Italian Semolina Bread

We were lucky enough to receive a Kitchenaid Stand Mixer for our wedding, and this was our first trial with it! The wedding was about 6 – 7 months ago and for this to be our first time using the stand mixer is a bit pathetic, but let me tell you, that thing is intimidating. Now that I have used it though, I can say that I am so excited to find the next recipe I want to make with it – it made baking and mixing SUCH a breeze. Enough about my stand mixer and onto the bread now! Also a wedding gift, we received Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg, M.D., and Zoe Francois so this was clearly our day to dig out the gifts we hadn’t gotten to try out get and use ’em! This cookbook had lots of great bread recipes, but we were having Italian food for dinner and decided that Italian Semolina bread would be a great match, we adapted the recipe featured in that book to what is below. I definitely plan to make this bread again and think i will be trying some other recipes included in this book. Here goes for how to recreate this bread at your home:

 What I am posting will yield 3 slightly less than a 1-lb loaves

Ingredients:

– 1.5 cups lukewarm water
–  3/4 tbsp granulated yeast
– 3/4 tbsp Kosher salt (slightly heaping)
– 1.5 cups durum flour
– 1  7/8 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
–  2 tsp of sesame seeds
– Handfuls of cornmeal
– Cornstarch ‘Wash’ (1/2 tsp cornstarch, 1/2 cup water)

Directions:

Mix the yeast and salt with the lukewarm water in a bowl, or lidded (not airtight) container. Mix in the flours without kneading, using a stand mixer with dough hook – Keep it on level 2 for mixing. Cover this mixture, not airtight and allow it to rest at room temperature until the dough rises and collapses (or flattens on top) which will take about 2 hours.

The dough can be used immediately after the initial rise, but it is said to be easier to handle when cold. You can refrigerate the dough in a lidded (not airtight) container for up to 14 days. To make the cornstarch wash: Using a fork blend the cornstarch with a small amount of water to form a paste. add 1/2 cup water and whisk with the fork and microwave (or boil) about 30 – 60 seconds until it appears glassy. This will stay in your fridge for about two weeks.

On the day you are baking (we did ours same day) dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a less than 1-lb piece. Dust the piece with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides. Elongate the ball to form an oval-shaped free-form loaf. Allow to rest and rise on a cornmeal-covered sheet for about 40 minutes.

You should heat your oven, baking stone and an empty broiler pan up about 20 minutes before you are ready to put the bread in. Pre-heat the oven to 450 F.

Just before baking paint the surface with the cornstarch wash, sprinkle the top with sesame seeds and slash the surface diagonally with a serrated bread knife. Put the loaf directly onto the hot stone on top of more cornmeal and pour 1 cup of hot water into the broiler tray and close the oven door. Bake for about 30 minutes until deeply browned and firm.

One place we messed up was that the bread really stuck on the bottom to the hot stone. I don’t think we put enough cornmeal on the bottom of the bread or on the stone. Next time around we definitely plan to put more cornmeal onto the stone to prevent sticking. We loved this bread though and are excited to try it again. If you make it – enjoy!!

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One response to this post.

  1. […] bagels and unearthed a LA Times recipe for homemade bagels. With my stand mixer at the ready and a previous forray into bread making under my belt I rolled up my sleeves and was ready to make the […]

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