Semolina Tartine Bread and Sudden Spring

And of a sudden, Spring.

sun shine

We took to the streets, chickens too, eyes squinted to allow more space for smile.

sunshine chicken dance

I went to procure the nearest ice cream cone with which to celebrate Melting Of All Kinds.

sunshine ice and icecream

We break bread and give thanks.

semolina bread

Semolina Tartine Bread

Adapted from the Tartine Bread book

Sourdough          200 g

Water                   750 g + 50 g later

Semolina flour   700 g

Flour                      300 g

Fennel seeds     75 g

Sesame seeds   75 g

Salt                         20 g

More seeds        200 g  (I used hemp seeds, poppy seeds, more sesame and fennel, and flax seeds)

Toast the fennel seeds until fragrant.

semolina sesame seeds

Prepare the dough using the method of Tartine Country Bread, and fold in toasted fennel and sesame seeds after the second turn during bulk fermentation. Fill the bannetons with seed mixture and rice flour, add the dough top down so that the tops get entirely covered with seeds. Bake each loaf according to the recipe for tartine country bread. If you want a variation on this, add 3 cups of raisins, 1 tsp coriander, and grated orange zest to the dough with the seeds on the second turn. Incredible.

semolina seed topping

Mix the water (all but 50 grams), sourdough and flours together. Cover with plastic in the bowl, and let REST for 40 minutes.

Then mix the remaining water and salt, and let rest for 30 minutes. Now, instead of kneading on a floured surface, every 30 minutes for 3-4 hours, you simply “turn” the dough in the plastic container. This means, you pick up one edge of the dough, and fold it on top of the rest, a motion you repeat with all four corners of the circle (I know this is an oxymoron, but you get it, don’t you?). The dough will seem very wet, like ciabatta dough.

It would be a complete mess if you tried to knead it on the counter, and there is no need to knead (smile)—this process accomplishes the same degree of development. As the dough gets more billowy and aerated, be gentle to not expel the gas from the wet dough. The volume should increase 20-30 percent, and lots of bubbles will form along the edges toward the end.

After 3 or 4 hours, lightly flour a work surface and use a knife to cut the dough into two segments. Work each half into a round boule. Then let both rounds rest on the surface, covered, for 30 minutes. Prepare two bannetons (which is a towel in a bowl, not a towl in a bowel as I originally typed the phrase by mistake, giggle), and sprinkle rice flour and wheat flour along the towel so the inverted dough rounds don’t stick. Plop them in there and let “proof” –final rise—for 3 or 4 more hours.

Heat a baking stone in the oven to 500 degrees, and put a cast iron pot inside. Be careful, but when everything is hot enough, slip the dough from the banneton into the hot pot, slash the top, and put the lid on. Put the pot back in the oven, and reduce the temperature to 450 degrees. What this does is capture the steam of the water that wants to boil out of the loaf. Steam makes an incredible crust on loaves of bread. In the past, I have been practically rusting my oven by spraying water inside while I bake. This method spares the metal of your oven, and accomplishes the same objective. Bake for 20 minutes with the lid on, and then remove the lid and bake for another 20-25 minutes. The bread will be crackling and crisp and deeply caramelized. I’ll never make bread the old way again.

semolina semolina slice

Haiku #69 (Mar 10)

Kitchen slow dance–prime

Chance for the bulldog to get

Fine trashcan dining.

This post is featured at Sourdough Surprises– my favorite sourdough online community–

7 thoughts on “Semolina Tartine Bread and Sudden Spring

  1. LOVE the joyful springtime photos of you! Soak it all in, and keep eating ice cream! Enjoy some mother-daughter time to the fullest, Ellis women 🙂

  2. Mmmmm, I can almost hear the crackle of that crispy crust, and imagine the mouth-feel of a bite of your open-crumb semolina bread. Bliss! Closed pot bread baking makes such an amazing difference.

Leave a Reply