A gorgeous golden loaf of Italian-style bread. It's made with regular wheat flour and durum flour (semolina). The crust is crackly and the texture creamy and just plain amazing! One of the best bread recipes I ever made.
- 1 cup warm tap water
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1 ½ cups (210g) unbleached all-purpose or bread flour
- All the sponge, above
- ½ cup (70g) unbleached all-purpose or bread flour
- ¾ cup (120g) semolina flour
- 1-2 teaspoons salt (If you normally don't use much salt go for the 1 teaspoon)
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
To make the sponge:
- Place the warm water in a mixing bowl and whisk in the yeast.
- Stir in the flour, mix lightly and cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
- Set the sponge aside to rise at room tº (draft-free and warm) until the sponge doubles, about 1 hour. I do this directly in the bowl of the standing mixer and then add the dough ingredients.
To make the bread:
- Have ready a baking sheet lightly dusted with semolina.
- Stir the sponge to deflate and add the flour, semolina, salt, and oil.
- Adjust the bowl in your stand mixer and knead on low speed with the dough hook for about 5 minutes, to form smooth, elastic, and slightly sticky dough. Alternatively, turn the shaggy dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead by hand for about 6-7 minutes. See post above for images and further details.
- Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl. Turn the dough so all the sides are oiled. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
- Turn the risen dough out on the floured work surface.
- Press with the palms of your hands to deflate.
- Shape the dough into an oval, folding as you would a cinnamon roll, pinching after each fold, and place tucked side down on the prepared pan and cover with oiled plastic wrap.
- Allow it to rise until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
- About 20 minutes before baking, turn the oven to 400ºF / 200ºC.
- Hold a razor blade or sharp kitchen knife at about a 30º to 45° angle to the loaf, and slash 3 lines.
- Bake the loaf for about 35, until well risen, golden brown and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped. All ovens are different, so if 20 minutes into baking you feel the bread is darkening too much, turn it down to 375°F/190°C for the rest of the baking.
- Remove from oven and cool on a rack until able to lift from baking sheet with a spatula, and wait until completely cooled to cut.
- Organization: read the instructions carefully first. This is important so you take into account the resting times and tools you need.
- Semolina: buy the superfine one. Though it would be labeled differently, semolina comes in different sizes. Couscous is also semolina, for example.
- Bread flour: there is flour specially made for bread. It has more gluten than all-purpose. Gluten is the ingredient that develops with kneading and helps the bread grow. The bread will also work with all-purpose (not cake) flour, but it's a good idea to look for it or buy it online.
- Pan: I like to use flats baking sheets dusted with semolina. But cornmeal or oats will work too.
- Freezing: this a wonderful bread to freeze in slices and have ready for toast or bruschettas. Slice it and wrap it in plastic or put it in a Ziploc bag. It will last for a month.
Keywords: semolina bread