Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Baking: Semolina Bread

This Bread recipe comes from the Silver Palate Cook Book. I was inspired to make this bread so that we could make our favorite summertime sandwich:
BBT's =Bacon, Basil,& Tomato
Every Summer we make these sandwiches a few times. Note: Store bought bread works too

2 cups lukewarm water

1 pkg active dry yeast

3 Cups semolina flour

1 T salt

2 to 3 Cups bread flour or unbleached all-purpose flour

2 Tablespoons olive oil

3 to 4 tablespoons cornmeal

1 egg

Sesame Seeds (optional)

1. Pour the water into a mixing bowl, stir in the yeast, and let stand for 10 minutes. Stir again to be certain all the yeast is dissolved.

2. Add the semolina flour and salt and stir well.

3. Add 2 cups of the bread flour and stir to make a sticky dough. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and let rest while you wash and dry the bowl.

4. Begin kneading the dough, sprinkling it with the remaining cup of bread flour as necessary to keep it from sticking to your hands. After about 10 minutes the dough will be smooth and elastic and will have absorbed more or less the last cup of flour.

5. Shape the dough into a ball and place in the bowl. Pour the olive oil over the dough and turn it several times to coat with the oil. Cover the bowl with a towel and set aside until the dough has tripled in bulk. ( the increase in volume is more important than the time it takes; depending on room temperature this may be 2 or more hours. Do not try to force the dough to rise more rapidly by setting it on radiators, etc. This can sour the bread. patience is a virtue.)

6. Punch down the dough, turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface, knead briefly ( 5 minutes or less ), and return it to the bowl. Cover and let rise again until doubled.

7. Punch down the dough, cut it into thirds, and shape each third into a thin loaf about 24 inches long. Sprinkle a baking sheet with 3 to 4 tablespoons cornmeal and arrange the loaves on the sheet, leaving as much room between the loaves as possible. Cover and let rise until not quite doubled, about 30 minutes.

8. Preheat the oven to 425 F

9. Beat together the egg and the 1 Tablespoon water. When the loaves have risen, brush them well with this egg wash. Sprinkle the sesame seeds to taste, and slash the loaves decoratively on top with a sharp knife, making diagonal cuts.

10. Slide the baking sheet onto the center rack of the oven and reduce the heat to 375 degrees F. Bake until the loaves are brown and sound hollow when the bottoms are thumped, 30 to 40 minutes. (For a crisper bottom crust, remove the loaves from the baking sheet and place them directly on the oven rack for the last 5 to 10 minutes of baking time.)

11. Remove the loaves from the oven and cool on a rack. wrap when cool.

Makes 3 Loaves, about 18 inches long

One thing I like about the Silver Palate Cook Book is the Quotations that are found throughout the pages. Next to this bread recipe is this quote:

"Bread deals with living things, giving life, with growth, with the seed, the grain that nurtures. It is not coincidence that we say bread is the staff of life"

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