The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hamelman's Semolina Bread

Alpana's picture

Hamelman's Semolina Bread

I have been baking my breads seam side up most of the time, to hide my slashing disasters. But if I don't practice, how I am I going to improve? In that spirit I have decided to test my slashing prowess at least once a week.

I decided to go with Hamelman's semolina bread as the hydration is low (62%) and I thought scoring would be easier. I used finely ground semolina (I have no idea how it compares with Durum flour). I followed his recipe as is except I added RYW in place of water while making the flying "sponge".

The result : 

My scoring has still a long way to go.

But like all breads from the master baker, this one also rules in taste & texture. Good enough to eat by itself, better toasted & even better to mop up meatballs on a Sunday afternoon :)


Mebake's picture

Have you tried seasoned olive oil? It goes perfect with italian breads like semolina bread. You'll be suprised!  

It is great bread you made, Alpana, one that i haven't made yet. Your scoring is good, the key is to have a sharp lame and ti make decisive swift cut.


Alpana's picture

Tks for your tip & encouragement, Khalid! I use a razor blade mounted on chopstick or paring knife to score. I am sure both are quite sharp, it is just me that lacks a steady hand. I will keep practicing till I get it right. 

Next time I will make Reinhart's herb olive oil for this bread :).

ananda's picture

Hi Alpana,

Beautiful crust and crumb to your loaf.

Regarding scoring, Khalid offers very good advice, but you will not find better than David Synder's piece here:

Best wishes


Alpana's picture

Glad you liked the bread, Andy. I am ashamed to admit I have been using David's tutorial as my scoring "101" for almost 3 months now, but am still this pathetic!

Foamheart's picture

Beautiful bread! The crust, the crumb, I swear I can smell it! Ok, who hid my butter?

Scorcing for me was 50/50 to start. Confidence/not waiting so long to do it. I don't know why but I have a hard time not waiting till the rise has gone too far to decided to score. But if you don't care, they are wonderous, if you try to impress ..... well I am sure it tastes good. LOL

Alpana's picture

Thanks for liking this bread and advice on scoring. Hamelman's breads have always turned out to be winners for me.

I score just befor putting in oven. Is it too late? Should I be scoring a bit early?  



varda's picture

Need to go back and make that.   So nice.  -Varda

Alpana's picture

Thanks, Varda. The simplicity of this bread is quite deceiving. I made this bread to test my scoring and because I wanted to see if the semolina I had with me was acceptable. But at the end of the day, when we bit into this bread, I felt i did a gross injustice to it by calling it a test dummy :). 

dabrownman's picture

when it comes to scoring, when ever i pick up some blade with dough in front of me, my apprentice rolls over on her back and starts peddling with all 4 legs and making what sounds like a laugh to me.  It is hard to make a decisive swift cut on anything after that.   I say thank goodness they invented seam side up bread way before they invented no knead bread.  I would be tempted to add to Khalids EVOO suggestion, some balsamic vinegar, crushed capers, chopped basil, Parmesan and or Pecorino with some freshed cracked black pepper - to dip that fine looking semolina in. 

We use semolina all the time and even make it into a flour on occasion in the coffee mill.  You bread rose so well and the crust is baked to perfect bold. 

Well Done!

Alpana's picture

I am going to pile my next bread with all your suggestions, except capers! Am I glad my apprentice is just a dumb bread machine. If I had anyone as smart as your or Ian's apprentices, I would never take a lame in my hand ;).

Glad you liked it. 

isand66's picture

Beautiful bread Alpana.  I love your excellent open crumb.  Keep practicing and you will get the hang of the scoring eventually.  What kind of lame are you using?

Alpana's picture

These are my two tools. I used the paring knife for this bread. 

Thanks for your encouragement & liking the bread, Ian. You all give me so much confidence to keep trying.

kenlklaser's picture

It really dragged through the dough, pulling a bunch of times:  Not a clean cut.

Is that dowel rigid enough to manage the momentum of a cut when using that tool?

Alpana's picture

Yes. It is a disposable chostick, which is quite rigid. 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Just a nice steamy chamber to bake it in.   Beautiful!  

You might try patting the loaf with a little (just a small amount on your hands)  olive oil before putting into the banneton. 

It does look like the perfect surface to cut into though.  try something different for a change, just to loosen up... try using a pointy large scissors.   Make a few snips on the side  / / / / /  and then make some more and don't connect the cuts.  Leave little paths of dough skin between them and cover the whole loaf, this way and that.  Make some diamond shapes and some triangular ones and half flowers just go crazy!  Bake it up and watch.  :)

Alpana's picture

Thanks, Mini. 

Does patting with olive oil have a particular purpose?

I love the suggestion of different cuts - crazy is anyday better than inept ;). You are right about this bread's surface. I doubt I will get any easier one to score. My knife went through smoothly and cleanly, so no excuse on that count. 

I think I got a decent amount of steam if I have to go by the oven spring and crust, though baking in my "claypot pretending to be DO" remains my favourite method.

dabrownman's picture

where art is appreciated :-)   Mini the master slasher and sometime art instructor has given some fine guidelines in my book - A nip here ....a tuck there.... and the next thing you know slashing perfecto  mundo Excalibur awaits your beck and call.  Heck, I'm willing to have my apprentice try scissor slashing her next loaf into submission even though scissors can scare a weak minded, toughened professional or Geman baking apprentice slasher to catatonic coma.  I say go for the art and damn the consequence even if fatal !