Sunday, March 29, 2009

Mellow yellow

So far, I've been doing quite well with my goal of baking all my own bread.  Unfortunately, I haven't been doing as good a job of blogging about it.  One thing I may try for April is an idea that I love from Sandy of At the Baker's Bench (our lovely BYOB moderator).  She keeps a running baking log for the month on the sidebar of her blog, complete with links to blog entries about some of the items.  

The thing that has been keeping me going is still Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.  It really helps with the daily bread need.  I've tried a number of the dough recipes in the book (a couple of which are still sitting as drafts that I haven't finished...) and have started playing around a bit as well.  One of the more recent recipes I tried was for bagel dough.  It's similar to the basic dough, but made with bread flour and a little sugar.  It was a bit stickier and harder to handle than my usual bagel dough.  I'm still not sure how I like it, but it is certainly convenient.  What I really liked, though was the loaf of bread I made from that dough.  It was fantastic--wonderful crust (the sugar in the dough helped with the browning, I'm sure) and really tasty.  I have to admit, much as I've been trying to be good and add whole wheat to my bread, the bread made with just white flour was so darn good! =)  (I know, all things in moderation.)

Because of the bread flour, the dough was a bit stiffer and easier to work with than the basic dough.  It didn't result in really big holes in the crumb of the loaves, but it still had a really nice texture.  For the next batch, I decided to play around a bit more.  I keep some semolina on hand because I like it in pizza dough, so I used it in place of some of the bread flour.  There is a recipe in the book for a semolina dough that uses about half semolina flour and half all-purpose.  I didn't think I should add that much, though, since all I have easy access to is coarse semolina, not the really fine durum semolina.  (I really have to do that order from King Arthur one of these days...)  So I went with about a cup of the semolina.  

When I first started making ABin5 bread, I went with the 16 ounce boules recommended at the beginning of the book.  For our needs, though, I find that a batard works well.  And we go through the small loaves very quickly, so my standard loaf is now made from 24 ounces of dough.  I preheat the oven and my baking stone (on the bottom rack) for about 20 minutes at 450 degrees F.  Then I bake with steam (often using this cool idea from Zoe, using a disposable pan to cover) for 10 minutes, then bake the loaf for an additional 25 minutes.  

The verdict?  I really liked the way this variation turned out.  The semolina was enough to give the crumb of the loaf a very pale yellow color and a nice flavor.  The crust was excellent.  Fresh bread is a hit with everyone in this house. =)  And Brianna and Gillian were happy to eat some of the older bread as French toast. 

Be sure to check out lots of other wonderful bread creations at Yeastspotting

Semolina Dough

26 ounces room temperature water (I use bottled spring water since my tap water is very hard)
5 ounces semolina
27 ounces bread flour (King Arthur)
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
4 teaspoons kosher salt
4 teaspoons instant yeast

Place the water in the bowl of a standing mixer.  Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl.  Using the paddle attachment, mix at low speed until the dough starts to come together into a ball.  Switch to the dough hook and mix at low speed about one minute.  Transfer the dough to a 6-quart container and let rise at room temperature until doubled in volume, about two hours.  Place the container in the refrigerator and store until needed.


  1. Sounds wonderful! I've been thinking of buying the Artisan Bread book for a while now so would be very interested to hear about the other recipes you've made so far.

  2. That book has probably been my best investment yet. And this coming from a girl that has never made bread before! I've also been incorporating white whole wheat into the mix and have been really happy with the results.

    The bagels were the only thing NOT to turn out - and I have no idea why!

  3. I love semolina bread - I'm not sure why, it just has a different taste to it that really is wonderful. And I'm with you on not posting the results of BYOB. I'm not "officially" doing it, but basically am, and haven't managed to post most of the breads I've made!

  4. You are doing so great baking all your bread -- wow. I tried Artisan in 5 a couple of weeks ago, messed a couple of things up, but was still pleased. I love the concept. This semolina looks amazing. The french toast had to be to die for!

  5. Wow! Your bread looks fantastic. I especially love the last picture of the toast. YUM.

  6. I love that you play around with this technique too (I have some dill pickle bread going right now... I'll let you know how it goes)
    I am with you - I love baking up all sorts of different kinds of breads, but it is also nice to have a quickie like the art-in-5 on hand.
    Looks great!

  7. I too find batards are often more practical than boules -- yielding an easier and more manageably-sized slice. Love the semolina!

  8. I've never tried semolia. My "to do" list keeps getting longer and loger. Your bread looks terrific.

  9. It looks great!

    I made some semolina bread a couple of years ago and really liked it. I think I blogged about it, but don't remember for sure. I haven't made any since then though. Maybe I just found myself (another!) weekend project! ;)