Sunday, January 29, 2012

PS #5 Italian Durum Semolina

Baked on January 19,  2012


1 1/2 c. very fine durum semolina flour         1 c AP flour
1 c. bread flour                                               10 oz. newly refreshed PS* starter
1 1/2 c. purified water                                    1 T liquid barley malt
1 1/2 t salt

Mixing, Method, etc.

St. Anthony bread, left, and PS 5 loaf, right
I mixed as usual in my stand mixer, kneading  with the dough hook for 4 minutes.  Durum semolina can be a little tricky- it tends to "liquify" after several minutes of kneading and you don't want to add too much extra AP or bread flour.  I was going for a very basic Italian style loaf that was leavened completely by starter.  This bread still took longer than using yeast to rise, but it was ready to punch down after about three hours.  My notes are incomplete- not sure exactly how much the dough weighed, but I shaped it into one boule and one oval loaf.  They proofed in towel lined baskets for about an hour or so. I preheated  the 1 1/2 quart le creuset dutch oven and the small graniteware roaster pan with their lids on for the last 30 minutes in 450 F oven.

I popped the loaves into the hot pans, docked them and spritzed them with water, then  sprinkled them with sesame seeds and put the lids back on. They were done in 25 minutes.  Great oven spring, nice golden crust, crispy with a fine crumb.  


I can say that with this batch of bread, I am finally more confidant about using the starter without a rigid recipe to follow.  I now know that 10 oz. of a newly refreshed batch of starter will make a well-balanced Italian loaf.  (I mention this because the first time I baked an Italian loaf with this starter, I think there was too high a ratio of starter to the rest of the ingredients, and the crumb had a kind of rubberiness to it, for lack of a better description.)  Of all the breads that I bake, I find that I crave a crispy crusted Italian style loaf more than any other.  However,  I think that the coarser semolina flour adds more crunch than this silkier, finer durum semolina. I will have to check that out with the next loaf of Italian.  

I took the oval loaf over to Francesca along with a section of the St. Anthony loaf (crackling bread, pictured above.)  See the next post for more about that bread. 

*PS: Pete's Starter


  1. Great to see the starter being put to such good use!

  2. Thanks, Pete. I have a few more posts to go to be current. One thing for sure, writing out recipes is a pain. The thing is, if I don't write down at least the quantities of ingredients, it will come back to bite me if something that I am trying to replicate comes out poorly. And because most of the time I bake by feel, this has been an interesting new-habit-forming experience.

    I suspect that if I were baking every day with the starter, it would be acting faster and faster, especially on the simple doughs. Hey, if you think of it, can you photograph some of the different breads that you are eating from your local bakeries?

    Check out this post for something exactly like you and Kathy described in her blog on all the different breads of Germany:

    And for some mind boggling reads, also on The Fresh Loaf site, simply do a search there on "German Breads" and you may have a lifetime of German bread baking ahead of you when you return to the States. (Um, not that you don't already have enough to do...!!)