Sunday, July 20, 2009
I was trying to decide what kind of bread to make this weekend, when I ran across this recipe on the King Arthur website. I'm a big fan of breads made with semolina flour (or durum, the more often recommended, and finer-textured, alternative). Most semolina bread recipes call for about half semolina flour and half something else--all purpose or bread, most often. But this one was 100% semolina flour. If some is good, more must be better, right? Oddly, though, the distinctive taste of semolina flour that I like so much seemed to be less noticeable than it is when it's mixed with another flour. I liked this bread, and it makes wonderful toast, but it's not as distinctive as I hoped it would be.
It makes a lovely, cream-colored dough that's both easy to mix and easy to handle. (I read--too late for this bread--that it's a good idea to add any of the milk solids that are strained out making clarified butter, as I did on heavenlycakeplace.blogspot.com, to bread dough. I'll just take that on faith, for now).
It rose very nicely too, both in the bowl and in the pan:
As it should, since it has a full tablespoon of yeast.
It made a handsome loaf, too, with a nice texture.
And it tasted good, too. Jim was a big fan, and my friend Karen, who came over to taste the plum ingots, took a piece home with her. Despite all these virtues, I'll admit I'm feeling just lukewarm about this bread. Maybe it needs the addition of a different kind of flour to enhance the taste, or maybe, because it's a direct mix bread, it lacks the added flavor that a pre-ferment or a little sourdough adds.
I can recommend this bread as one that won't give you any trouble, but I can't say that your life would be less meaningful if you never tasted this bread. I'll admit that's a high standard, but it's the best I can do at summarizing my mixed feelings about it.