Semolina & Sour

As promised, tonight’s bread (ungrateful child:  “do we always have to have bread??!?”) is a web version of Maggie Glezer’s Sourdough Semolina, courtesy of The Fresh Loaf.

A few new techniques here, beyond just resuscitating my existing sourdough, which took two days even before I started this bread:

1) Using a stiff starter to raise a sourdough

2) Converting 100% (pancake-batter) starter to 50% (stiff) starter, as described in last night’s post.

3) Using semolina flour in a bread dough – very authentic, rustic, Italian, mmm…

4) Shaping baguette-type long breads

I guess that’s it for new stuff.

Anyway, I am sorrowed to report mixed results:  fine performance from the sourdough (yay!), nice taste and outstanding texture of the bread (mmm!)… but a yinky flat toad-shape in the final loaves (blech!), as you’ll see see. 

Initial firm (50%) sourdough left to ferment overnight:

puppet 007 

Now, in the morning, autolyse, mix and knead… and fast-forward 2 hours to… shaping the loaves.  Gaw-geous!  Little hint of the mess that is to come.

puppet 010

Fast forward three hours to… blah.  Concealed in the oven (not that there’s anything I really could have done to save them), the loaves have spread out hopelessly.

Duh, now I understand why baguettes are traditionally raised in a special pan and/or with towels wedged between them.  I think this moist dough would have held up nicely if it had just had a little support.  Without it… pancake city.

semolina 001_thumb

Baked up beautifully, even a bit of good oven spring, but nothing much to be done about those sad FLAT breads.  Blah.

 semolina 004_thumb

Here it is, sliced, looking more like biscotti (mandelbroit, for any Jews reading this!) than a baguette.  See that miserable cross-section?

 semolina 007_thumb

The bread itself, as I said, was flavourful and full of holes, probably exactly as it should be.  Not too sour but with a hint of lovely, rich sourdough flavour.   At least, I thought it had, in those tiny precious morsels of “inner” bread that I was able to glean.

Yes, irony of ironies, these loaves came out with such a lovely, crispy crust… just what you don’t want when your bread is essentially ALL crust.  It made for some mighty tough eating, even with tomato soup to dip it in.

So, for next time… and there WILL be a next time:  Drop it in a loaf pan, support it with a towel, do something, anything to ensure that this bread cannot spread out within an unlimited flat space.

Anyway, onwards and upwards, to another Maggie Glezer recipe that will hopefully not turn into a saggy old toad in the oven:  Sourdough Challah.  No semolina in this one, though there is a semolina variation I might want to make later on.  I like to make every recipe “straight up” the first time through, and only vary it once I’ve got it right.

Speaking of which, I really MUST make that roasted garlic-and-potato no-knead bread again next week.  Oh, and revive my rye starter. 

There is no end of breads in sight, despite criticism from the aforementioned Ungrateful Child.

Okay, actually there is an End of Breads in sight, but I am studiously ignoring it.  Yes, we now have exactly TWO MONTHS until Pesach.  Maybe that’s why I’m feeling a certain urgency in breadland these days.

Since this blog most definitely falls within the category of chometz, I plan to go completely “dark” for that week-and-a-bit.  But then come back with a vengeance the minute it’s all over.  My post-Pesach “shlissel” challah is legendary!


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