what was handy)

I mixed that with the paddle attachment until it was cohesive, then put in the dough hook and let it do its thing. It was a little stiffer than I wanted, so I rehydrated some dried potato buds in some tepid water -- maybe a half-cup -- and tossed that into the mix. I like to put mashed potatoes or dried potatoes into breads, sometimes, because it makes the bread nice and soft.

At about the time I had the buds mixed with water, I remembered I had scoops of leftover mashed potatoes in the freezer. Oh well. Silly me.

When the dough was shiny and stretchy, I added olive oil, a tablespoon or so, and let that incorporate, then covered it the bowl with plastic wrap and wandered off to do other things.

When I got back, it was well over twice the size. I floured the counter and got the dough out of the bowl and gently shaped it without doing a lot of extra kneading. The dough was very supple and soft. Not sticky-soft, but squishy-soft.

Sprinkled cornmeal on a cookie sheet, put the bread on the sheet, and wandered away. When I came back, the bread was just about perfect.

Uncovered it and got distracted again. Came back, sprayed the loaf with a baking-shine spray that I got from King Arthur Flour's website. It makes the bread shiny and helps things stick to the dough. Then I sprinkled it with sesame seeds, slashed it, and put it in the oven.

At this point, it had risen about as much as I could expect, so I figured I wasn't going to get a whole lot of oven spring, but the slashes did widen a bit in the baking. And the sesame seeds clung tight.

The finished loaf was quite pretty, but I forgot to take a photo right away. At least I remember before we'd eaten it all. Oh well. It's tasty.