Saturday, September 18, 2010

Not Intended

When you hear "semolina", the application most people picture is in the creation of pasta dough. Durum semolina pasta is buttery-yellow, toothsome, and can form any sort of noodle: from fine, fragile angel-hair to the hearty, artisanal shapes made with the old bronze dies. You know you've got a good, authentic(ish) bundle of fettuccini on your hands when the strands are slightly rough and pebbly from the edges of the extruder... they hold onto even the thinnest sauces with the culinary equivalent of a vice grip and the cooked dough never seems to get mushy even after sitting in the fridge overnight. While I loved and (more than) willingly ate my fair share of whole wheat and spelt pasta before discovering my wheat and gluten intolerance, there was just something about those sunny strands that was, witout question, better.

But I'm not here to talk to you about pasta-making. No, no... been there and done that. And while I may have loved making the sheets of lasagne and pockets of beet-tinted, pumpkin-filled ravioli, let's just say that the family... didn't. So my poor, maligned pasta maker has been sent to the basement to languish until I move out and I had to find a new use for the bag of durum semolina flour in my pantry.

Well, it just so happened that the very day my mom polished off her last two slices of the Supermoist Wheat Bread I made her, I came across a beauty of a recipe posted on a blog over on The Fresh Loaf website. The formula, titled Semolina Sandwich Bread, is courtesy of Daniel Leader's book Local Breads, and promised a loaf with an incredible rise, a tender crumb, an ever so slightly crispy crust and a colour reminiscent of an eggy yellow Challah.

Well, as you can see I was definitely not disappointed! The bread ballooned it's way through two rises (I did put it in the fridge for the first one to temper it a bit) and once in the oven really brought new meaning to the term "oven spring". Perfuming the air with buttery, yeasty aromas, it was both a treat and a torture to come into the kitchen as it sat cooling! I didn't even get a chance to take a cross-section photo to show you and submit to YeastSpotting (though I am passing this recipe onto Susan's site), since it was squirreled away by a certain carboholic mother when she came home that evening!

I'm sure it goes without saying, but for best results do weigh your ingredients... it can make a huge difference!

Semolina Sandwich Loaf
Adapted from Daniel Leader's "Local Breads"
Serves 16
300 grams (1 ½ cups) warm water
5 grams (1 tbsp) instant yeast
375 grams (2 heaping cups) durum flour
125 grams (1 ¼ cups) all-purpose flour
45 grams (3 tbsp) sugar
50 grams (¼ cup) melted butter
10 grams (½ tbsp) fine sea salt
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine water, yeast, flour, sugar, butter and salt. Stir by hand just until a rough dough forms.
  2. With the dough hook on medium speed, knead dough 10 minutes - until smooth and elastic.
  3. Cover, place in the fridge and allow to rise 4 hours. Remove from the fridge and allow to sit out 1 hour.
  4. Grease a loaf pan.
  5. Punch the dough down and form into a loaf, fitting it into the pan.
  6. Cover with a clean tea towel and allow to rise 1 hour.
  7. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  8. Bake 20 minutes, then lightly cover with foil and bake a further 20 minutes.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 143.2
Total Fat: 3.6 g
Cholesterol: 7.6 mg
Sodium: 20.7 mg
Total Carbs: 23.6 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.3 g
Protein: 3.5 g


  1. Been waiting for this recipe ever since I saw the pic on Flickr. Looks yummy.

  2. Looks good. Semolina in bread is something I discovered lately and it definitely adds helps in the oven spring. I have been using semolina flour just too often lately ;-)


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