I have been stuck in the land of the forgotton for some time now - as in, I have forgotten where the time went. It started some where last fall. I totally lost Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, then end of the school year. SMACK. It's July. It's not that I am in any hurry for time to go by. There is nothing big out there that I am anticipating and making the victim of my razor steel focus.... (Sarcasm...)
Moving on. The point of today's post was not to lamnent my apparent amnesia. Or dementia. Or whatever cloud is fogging over the working parts of my mind. Really. I promise. One of my co-workers is also of the bake-your-own bread inclination. It's nice to know that there are others like that out there. Often times, people look at you like you have three heads when they hear you make bread. Any hooo... (see, there is that razor sharp focus again).
Every couple of months she goes to a local distributor and buys a 50# bag of semolina flour. And she looks for people interested in splitting it with her. (50# is a lot of flour...). This time, I was lucky enough to get in on the purchase and for less than 4$, I am now the proud owner of a ten pound share of beautiful, georgeous durum semolina. I love baking with semolina; however, it surprises me how few recipes are out there geared toward showcasing its pleasant texture. I know, I know - I can make pasta with it. And I will. But, I wanted bread. Tender crumbed, chewy, pale golden semolina bread.
I knew I could rummage around the internet and find something. But, at heart, I am a cookbook girl. I love the feel of paper. The weight of the volume in my hand. The thrill of discovery as you read the surrounding text - something you just don't get from an internet search. I pulled out three of my favorite bread books and I was really surprised that the first two I looked through left me empty handed. Finally, third time was a charm. The Bread Bible (by Beth Hensperger) lookled like it was going to yield the recipe I desired. It had both a sponge and a triple-rise. I was intrigued - I was engaged, in the process....
I made some slight modifications & traded out the suggested sesame seeds for poppy (which are way more appealing to me on top of a loaf). Several hours later, ta da! Yeast, salt, olive oil, water and two types of flour. How simple can it be? Two loaves, with the perfect crumb were cooling on the counter. I braided one as the recipe suggested and baked the second on in my USA Pan Hearth Pan.
I still don't have custody of the camera, so I am lacking quality pictures. And wasn't so much in the mood to type out the recipe. But if you come across a copy of BH's The Bread Bible - it really deserves a close look. Lots of traditional breads from all over the world - including some stunning celebration breads. This is the book that I cut my bread-making teeth on (although, looking back, I could have picked a simpler volume and saved myself some heartache).
Have a GREAT 4th of July! Most importantly, be safe - because I want to hear all about your 4th on the 5th!