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Sep 29, 2012

Semolina Rounds with Black Sesame and Golden Flax Seeds

This is a lovely bread. The yellow color from the durum flour is so appealing. I love the flavor.

I found this recipe in the book, Amy's Bread, and I have made it several times. It's one of my all time favorites. The loaves are gorgeous. The original recipe calls for just the black sesame seeds, but I threw in some flax seeds just because.

While coarsely ground semolina flour is easy to find around here, finely ground durum semolina is not, so I buy mine from King Arthur Flour. Another source is Giusto's in San Francisco. I'm sure there are other sources .... In fact, Little India in Artesia is right in my back yard. I've even heard that Costco carries a durum flour called Mumbai Gold. Hmmmm. I'll have to check these out.

Semolina Rounds with Black Sesame and Golden Flax Seeds

Adapted from Amy's Bread. (Get the book, you will love it!)


Makes 14 ounces (more than you'll need)
7 ounces warm water (105 to 115 degrees F
1/8 t. active dry yeast
8 ounces unbleached all purpose flour

In the bowl of a stand mixer, stir the yeast in the water to dissolve. Let it sit for about 3 minutes. Add the flour, and mix with the paddle attachment on low for about a minute. Place it into a container and let it rise for 6 to 8 hours, until it has more than doubled. Use the biga while it is still growing and is not deflating. You can retard the biga by letting it rise at room temperature for an hour, refrigerating it overnight, removing it, and letting it sit at room temperature for three to four hours. 

Semolina Round

2 ounces warm water (105 to 115 degrees F)
1 tsp active dry yeast
12.5 ounces room temperature water
10 ounces biga
18.35 ounces/520 grams/4 cups durum flour
2 ounces medium ground yellow cornmeal
1/4 C black sesame seeds, or a combination of other seeds
1 T plus 1 tsp Kosher salt
Extra cornmeal for sprinkling

Mix the yeast and the warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer and let stand for 3 minutes.

Add the rest of the water and the biga and mix with the paddle attachment.

Whisk the durum, cornmeal, 2 T of the seeds, and the salt together.

Add the flour mixture to the stand mixer bowl and mix with a dough whisk or a large spoon until the dough forms a sticky mass.

Knead the dough with the dough hook for 5 to 7 minutes. Add additional flour if needed, but err on the side of less flour. The dough should be soft and supple.

Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rest for 20 minutes.

Knead the dough for 2 to 3 minutes more.

Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl or dough rising bucket and let it rise until doubled, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Divide the dough into two equal halves.

Gently shape each piece into a rectangle and then roll them into cylinders like a baguette. Roll the cylinders under your hands to elongate them until you get a 32 inch rope. Coil the ropes.

Place the loaves side by side on one sheet pan sized piece of parchment (on top of a pizza peel or a cookie sheet so you can transfer the loaves to the oven) that has been sprinkled with cornmeal with 3 to 4 inches between the loaves. Spray the grooves of the loaves with water, and and place the remaining seeds evenly into the grooves.

Cover the loaves with oiled plastic wrap and let them rise for 45 to 90 minutes, until almost proofed, but not fully proofed.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F with a baking stone on the second to lowest rack. Place a broiler pan on the lowest rack and fill a mister with water. Boil one cup of water.

Mist the loaves with water, slide the parchment with the loaves onto the baking stone, and pour the boiling water into the broiler pan. Cover your oven window with a dish towel so you don't break it!

Spray the oven walls and the loaves with water and close the door. Spray again every 60 second three more times, quickly shutting the oven door each time.

Bake for 20 minutes and then reduce the oven to 375 degrees F. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes more.

Cool on a wire rack.


This post has been submitted to Yeastspotting.

Sep 21, 2012

BBA Challenge #25 Pizza Napolitana | #26 Poolish Baguettes | #27 Portuguese Sweet Bread

The next three recipes in my chronicle of baking every recipe in Peter Reinhart's Bread Baker's Apprentice.

#25 Pizza Napoletano

Thin crust pizza. Oh yeah.

If you like thin crust pizza, and are willing to get semolina all over your kitchen and oven, make this pizza. Or use parchment paper to avoid the semolina mess. While true pizzaphiles might be able to tell the difference, I was perfectly happy with the pizza baked on the parchment placed on a preheated stone.
Sep 14, 2012

Friday Cocktail | Ginger Martini

Cheers to Fridays! I'm off until Tuesday. In fact, I'm taking every Monday off in September. I'm trying to burn my excess accrued vacation before the end of the year. Plus my son just slayed a scary looking spider out on the front porch. Seem like good reasons to say "cheers."

This drink is very refreshing. Perfect for a ridiculously hot day like today.

Ginger Martini

1 part ginger liqueur - I like Domain de Canton
1 part fruit flavored vodka - I prefer plum, pomegranate, or peach
1 part fresh lemon juice

Pour the ingredients over ice and shake or stir.
Strain into a martini glass that has been chilled in the freezer.

Sep 13, 2012

Sourdough Panettone


 One of the advantages to being about two years late to the BBA Challenge party is the ability to read every participant's blog post for successes and failures. Let's just say, it was really difficult to find any post that displayed any enthusiasm about the success of the panettone recipe in Bread Baker's Apprentice.

Sep 9, 2012

Parmesan Pull-apart Bread

Parmesan Pull-apart Bread

This month's Twelve Loaves challenge is bread with cheese.

Both my sister and I were given two cookbooks, one from 1978 and another from 1981. One is called "Come for Lunch," and the other is "Come for Dinner." Remember those spiral bound collections of personal recipes put together to raise money for a school or a charity? That's what these are.
Sep 4, 2012

Nectarine Upside-down Chiffon Cake | Tuesdays with Dorie, Baking with Julia

Picture this dripping with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream
Do not let the term "upside-down cake" turn you off. This cake is different.
Sep 2, 2012

BBA Challenge #22, Pain de Campagne, and BBA Challenge #23, Pane Siciliano

Installment number eight on my year of baking my way through Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice. One French bread and one Italian bread.

BBA Challenge #22, Pain de Campagne

Pain de Campagne is French "country bread." The recipe for Pain de Campagne also typically contains a small amount of whole grain (wheat, rye, or cornmeal) flour. It can be shaped into roles, epis, boules, batards, etc. and is baked in an oven on a stone and with a steam pan. In the book, Peter Reinhart, says he learned the formula for this recipe from Professor Raymond Calvel in France. This is the same professor with whom Julia Child consulted for her bread chapter in her second volume of Mastering the Art of French Cooking

This bread requires a pate fermentée, which is a pre-ferment made up to three days before you make the bread. It's a smaller piece of dough which is allowed to develop flavor over time. It's made from flour, salt, yeast, and water, allowed to rise, and then refrigerated. 

I shaped my dough into one big boule and let it rise in a brotform. (You can also use a well-floured cloth-lined deep bowl to proof the bread if you choose to make a boule.) Then, I cooked it in a preheated cast iron combo cooker turned upside down. I removed the hot pan from the oven, dumped the bread into the frying pan, slashed it, covered it with the deeper pan, and put the whole thing in the oven. After twenty minutes, I removed the larger pan and continue to bake the bread. This captures the moisture from the dough to create a steam oven without the steam pan. 

When I removed the bread, the thin, crispy crust crackled and "sang." 

Would I make again? Yes

Google BBA Challenge #22 for other bakers' experiences.

BBA Challenge #23, Pane Siciliano

This bread requires three days to make:

  • Day 1: Making the pate fermentee.
  • Day 2: Building the dough, shaping the loaves, and refrigerating overnight. 
  • Day 3: Proofing and baking.
This bread contains 40% semolina flour, which is a grainy yellow high-protein wheat that has a really nice, sort of nutty flavor. The finished loaves are supposed to be shaped like an S. I'll need to work on my shaping skills. The recipe calls for three loaves, but I made two larger loaves. 

I sprinkled toasted sesame seeds on one loaf, and black sesame seeds on the other. 

Would I make this bread again? Definitely. 

Google BBA Challenge #23 to see other bloggers' experiences. 

Participating in Bake Your Own Bread. Click the logo below to learn more.

BYOB 125 x 125