The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Playing with Semolina

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ldsheridan's picture
ldsheridan

Playing with Semolina

Hello All!  After my disappointing encounter with pumpernickel and deli rye, I decided I needed to drown my troubles in Semolina.  Again from BBA (it is the only bread book I own, being a very new bread baker) I wanted to try the Pugliese and the Pane Siciliano.

I was having a difficult time finding fancy durum in SF so the first Pugliese I made was from 100% KA bread flour.  (I would have sworn I took pictures of those loaves but I can't find them) In any event I was able to discern a different flavor to this bread and I really enjoyed it.  Then I discovered that the store where I usually buy my bulk products had extra fancy durum all along. But instead of using the name on the bags (from Giusto), they label it as fine semolina on the bin label.  Me being a complete tyro had no clue..  So then I decided to make up the difference by making Pugliese with 100% Extra Fancy Durum:

 

 

This is the first bread I've made that had holes this size.  My understanding is that the French and Italian bread formulas from BBA should have large irregular holes but mine always has a tight crumb.  Anyway this had a nice tangy taste but I believe I'll use the 50 - 50 bread flour/durum that BBA recommends.

Oh, and if there is a contest here on who is the world's worst bread scorer I want to enter!  I'm absolutely certain of winning first place.

Embolden by the Pugliese, I decided to tackle the Pane Siciliano.

 

Even larger holes.. although I have no idea if that's the way this crumb should look.  Also the crust looks shiny in the BBA book but so far my crusts never have a shiny look unless I give them an egg wash.  But I'm reading the hundreds of thousands of pages here and elsewhere and hope to achieve better success..   I find this bread lovely and perhaps my favorite so far..

Dennis

meirp's picture
meirp

But I'm a lot more generous with the sesame seeds. They're not only for decoration - they add a lot to the taste - and they're good for you too!

Meir

ldsheridan's picture
ldsheridan

I put the tray holding the loaves in the fridge. The next time I opened the door the tray fell on the floor. Sesame seeds were lost and I almost lost it..  but the floor was clean so I just put the loaves back in the fridge. My blood pressure took somewhat longer.

But how do you get that clear S shape, just like the picture in the BBA?  As you can see, mine sort of melded together so you can't tell what the hell it is.

-d

meirp's picture
meirp

so they came out pretty good all considering...you got to try it again without the floor being involved. The sesame is really good with the semolina.

Regarding the definition of "S" shape, I also followed the BBA instructions, but I think the difference is in the proofing time. I think it comes out better if you proof less. First, when it says to refrigerate overnight, it doesn't specify how long is a night. In my case, it was only about 5 hours. It also depends on the temperature of the fridge. Second, PR tells you to proof until it passes the "poke test", but it's easy to miss the ready mark - I think it's better to slightly underproof than to overproof, so try and stick it in the oven a bit earlier next time. The other thing to experiment with is maybe making the "S" shape tighter (i.e., stretching the dough slightly for more surface tension as you curl the dough). Plus a bit of luck helps (speaking for myself, I'm still learning).

Meir

ldsheridan's picture
ldsheridan

Yes, I've removed "deposit on floor" from the formula. I'll definitely be making this bread again and now that I've adjusted the formula I expect all the sesame seeds will remain on the loaves.

Thanks for the advice. I did the poke test first thing the next day and it did dimple. The loaves did appear to be about twice the size as well. But I waited maybe an hour or so because I wasn't sure how a cold pan with cold loaves would mesh with a 500° oven. Can you bake right out of the fridge?  I'll try to tighten things up next time..  Maybe a drier dough so that the sides won't tend to merge so much?

Thanks again meirp

-d