Semolina bread seems to be the latest craze. Have seen a lot of posts about it on the food groups I follow. Hence I was also tempted to try but somehow could never do it. It remained in my bucket list for the longest time.
Finally yesterday I gave it a shot albiet hesistantly. I was not sure of the outcome but I was surprised. The bread was not only super soft, it tasted too good. It has a bite to it, which adds to the taste.
Make sure to use very fine semolina.
I autolysed it for 30 minutes, as with experience I have realised that autolyse definitely improves the crumb .
The dough is quite sticky. So kneading it with hand will not be easy. I kneaded it in my bread machine. Then kneaded with hand for 2-3 minutes and incorporated 2 tbsp oil.
While kneading with hand I felt the dough to be quite similar to sourdough, so before leaving it for first proof, I did one set of stretch and fold and another one after 30 minutes. Read the notes to know more about stretch and fold.
You can use any vegetable oil , I have used extra virgin olive oil as that gives more flavour to the bread.
Two most important things in bread making are: Water should be just warm, approx. 48 to 54 degrees Celsius . Second is kneading. You have to knead it for good fifteen minutes for the gluten to develop, which helps the bread to rise. Read the entire recipe carefully , including notes before you start.
Ingredients Semolina 500 gms Water 1 1/2 cup Sugar 1 tbsp Salt 1 tsp Instant Yeast 1tsp
Oil 2 tbsp Method
Take warm water, yeast , sugar and semolina in a bowl. Mix with a wooden spoon.
Cover and leave it for 30 minutes to autolyse.
This will help the semolina to soak up water and soften and also help the gluten to develop well.
Turn the contents on the kitchen counter. Sprinkle salt and now knead the dough for good 15 minutes using 2 tbsp oil. Initially the dough will be very sticky. It will be tough to knead it but don't add extra flour or semolina. Slowly you will see that the dough will come together.
Keep the dough in a well greased pan, turn it around so that it is coated with oil on all sides.
Do one set of stretch and fold.
Repeat step 5 after 30 minutes.
Meanwhile cling wrap it and keep it in a warm draft free place till it doubles in size , say for an hour and half to two depending on the temperature in your kitchen.
Grease and flour 8 by 4 inch tin.
Turn the dough on a lightly floured surface and using your fingertips spread it out in a rectangle.
Be very gentle with the dough.
Now roll the dough into a log. The dough is quite sticky and wriggly so use your bench scraper to roll the dough.
Fold over the ends. Pinch to seal.
Now carefully lift the ready roll and place it in the prepared pan with the seam side down.
Brush it lightly with oil. Cover with a cling film and let it sit undisturbed in a warm place.
It is ready to be baked when the loaf rises till edge of the pan. This will take anywhere between 30 to 45 minutes.
Meanwhile preheat your oven to 190 degrees Celsius.
Brush the loaf with milk and oil for a nice colour.
Place it carefully in the oven.
On the bottom tray of the oven quickly throw a few ice cubes.
The steam from the ice cubes will help in oven spring and also prevent from developing cracks on the surface of the loaf.
Bake for 40-45 minutes, till the top gets a nice brown colour.
The bread is ready when it sounds hollow when the bottom is tapped.
You can also use a bread thermometer to check if the bread is ready. It should read 190 degrees farenheit.
Once the bread is done turn it on a wire rack.
Brush the top with oil if you want a soft crust. Let it cool completely on wire rack before you slice it.
Note : if you are using active dry yeast then take 1/4 cup warm water from the recipe . Now sprinkle yeast and a few grains of sugar and mix it lightly. Keep it in a warm place for 10 minutes. You will see yeast would have ballooned by now. Now add yeast mixture to all the ingredients needed for autolyse and proceed.
To do stretch and fold : hold the dough from one end and stretch as much as you can without exerting pressure and now fold it over. Turn the bowl by 60 degrees and repeat. Do the step four times. this is one set of stretch and fold.