Well, in case anybody remembers, about a year ago I posted this. Well, the time of year has come again when the winter is over, and we have tons of left over semolina (we buy it to make porridge). A lot of water (and flour) has passed under the bridge since that naive attempt, and I had 2 other attempts (unpublished) before this, the final result.
Now, there seems to be some confusion surrounding semolina. Often it actually refers to fine Durham flour. But I mean the coarse grains. (Wikipedia has a good article and a nice picture of the grain.) This confusion means that finding recipes is hard, since (almost) nobody bothers to make the distinction. The purpose of this is to get rid of the semolina, but in a recipe that means something else.... that happened to me once. The result was edible, but only just. So, I decided to experiment, and thus finish the semolina. As a side result, I got a nice, soft, moist bread with a sweet flavor and an excellent crust.
So after a little trial and error (the 2 unpublished attempts) I arrived a good recipe, that I like. Unfortunately I didn't take pictures of the process, just the end result.
Semolina bread (one loaf)
- 1 cup coarse semolina
- 1 cup water
Mix together so you get a nice thick porridge. Depending on the size of your grains you may need more water. Let this mixture sit for at least an hour, but the longer, the better. This is to soften up the grains, and to prevent them from drinking all the water from your dough later.
- 1 tbs dry yeast
- 1 tbs honey or molasses
- 1 cup warm water (~40 C)
- 2.25 cups flour
- 1 tsp salt
Mix the yeast, honey and water together and let sit for 10 minutes or so, until it gets foamy. This is not strictly necessary for dry active yeast, but I like doing it because it smells nice. Alternatively, just follow whatever instructions necessary for activating your yeast.
Add the flour and salt (I used AP flour) and mix on low until a dough forms.
Add the semolina mixture and continue mixing on low until well mixed. Then mix on medium-high for a few minutes, until gluten starts to form. You'll notice at this point that the dough has much more of a batter consistency than dough. That's fine. It needs to be very wet because of the coarseness of the semolina. Keep mixing on medium-high until there is enough gluten. How much is enough? I don't know. Until it looks right.
Cover your bowl with plastic wrap or a wet towel or whatever you like to use and let rise for an hour. It won't grow very much in size, but it will add flavor.
Pour the dough into a well-greased loaf pan.
Preheat the oven to 210 C. When it reaches temp, put the bread in the oven and lower the temp to 180. Bake for half an hour. Watch the oven spring! It's magical.
Once a light crust begins to form (after 20-30 minutes) lower the temp to 150 C and bake for another 20-30 minutes, until golden-brown.
Remove from pan and cool on a rack. Serve warm.
I particularly like that the bread has a moist, spongy texture, and I somehow managed to get a nice even crust, with no sharp delineations between shades of brown.
As a final note, I arrived at this recipe via trial and error. I would like to thank my wife for being a good sport about the whole thing, and even eating the bread from the failed attempts. She said that the end result was worth it.