Monday, December 7, 2015

Two semolina breads

We needed some white bread to use for Thanksgiving stuffing, so I made a Hensperger recipe that features a bit of semolina: pane italiano (p. 208).

Tragically, the stuffing recipe used the whole loaf. Still craving semolina bread, I made a similar (but not as tasty) recipe a couple of days later: semolina country bread (p. 202). I soon tried the first loaf again, but it turned out to be quite different from the first time.

Pane italiano numero uno

I made the 1.5 pound loaf with no ingredient changes except for the usual halving of yeast and salt. I baked it on the normal cycle, not noticing that the recipe called for extra kneading, accomplished using either the French bread cycle or by resetting the machine to double the kneading time. The recipe calls for a dark crust, but I specified a normal crust, figuring that stuffing bread needn't be overbaked.

I should've made the 2 pound loaf so we could've had some left over! The little bits that stuck to the paddles were delicious and crunchy—semolina's a great ingredient. The crust had some big bubbles for some reason. I couldn't resist poking one, and it shattered.

No picture, unfortunately. But the stuffing was really good.

Pane italiano numero due

When I made the bread again, I still used the 1.5# recipe, but I measured by weight instead of by volume. That was probably a mistake, as the recipe specifies only volume, and I think that the flour bag's weight/volume ratio was too high, resulting in more flour than when I measured by volume.

Otherwise, I followed the recipe instructions more precisely than before. I specified a dark crust and reset the machine after kneading was finished, so it could knead again. I checked the consistency when I reset the machine; it seemed dry, so I added some water. Then, unfortunately, I had to go to bed, so I didn't get to see the bread until the next morning. 

The loaf was much taller than before—too tall to fit into the breadbox unless I took out the cutting board. It wasn't noticeably darker than before, and it wasn't crisp at all by the time I saw it.

A very tall loaf

We liked it OK, but it's just kind of a semi-interesting white bread at this point. I have a feeling that this bread is much better if you eat it while it's warm.

If time allows, I prefer the Italian semolina bread recipe (p. 252). I might make pane italiano again, but only for stuffing bread or if I plan to eat it right after it finishes. And I'll measure by volume.

One good thing about pane italiano is that you can make it using a delay timer. I'd have to create a homemade course to be able to do the extra kneading without intervention. (My machine doesn't have a French bread setting, which would make the extra kneading happen automatically.)

Semolina country bread (pane di semola)

This bread has a higher proportion of semolina than the first, with no sugar or potato flakes. It also has sesame seeds, which make it a little more interesting. But not much more.

Cooked on dark, this bread doesn't look very dark
(the side wasn't as dark as this picture makes it seem)

This bread was fine, but I probably won't make it again.

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