Tuesday, July 17, 2012

From Tuesdays with Dorie: Semolina Loaf

Semolina boule and kamut loaf from a Baking with Julia recipe.

My yeast bread history is mostly confined recipes that call for one or two risings. These two loaves were risen three times: First the sponge, then the dough, then the shaped loaf, all rose two hours each time.

The story behind these two loaves is that I discovered there was no semolina flour in my pantry. I am a re-user of containers but I am not good at labeling. As I dug through old whey protein canisters, looking for the semolina, I remembered that just a few weeks ago I'd been digging for something else when I came across the semolina but at the time could not remember what it was. And so I threw it out.

The last time I used semolina was to bake pizza and I'd had to purchase it down in Iowa City because I couldn't find it in Cedar Rapids. I wasn't about to drive 30 miles one way just to get semolina, so I punted. There was kamut flour in the pantry, which just so happened to be in a labeled container. The oval loaf you see in the photos is made with kamut.

After baking the first loaf, I did go to the grocery story for weekly shopping and discovered semolina which I can tell you was not there last fall when I searched high and low. I brought home a bag and baked a second loaf, this time forming it as a boule and using scissors to slice a pattern in the dough before baking.

The kamut loaf was half eaten by the time I took photos. That slather of buttercream occurred when I arrived home today from work and needed a snack before exercising. The leftover icing called my name.

This was an easy recipe to follow, but 2 teaspoons of salt is too much. I cut down to 1 teaspoon in the semolina version.

I give them a so-so review. The loaves did not have the complex flavor and chewiness of a really long risen sourdough, nor was there the fresh yeasty presence of a short risen loaf.  But you know, even just OK homemade bread beats anything commercial. I know every ingredient that went into these loaves: flour, water, yeast, olive oil, salt.

I appreciated the experience because it adds confidence to my baking. I'm looking forward to trying some of the country French loaves down the line with their multiple risings over a couple days.

If you'd like to try this Baking with Julia recipe, you'll find it at today's hosts: Anna of Keep it Luce and Renee of The Way to My Family's Heart. To seek the works of all participating Tuesdays with Dorie bakers, visit the site here.



  1. I think bread baking is really under-appreciated, especially when it comes to making free-form loaves with a complex flavor and good crust. I'm also 99% convinced that no matter how good of a baker you are, you can't get results like that in a home oven: heat's not even enough, construction doesn't hold heat well enough, etc.

    Here is my recommendation for making bread at home, especially bread that does not need to be sliced for sandwiches: do pizza dough. Make a good wet one, and then let it rise twice instead of once. Put in a well-oiled square glass pan, top with more olive oil and then salt and herbs and/or sliced onion and/or garlic. Bake it as hot as your oven will go for about 30 minutes. You have something that you can call focaccia and that tastes good with soups and salads.

    I discovered this by accident, but now I use it all winter long.

  2. I have had the mystery container issue on more than one occasion :-)
    Both your loaves look good.

  3. Great post! Read more about Semolina. This post is linked there.


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