Semolina/Bread Flour Batard Loaves – July 9-10, 2020
Recipe: After seeing a lot of posts about using semolina flour in sourdough bread in the two sourdough focused Facebook groups that I’m a member of I did some research and landed on the following recipe…For these loaves I used 67% bread flour and 33% semolina along with 20% levain (Mortimer), 2.2% salt, and 75% hydration. Because I made my levain the night before and wanted to get the loaves shaped and in the refrigerator as early as possible; I decided to forgo an autolyse and mixed all of the ingredients together at once.
Bulk Fermentation: 5.25 hours w/ 3 sets of stretch and folds. Followed by preshaping, a 30 minute rest and final shaping into batards. Overnight Retard/Proof: 18 hours Baked 25 minutes covered and 25 minutes uncovered @ 450F.
Techniques Used: Being that this was my “eighth bake” I found it quite easy to follow basic recipe parameters once I decided to use 33% semolina flour. Because I had my air conditioner on and my Brod & Taylor proofer as an option for controlling bulk fermentation temperature, I was not worried about baking on a hot/humid day. In turn, after my 3 sets of stretch and folds I put my mixing bowl of dough in my proofer for the remainder of bulk fermentation which was set to 80F. Lastly, in an effort to only change one variable at a time in terms of avoiding a overly caramelized and tough bottom crust. I decide to add an extra cookie sheet/roasting try to on the oven rack below my bread pans (Lodge combo cooker and Challenger bread pan for heat deflection and to preheat at 500F and bake at 450F (rather than starting covered at 500F)…
Results: Overall, I felt that the bottom crust was not any tougher than my previous loaves and the changes that I did make were effective (see pictures below). Next time I’ll rotate the loaves earlier and follow some advice that I got from Jim Challenger and do the following. I’ll completely remove my baking vessels, invert their lids, put them in the oven, and then put their bottoms on top in order to deflect even more heat during the uncovered portion of baking. In terms of appearance, I scored my first ever wheat stalks and am quite happy with how they turned out. The semolina gave the out of the loaves an attractive blonde/yellow hue, but the crumb was pale due to 2/3 of the flour being white bread flour. Flavorwise, both the crust and interior were balanced. I think I’ll have to use more semolina next time to really taste how much it can contribute to a sourdough loaf’s flavor profile.
For more pictures of these loaves and all of my sourdough recipes click on the ‘Sourdough Baking Journal’ page above.