Currant Semolina Loaf

Fall is here. I’ve pulled my sweaters off the highest shelf in my closet. I keep a large pot of green tea brewing on the kitchen table throughout most of the day. I purchased a butternut squash from the farmer’s market this past weekend with the thought of a warm kitchen filled with the sweet aroma of it roasting. My boyfriend baked the first pumpkin pie of the season this past weekend. We have about 30 pounds of apples waiting to be turned into apple butter and jarred from our apple picking excursion this weekend. And, most importantly, all my days must end with a warm mug of cinnamon-spiced milk. These are all signs that it is fall and that I am recognizing the rhythms and pleasures of a new season. For this reason, I decided to find an appropriately autumn-ish bread to start off the fall and winter baking season.

I settled upon the following recipe, which is adapted from The Knead for Bread blog’s recipe for Semolina & Cranberry Bread. I used currants instead of cranberries, desiring a darker and slightly smaller dried fruit to speckle the crumb. The combination of semolina and maple syrup imparts a gorgeous golden hue to the loaves and lends it a unique rounded sweet and wheaty flavor. The crumb is light and the currants nestle into it as little nuggets of earthy fruit flavor. For a simple breakfast this one is perfect dabbed with a little butter and accompanied with a hot mug of coffee or tea.

Also, I am once again pleased to be part of this week’s YeastSpotting at the Wild Yeast Blog. Make sure to check it out and see what other bakers in the community are making.

Currant & Semolina Loaf
Yield: ~1130 g (two 500-g batards)

Sourdough Starter:
64 g ripe 100% hydration sourdough starter
64 g bread flour (I used Heartland Mill’s Golden Buffalo)
64 g water

Dissolve the starter in the water. Add the bread flour and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined. Cover tightly and allow to sit at room temperature for 12-16 hours.

Final Dough:
all of prepared sourdough starter
306 g water
165 g semolina (the fine granular form, not flour. I used the Bob’s Red Mill variety)
265 g bread flour
73 g maple syrup
8 g salt
2 g instant yeast
120 g dried currants

Combine the prepared sourdough starter, the semolina, the bread flour, instant yeast, and the water. Mix until thoroughly combined. Allow the mixture to rest for 20 minutes. Add the salt and maple syrup to the mixture. Knead until all the ingredients are well incorporated. Continue kneading until the dough is smooth and a medium level of gluten has been developed. (This dough will be wet and slightly sticky. Don’t worry, it will become easier to handle as you knead.) At this point, flatten the dough out and add the dried currants. Continue to knead until the currants are evenly distributed throughout the dough.

Allow the dough to ferment in a well-oiled container for 2 hours, folding at 30 and 60 minutes.

Remove the dough from container and place it on a well-floured surface. Cut the dough into two pieces and shape into loose balls. Allow the gluten to relax for 15 minutes. Shape the dough pieces into batards and place seem side up in a floured proofing couche. Cover lightly and allow to proof for one hour.

About 40 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 450 F with a baking stone and a steam pan. When the loaves are sufficiently proofed, score them and bake them with steam for 10 minutes and another 20 without steam. Turn the oven off, crack the door, and leave the loaves in for another 10 minutes. Remove the loaves from the oven and let them cool completely before cutting into.

10 Responses to “Currant Semolina Loaf”

  1. Really stunning! How was the flavor? Does the dried fruit impart alot of taste or is it just there? I think I need a baking stone!!

  2. I love your description of autumn, and this is a beautiful autumn bread. I wonder if you used the Golden Buffalo for final dough as well as the sourdough? It’s one of my favorite flours.

  3. Thanks for the comments!

    Chavi – The crumb was soft and had a nutty, slightly sweet flavor. I really enjoyed the combination of wheat flour with a bit of semolina. It added depth and roundedness to the flavor. The dried fruit didn’t overwhelm the bread with their flavor, but they added a nice brightness to the bread. I liked that they were small. Any larger dried fruit may have been too powerful.

    Susan – I used golden buffalo flour for both the sourdough and the final dough. I bought some Heartland Mill flour a few weeks back and have been delighted with the results. The golden color and nuttiness of the flour really complimented the semolina well.

    As always, happy baking!

  4. Another beautiful bread from you. What are you secrets for that crazy oven spring ? 🙂

  5. […] Currant Semolina Loaf ~ Beginning With Bread […]

  6. Jude- I attribute the oven spring to a healthy sourdough starter. Last year I used one that I had started in CT where I go to school. I achieved okay results with it, but I wasn’t too impressed with the local yeast. This past summer I used my mom’s starter that she’s had going for 20+ years and fell in love with it. I think her Texas yeast are just of a hardier breed. 🙂 I always use a stone and a sufficient amount steam, too.
    Thanks for the comments!

  7. thank you for this lovely recipe. Made it yesterday and the bread tastes deliciious. Instead of only currants, I’ve also used dried cranberries.

    My 100% starter did his job very well.


  8. Beautiful bread, I’m sure my family (and myself) would love it. Thanks for your great blog!

    • cbucholz Says:

      Glad to hear from you and to have found your blog! The pictures are gorgeous. I wish I knew French! Your blog inspires me to learn it!

  9. I wish I had enough time to translate my posts in English, but unfortunately I don’t… Don’t hesitate to use Google translator, though, even if the translation is quite … bizarre!
    I marked your blog as a favorite, I’ll be coming back soon and often, thanks again.

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