Having finally found the right flour I made two lots of bread on the same day with it to celebrate!
First I mixed up Celia’s yummy ciabatta style bread which uses fridge cold water and a mixture of bread flour and rimacinata. This chilly dough naturally takes a long time to prove in the English climate, almost like retarding the dough in the fridge overnight.
I marked the bowl it was proving in so that I could see when it had doubled. It took about eight hours in all at an ambient temperature of 21º C. I mixed it before the other bread and I baked it last – once I had reheated the oven and brought it to the higher temperature that Celia suggests to start the baking off.
It made a chewy and tasty bread, with huge holes and a crisp crust. The recipe can be found on Celia’s blog FigjamandLimeCordial.
We used it to make little toasted slices, slathered in oil and sprinkled with Za’atar and piled up with Misk’s tasty pork patties plus dry-fried left over mashed potatoes, red mustard and cherry tomatoes for lunch. It was very good!
We don’t eat a lot of ciabatta as I am not brilliant at handling these wet doughs, but this one was a bit easier than some others, I think because the rimacinata absorbs a lot of water; so even though the dough was a fairly wet one, it didn’t handle like the puddles of dough I have created before wrestling with ciabatta.
At the same time I revisited Jeffrey Hamelman’s Semolina bread with levain which I wrote about here and wanted to have another crack at baking. This time I made it exactly the way it is written, toasted sesame seeds included in the dough, as well as decorating the crust and with the correct proportions of flours. It came out looking like this and I was really happy with it.
The only small mistake I made was not pressing the dough into the seeds after shaping as Hamelman instructs, before it settled down for its last prove. It was quite hard to press a fragile, damp and almost fully proved dough into a plate of sesame seeds, I don’t recommend doing it that way as the loaf is liable to deflate.
I loved the extra nuttiness that the sesame seeds imparted to the golden bread and this is definitely a flour to look out for and a bread to make again. There is a noticeable difference in the way the dough handles using this finer flour, it is more elastic and smoother and though you do have to be careful not to overmix or overknead it, it was easy to work with as I am not the world’s most enthusiastic kneader!
Just thought I’d mention that Syd on the Fresh Loaf has posted some gorgeous pictures of his pane con semola and written a lovely post about it and the complete recipe is up on that site, so if you want to make it and haven’t bought Bread by Jeffrey Hamelman yet, you will find it there. Mellow Bakers have moved on to other breads for July and I am lagging behind but it’s not too late to join in if you fancy baking along with the group. Summertime and the baking is easy…..