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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Semolina Sourdough with sesame seed - this time with durum flour

Now that I finally found (the elusive) durum flour (after been making semolina bread with fine semolina all along and I posted a blog about my quest for durum flour here.), I wanted to find out what semolina bread with sesame seeds would really taste like with the durum flour, not fine semolina.
I made the semolina bread from Jeffrey Hamelman’s Bread cookbook a few times before with fine semolina as I wasn’t able to find the durum flour required by the recipe back then. I wanted (and hoped) to be able to make a comparison with flavour, texture between the same bread made with fine semolina and durum flour.

Fine semolina on the left and durum flour on the right

I found there were few differences that fine semolina and durum flour produced with  this bread, i.e. texture, keeping quality, dough structure and oven spring. In fact, there could be many more differences but these were the ones noticeable to me.
Taste-wise, I couldn’t tell the differences, however, the bread made with fine semolina was a relatively distant memory as well. The bread texture was similarly chewy and both tastes lovely with sweet creamy flavour.

Semolina mutigrain bread made with fine semolina months back

One big difference was the dough texture and structure. Fine semolina contributed to slacker dough as it hardly absorbed the water. The bread also staled quicker as a result.
Dough made with fine semolina tends to be flatter. I didn’t get much oven spring from fine semolina. With durum flour, the loaves appeared to be quite flat when they were taken out of the proofing baskets but they achieved great oven spring and better volume during the bake. This could be the result of better gluten structure which supported better rise.

Fine semolina worked in the recipe however durum flour would produce bread with better rise and crumb structure. Personally, if I can’t find durum flour, I’ll be happy with this bread made with semolina as well.
This dough was pleasant to work with. It has smooth and satiny texture. It was almost effortless to have gluten developed. In fact, Hamelman stated that durum flour had high gluten which can develop quickly. The gluten can also be unknit as quickly, care needs to be taken not to over-mixing the dough.
This bread is one of my favourite. I love the aroma and texture of sesame seeds in bread (or in anything really) and the durum flour also add sweet creamy flavour to the bread, and tender crumb. I used black sesame seeds instead of white as I find the black sesame seeds is more flavourful. I love its smoky flavour. I toasted the seeds in the pan instead of oven. It is something I enjoy, doing thing with my hand, and inhale the aroma of food as I go along.

Semolina Sourdough Recipe
Adapted from Jeffrey Hamelman’s Bread: a baker’s book of techniques and recipes
Make 2 large loaves

Overall formula
Baker’s Percentage
Bread flour
363 g
Durum flour
544 g
607 g
17 g
Sesame seeds, toasted
45 g
Total weight
1576 g

Liquid levain build

Bread flour 136 g
Water 170 g
Mature culture (liquid) 28 g

Final dough

Bread flour 227 g
Durum flour 544 g
Water 437 g
Salt 17 g (1T)
Sesame seeds, toasted 45 g
Liquid levain 306 g (all less 2 T)

Liquid levain: Make the final build 12 to 16 hours before the final dough. Leave levain in a covered container and leave it at room temperature.
Mixing: Add all the ingredients to the mixing bowl, except salt and sesame seeds. Mix until they are combined and form a dough ball. Leave the dough in bowl covered with plastic wrap or bag for 30 minutes to autolyse.
Sprinkle salt over the dough surface and mix well. Mix on low-medium speed for 5-7 minutes until moderate gluten is achieved. I knead the dough by hand and it took about 15 minutes.  
Be careful not to over-mix the dough as durum flour gluten will quickly unknit if the gluten is overly developed.
Bulk fermentation: Leave the dough in a lightly oiled bowl covered with plastic wrap or bag for 2 hours or until it is doubled in size. It took 2.5 hours for me to fully ferment the dough.
Folding: Do one stretch-and-fold after 1 hour.
Dividing and shaping: Divide the dough into two equal pieces. Pre-shape into rounds and let the rest under a tea towel for 15 minutes for gluten to relax.  Shape the dough in round (boule) or oblong (batard).
Final fermentation: Approximately 2 hours or until it is about 1.5 of its original size.
I retarded the shaped loaves overnight in the fridge for 9 hours. After I took the shaped loaves out of the fridge, I let them  sit at room temperature for two hours before baking. The weather was getting cooler in Melbourne. It used to take only an  hour during late Summer.

You can apply untoasted sesame seeds on the surface of the bread by lightly spraying the top surface with water and press sesame seeds on the surface just before baking.
Baking: Baking at 235C for 40 -45 minutes, with steam for the first 15 minutes.
Submitting this post to YeastSpotting.

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