Semolina (Rava) Bread

“The smell of good bread baking, like the sound of lightly flowing water, is indescribable in its evocation of innocence and delight.” – M.F.K. Fischer



True that !! Nothing like the smell of baking bread !! 
The weather was awesome….a light breeze and a constant drizzle with spells of heavy showers off and on….. Isn’t it the perfect setting for baking. Baking breads. 🙂
I made Semolina Bread. Semolina known as Rava or Sooji in India. Semolina flour is often also used in making Pastas. In breads it adds a sweetish fermented aroma and a smooth silky texture.


This bread dough is made with a technique called Sponging. It is an old fashioned type of sponge called Flying Sponge. So first we create the sponge (more in the recipe….) and then add it to the main flour. 
Yes you do need to have time at hand to do this bread but one bite and you know it was all worth the effort.  It has a crispy crust and chewy inside. 
So it was a perfect Saturday spent with a surprise from the cousins over lunch and then bread baking. Between making and sponge and the main dough KJ and I decided to take a walk in the rain…. yes we had that kinda time in between 🙂



So here it is:

Semolina Bread

Makes 2 large loaves

Ingredients:
Sponge:
180 g (1 ½ cups) Semolina Flour
180 g (1 ½ cups) Bread Flour
250 g (1 1/8 cups) Water
1 ¼ tsp Instant Yeast
½ tsp Sugar
Final Dough:
270 g (2 & 1/8 cups) Semolina Flour
270 g (2 & ¼ cups) Bread Flour
306 g (1 and 3/8 cups) Water
1 tbsp Salt
2 tbsps Olive oil, extra virgin
Sponge, all of the above

Procedure
Creating the Sponge:
1. Mix the semolina flour, bread flour, water, yeast and sugar until evenly incorporated.  You can use the mixer, but I just used a large fork.
2. The sponge should be fairly loose.  Let the sponge ferment for about 1¼ hours.

Mixing the Dough:
1. Add all of the ingredients, including the sponge, to the mixing bowl and mix on first speed until all of the ingredients are incorporated, about 3 minutes.
2. Increase the speed to the second speed and mix for another 2 to 3 minutes.  The dough will be of medium consistency. It should have noticeable gluten development.
I used my hands to mix the dough and kneaded it with hands too.
Bulk Fermentation:
Let the dough bulk ferment for 1½ hour and fold the dough after 45 minutes.  

Dividing Shaping and Baking the Loaves:
1. Divide the dough into two halves, preshape lightly into rounds and place the rounds on a lightly floured surface, seams up.  Cover the rounds with plastic.
2. After about 10-20 minutes, when the dough has relaxed sufficiently, shape it into tight round or oval loaves.  Place the loaves into floured lined baskets.
3. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees C.
4. Invert the loaves onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.  They came out of the baskets really easily.

5. Spray the top of the loaves with water and sprinkle them with sesame seeds or nigella seeds and score the bread with a sharp knife or a blade.
6. Once the oven is preheated, bake the bread for 15 minutes on a water bath, and then lower the oven setting to 230 degrees C.  Continue baking for 20 to 30 minutes more.  Check the breads during the bake and rotate them 180 degrees for even baking if necessary.

7. Remove the loaves to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing and serving.



Happy Baking !!

Peasant’s Bread

The smell of bread baking is the one of the most heartwarming aromas in the world !!


What do you do when people at home refuse to eat store bought bread? KJ refuses to buy bread anymore. If he had his way i’ll only be baking this bread day in and day out.. 
Bread, good bread is the ultimate comfort food. Perfect when you need your shot of carbs !! 



 “If thou tastest a crust of bread, thou tastest all the stars and all the heavens.” – Robert Browning



I’ve been on a bread-high these days and was completely sold on the looks of this beauty. It looks as good as it tastes, but then isn’t that the key to well cooked food. It should look as good as it should taste.
This  is a simple recipe, actually the easiest so far. Soft and porous inside and crispy outside. 
As the name suggests, it is a simple Peasant’s bread with just 4 ingredients. Peasant’s bread also known as Farmer’s Bread is a basic bread with minimal ingredients but fantastic taste. 



KJ has spent many years in Sri Lanka,  and swears that it tastes like their local bread which  was sold on carts, wrapped in old newspaper.It’s the unsophistication and rustic charm of the countryside which lends to its aroma. 



I recently served this for a dinner and this bread beautifully complimented my Shepherd’s Pie, a Garden Salad and Spagetti Aglio-o-lio with Pesto. I had friends going gaga over the bread …the humble accompaniment was actually the star of my dinner spread. Even friends who were not so much bread people loved it….and probably more loved the fact that it was homemade bread ! 

For sandwiches, for butter toasts or for an accompaniment, I can safely say this bread has been by far my best….thanks to Alexandra of Alexandra’s Kitchen

Peasant’s Bread – Recipe


Ingredients

4 cups All-purpose flour


2 teaspoons kosher salt

2 cups lukewarm water

1 tbsp Sugar

2 tsp Active-dry yeast

Room temperature butter, about 2 tbsp


Directions

1. In a large mixing bowl whisk the flour and the salt. Set aside. Grease a separate large bowl with butter or olive oil and set this aside.

2. In a small mixing bowl, dissolve the sugar into the water. Sprinkle the yeast over top. There is no reason to stir it up. Let it stand for about 10 to 15 minutes or until the mixture is foamy and/or bubbling just a bit — this step is just to ensure that the yeast is active. Now, gently stir it up, and add to the flour bowl. Stir this mixture up with a spatula or wooden spoon. Mixture will be wet. Scrape this mixture into prepared greased bowl from step 1.
3. Cover bowl with a tea towel or plastic wrap and set aside in a warm spot to rise for at least an hour. (If you have the time to let it rise for 1.5 to 2 hours, do so — this will help the second rise go more quickly.) If you feel the temperature where you stay is not too high, you could always preheat the oven at 180C for one minute. Turn it off and keep the dough in it. The trapped heat will help the dough to rise.

4. Preheat the oven to 220ºC. Grease two oven-safe bowls (such as the pyrex bowls) with about a tablespoon of butter each. Using two forks, punch down your dough, scraping it from the sides of the bowl, which it will be clinging to. As you scrape it down try to turn the dough up onto itself if that makes sense. You want to loosen the dough entirely from the sides of the bowl, and you want to make sure you’ve punched it down. Take your two forks and divide the dough into two equal portions — eye the center of the mass of dough, and starting from the center and working out, pull the dough apart with the two forks. Then scoop up each half and place into your prepared bowls. This part can be a little messy — the dough is very wet and will slip all over the place. It’s best to scoop it up fast and plop it in the bowl in one fell swoop. Let the dough rise for about 30 minutes or until it has risen to just below or above (depending on what size bowl you are using) the top of the bowls.
5. Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 190º and bake for 22 to 25 minutes longer. Remove from the oven and turn the loaves onto cooling racks. If you’ve greased the bowls well, the loaves should fall right out onto the cooling racks. If the loaves look a little pale and soft when you’ve turned them out onto your cooling racks, place the loaves into the oven (outside of their bowls) and let them bake for about 5 minutes longer. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before cutting.

Thank you Alexandra for this awesome bread recipe !!

Happy Baking !!