So I enjoyed experimenting with spelt… What about semolina flour? It was another flour that I had not had much experience with. But, since I was in the innovative mood, I decided to tackle this flour as well. The following post contains what I found about it and a sourdough recipe using a mixture of semolina, whole wheat, and white flours.
Semolina is not a grain unto itself. Semolina is the endosperm of durum wheat. Durum semolina is made from hard wheat and is used for pastas, couscous, and flours. Soft wheat semolina or farina (i.e. Cream of Wheat) is made from wheat with a lower protein content and when ground into a coarse meal is used in sweetened breakfast cereals and desert puddings. Often, semolina in a broader sense refers to any type of grain that is ground into a coarse meal, for example “rice semolina” or “corn semolina” (or grits). Semolina or durum flour refers to semolina, which has been milled into a fine flour. Hard durum wheat has a high protein to carbohydrate ratio and thus produces a high gluten flour. This is why semolina is often used in pastas, which benefit from a high gluten content to hold the noodles together during pasta making and cooking.
Semolina flour is a rich yellow to gold color that imparts a gorgeous blonde hue to bread. After coming out of the oven, my loaves sat like two bricks of gold on my kitchen counter, filling the kitchen with an intoxicating aroma of warm yeast and flour. I am truly enamored with this recipe of mine. I think adding a touch of olive oil to it would be a pleasant addition to try, but I wanted to focus on the flavor and texture of semolina for my first loaves. It tasted smooth, full, and rich, but not over powering. Resonantly & simultaneously subtly flavorful, the semolina complimented the sourness of the bread in a delicate sort of dance, leaving me always wanting just one more slice.
After baking these loaves, I froze one of them, (I’m living alone at the moment and even my bread-loving self can’t eat two loaves of bread before one of them goes stale), and kept the other out for myself. As I write this post, I have only my memory of that loaf. I finished the last of it today for lunch and am tempted to pull the second one out of the freezer right now.
Yield: ~1700 g
400 g ripe, 100% hydration sourdough starter
400 g semolina flour
200 g whole wheat flour
200 g all purpose flour
450 g water
18 g salt
Dissolve the starter in the water, mixing them together to form a frothy liquid. Add to this the flours. Knead until thoroughly combined. Let rest or autolyse for 20-30 minutes.
Add the salt and continue kneading until the dough reaches a medium level of gluten consistency or passes the window pane test.
Allow the dough to ferment in an oiled container for 3 hours, folding at 1 and 2 hours. (Alternatively, as I did do to that pesky midday activity called work, I let the dough ferment for one hour at room temperature, folded it, stuck it in the refrigerator for ~8 hours, took it out of the refrigerator, folded it again, and let it sit in a warm spot for another hour.)
Divide the dough in half and shape into tight balls. Let rest for 15 minutes, allowing the gluten to relax. Shape the dough into batards. Proof seam-side up in a floured proofing basket or linen-lined container for 1.5 to 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 500°F with a steam pan. Over turn the loaves onto a peel, score them, and then place in the oven with steam. Turn down the oven to 450°F and bake for 15 minutes with steam. Remove the steam pan and bake for another 30 minutes without steam.
Turn off the oven and crack the door. Leave the loaves in for 10 minutes longer. Remove the loaves from the oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack before eating.
Also, make sure to check out other delicious yeasted creations from this week at YeastSpotting on the Wild Yeast Blog.