‘Light as air’ Semolina Bread
I was shopping with some friends when the topic of homemade pasta came up. I frankly asked, “Does semolina flour really make a difference?” Heather’s look said it all; no words necessary. I grabbed a couple of pounds of the flour and had aspirations of making some awesome pasta.
Somehow, though, the thought of semolina bread entered my mind when it came time to cook with my newfound ingredient. I read quite a few bread recipes but being that I’m one for instant gratification and making homemade bread delays that plenty, I wasn’t interested in those recipes that required a day-old-starter or sponge.
This recipe was titled by King Arthur Flour to be “light as air.” Even though I used wheat flour instead of the all-purpose the bread was still incredibly soft and light. I can only imagine the results with white flour.
No complaints regarding the dough here. Easy to work with and it behaved as it should. I didn’t even pull out my stand mixer to make it. I whipped it together with a wooden spoon and then kneaded by hand.
Between dinner and breakfast the next day, only a small piece remained (as a snack for one of the horses!). I’ll definitely be making this recipe again – probably the very next time I feel the craving for bread. The semolina flour was SO worth it and made all the difference.
Light as Air Semolina Bread (adapted from King Arthur Flour)
I used a covered stoneware baker known as a la chloche. I’m not sure how the bread would behave baked outside of the baker but it’s worth trying! If using that method, preheat the oven instead of starting the bread in a cool oven as indicated below.
- 2 cups bread flour
- 1 cup semolina
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons lukewarm water
- 1 tablespoon garlic oil or olive oil
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 2 tablespoons nonfat dry milk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
- Combine all of the bread ingredients, mixing and kneading to make a smooth, slightly sticky dough. Knead by hand 5-7 minutes.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and set it aside to rise for 1 hour; it should just about double in bulk.
- Lightly grease the bottom part of a stoneware baker, about 14 1/2″ x 5″. Sprinkle it with cornmeal or semolina.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface, and form it as desired.
- Place the formed dough on the pan, brush the top with water, and sprinkle with dried herb topping or your favorite seeds.
- Cover the pan with a lid (if available), and let the dough rise for 45 to 60 minutes.
- Just before putting the loaf into the oven, slash the top several times. Hold your knife at a 45° angle to the dough’s surface, and slice quickly and decisively, about 1/2″ deep.
- Place the pan in a cold oven, and set the oven temperature to 425°F. Bake the bread for 30 minutes, remove the lid from the pan, and bake an additional 5 to 10 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown and its interior temperature measures 190°F on an instant-read thermometer.
- Remove the bread from the pan, and allow it to cool on a rack. Store any leftovers, wrapped in plastic, at room temperature.