Semolina Sandwich Loaf
I’ve been so curious about semolina flour.I didn’t understand much about it and there doesn’t seem to be a lot of information regarding it.After reading as much as I could find in various bread books I decided I had to take a stab at it.So last weekend I baked this yeasted sandwich version along with another sourdough version. (I will post that one separately.)
I found the perfect, fresh durum patent flour at Heartland Mill which has been such a great source so far in providing harder-to-find flours.The shipping and handling is a bit steep but so far I can’t find a local source for this particular semolina or the wonderful Golden Buffalo high-extraction flour that is so perfect for the Thom Leonard Country French.
This bread showed the most incredible oven spring that I snapped a couple photos while still in the loaf pan for perspective to show just how high that thing ballooned.The first time I opened the oven to rotate the pan I actually gasped.Then I broke into laughter.You all know that feeling!:o)
It is such a beautiful loaf in so many ways but also very delicious and moist.This is a big keeper recipe for me and I remain intrigued by the nutty, sweet flavor of semolina.If you are looking for a very tender and flavorful sandwich loaf this is a great choice.Another plus is the recipe is quite easy and very quick.I think from beginning of initial fermentation to pulling the baked loaf from the oven was just under 4 hours.
It also makes delicious toast and, for me, the beautiful saffron colored crumb is just outstanding.
Excerpted: Leader told how he received an urgent phone call the night before he left Altamura telling him that his guide had forgotten to show him this bread – a straight dough semolina loaf made by Altamura bakers specifically for sandwiches.A loaf was quickly delivered to his hotel room and he expressed gladness when he saw the gorgeous red-gold loaf with a delicate crust and even golden crumb.He said it was unlike any sandwich bread he’d tasted and how his customers would love its rich wheat flavor and olive oil perfume.The small amount of sugar gives this bread great tenderness. As he mentions this recipe is a great introduction to the unique character of semolina flour.I agree.
More photos can be seen here:
Semolina Sandwich Loaf – Daniel Leader, Local Breads 
Time:8 to 12 minutes to knead; 1 1/2 to 2 hours to ferment; 1 to 1 1/2 hours to proof; 35 to 45 minutes to bake
Makes:1 Sandwich loaf (31.2 ounces/885 grams)
300 grams (1 1/2 cups/10.6 ounces) water, tepid (70 to 78 degrees) – 60%
5 grams (1 teaspoon/0.2 ounce) instant yeast – 1%
500 grams (3 1/4 cups/17.6 ounces) fine semolina (durum) flour – 100%
15 grams (1 tablespoon/0.5 ounce) granulated sugar – 3%
50 grams (1/4 cup/1.8 ounces) extra-virgin olive oil – 10%
10 grams (1 1/2 teaspoons/0.4 ounce) sea salt – 2%
Mixing the dough:Pour the water into a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer.Add the yeast, flour, sugar, olive oil and salt and stir with a rubber spatula just until a rough dough forms.
Kneading – By hand:Lightly dust the counter with semolina flour.Scrape the dough out of the bowl and knead it with smooth, steady strokes until it is very smooth, shiny, and elastic, 10 to 12 minutes.
By machine:Use the dough hook and mix the dough on medium speed (4 on a KitchenAid mixer) until it is very smooth, shiny, and elastic, 8 to 9 minutes.
Fermentation:Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled container with a lid.Cover and leave to rise at room temperature (70 to 75 degrees) until it inflates into a dome, reaching double; 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Shaping loaf:Grease a loaf pan (8 1/2 x 4 1/2) with oil.Lightly dust the counter with semolina flour.Uncover the dough and turn it out onto the counter.Form the dough into a pan loaf.Nestle the loaf into the pan, seam side down, pressing it gently to fit.Lightly dust the top of the loaf with semolina flour and cover the pan with plastic wrap.
Proofing:Let the loaf rise at room temperature (70 to 75 degrees) until it crowns just above the rim of the pan, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Preparing oven:About 15 minutes before baking place rack in middle of oven.Preheat oven to 375°F.
Baking:Place the loaf on the middle rack of the oven.Bake until the loaf pulls away from the sides of the pan and the crust is a deep golden brown, 35 to 45 minutes.
Cooling and storing:Remove loaf from pan and allow to cool, right side up.Cool bread completely before slicing, about 1 hour.Store the cut loaf in a resealable plastic bag at room temperature.It will stay fresh for about 3 days.For longer storage, freeze in a resealable plastic bag for up to 1 month.