The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sesame Semolina Braid

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varda's picture
varda

Sesame Semolina Braid

 



Sometimes it's all about the flour.   I have two bags of flour in my cupboard that I've been dying to use.   One is a 00 flour that I unexpectedly found carried by an store in the center of town.   Lexington, Massachusetts isn't exactly a food town.   The only bread bakery in town carries vast yeasty undercooked loaves that make me gag.   And an Italian grocery / sandwich shop has been there for 2 years without me ever setting food in it.   I simply didn't believe it would be worth my while.   It was.   Ergo 00 flour - surprise, surprise.  The second flour was a bag of semolina that I picked up on my food excursion to Watertown in an Armenian grocery.   I didn't need it - I already had two bags of semolina at home.   Ah well, I buy flour like some people buy shoes.   I know that 00 flour is for pizza.   At this point I really know it since I made pizza dough the other day and handed it off to the resident pizza chef and it was really remarkable - crisp and light.  But I wanted to make bread.    And came upon a recipe on King Arthur - http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/sesame-semolina-braid-recipe - that uses both KA Italian Style flour and semolina.   I had to try it.   I converted to weight and metric and made a few more changes - I am reducing salt by around half nowadays for health reasons in all my breads; added more water than called for just to get the dough to adhere; and used 00 instead of the Italian style.   Here is the formula:


 

00 flour

239

60%

 

 

Semolina

161

40%

 

 

yeast

7

 

 

 

salt

4

1%

 

 

non-diastatic malt powder

20

 

 

 

Olive oil

25

 

 

 

water

241

67%

 

 

sesame to sprinkle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mix all ingredients but sesame and knead for 5 minutes

 

(used Kitchen Aid for kneading)

 

 

 

Bulk ferment in bowl until puffy

 

 

 

Cut in three sections, roll out, and braid

 

 

Cover and proof until double

 

 

 

Spritz with water and sprinkle with sesame seeds

 

 

Bake for 27 minutes at 400 with some steam at the beginning

 

 

 

 

 

I forgot the step in the original where the dough rests for 30 minutes between mixing and kneading.  

This results in a soft tender bread which has the subtle flavor of its flours.   Not flashy, but really good.   Also quite a large loaf - fifteen inches long.

And the flour:

 

Comments

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Nice braiding, crust and crumb.


David

varda's picture
varda

Thanks David!  It's a nice break from the  slow rising chewy breads I've been making.  Commercial yeast is an awesome invention.   -Varda

Syd's picture
Syd

Just lovely, Varda.  Wow! Everyone seems to be baking with semolina this weekend.  Sue, Breadsong and you!  Did you guys plan this or was it a coincidence?! Lovely even braiding.


All the best,


Syd

varda's picture
varda

Thank you Syd.   And I guess you caught on to our little international conspiracy.   -Varda

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hello Varda - a very nice braided loaf - and hope you enjoyed the sesame/semolina flavors as much as I did with my loaf.
from breadsong

varda's picture
varda

but completely different types of bread.   It was tasty, and my husband, who (happily) tolerates my chewy hearth breads, scarfed this down in an instant.   Thanks for your comments.  -Varda

kim's picture
kim

Hi Varda,


Your bread encourages me to go to nearby Italian grocery store to pick up tipo 00 flour and semolina flour since I can not get fancy durum flour at my local co-op. Thanks


Kimmy


 

varda's picture
varda

Hi Kimmy,   I like baking with semolina.   It gives the bread a nice full body without being too heavy.   And  the taste is great.   In your hands (I just saw your beautiful croissants) I'm sure you will be able to make something terrific.   -Varda

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD

and I am anxiously awaiting a call from our local Mennonite store that my 50 lbs bag has come in from Pennsylvania. Will be much less expensive than the local 2 lbs boxes in the expensive grocery store (only one out of about 6 stores here carries it). 

Varda, your braid looks awsome, I am already considering figs and almonds or dates and hazelnuts or .....

:)

Anna

 

varda's picture
varda

are you getting semolina or durum flour?   So glad you reminded me of this bread.   I've only made it once but as I recall it was quite tasty.   Good luck!  -Varda

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD

and to put all this flour to good use, just now ordered a hand-crank pasta maker, my husband is moaning, "his" garage space is getting smaller and smaller....

 

lynnebiz's picture
lynnebiz

Good call, Annaln! There is nothing like handmade pasta - I think after all your good bread & pasta making, he'll be thankful for giving up a bit of his garage space. :D

Lynne

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD

grin grin ...

lynnebiz's picture
lynnebiz

Beautiful loaf, Varda - I've been craving good scali bread (the bread of my half Italian heritage/childhood, btw)! I'm tempted to go out & buy some white flour so I can give this a try - I have enough semolina in the freezer, so I'm halfway there already. I don't have any malt powder, so I'd just leave that out.

I discovered that there's an Italian food shop right on Moody St., further up from the India Market I've visited. I keep forgetting to go there - looks like I need a visit pronto to see if they have some of that 00 flour!

varda's picture
varda

I already have it on my "to do" list to go to the Indian store on Moody you told me about.  Now clearly I have to add the Italian store as well.   With both you and Anna picking up this thread, I'm going to have to make this loaf again.   It was really good.   But I didn't know it was Scali.  -Varda

lynnebiz's picture
lynnebiz

I'm on my way now - I'll let you know if they have any of the 00 flour. If they don't, I'll just pick up some bread... will resist temptations there... (and will keep repeating this to myself along the way, lol).

I looked it up - it's the Salem Food Store at 468 Moody St. in Waltham. Man, I love living here!

(and yes - I bet King Arthur just adjusted the name to reach more people - but that is the scali bread I grew up eating as  a kid!)

Lynne

lynnebiz's picture
lynnebiz

No flour at the Salem Food Store (was wondering if they ever had a place in the North End of Boston... Salem St... but didn't ask). They had small bags of semolina, corn flour & just the regular (Gold Medal) variety. They carry mostly cold cuts and cheeses - all looked AMAZING, but I'm not eating that stuff (at least not right now). Nice little place, but I can get to the North End just as easy.

I ended up forgetting to look for sesame seeds at the India Market & walking to Hannaford's instead (which is WAY longer by foot than it seems when driving by!). Picked up a bag of bread flour, best I could do for now - and will see how it turns out.

 

varda's picture
varda

you can get small bags of 00 flour in Lexington at a little Italian sandwich shop on Waltham St.  right in Lexington Center.   I don't know if you ever get up this way.   I haven't done any flour shopping in the North End which isn't anywhere near as Italian as it used to be.   -Varda

lynnebiz's picture
lynnebiz

No, I never get to Lexington. Going to wait awhile for the 00 flour anyway, as I need to get back on board with my weight loss goals. If I could store a huge amt, I'd try some restaurant supply places - and yes, the North End is not all that Italian. Still, Polcari's is still there, so I'd call to see if they had any - or if they could order some. Maria has passed away (owner), but her kids still run it & I think they're awesome.

For those not in the Boston area, this store is called Polcari's Coffee, but it's really a little Italian grocery of sorts, carrying all sorts of baking supplies. Never tried the coffee as I roast my own, and I don't like how they store it - or their lack of specific info on the beans, but everything else is great.

Another idea I had is to ask to buy some of the flour at one of the bakeries - Bova, or Maria's. That's something that small, independent bakeries will sometimes do, just cuz they're nice. :D

I'm waiting until it's a bit closer to the holidays, so I can share with my family.