There’s nothing quite like having a loaf of home baked bread coming out of the oven, especially in winter. I’ve been baking bread for years, but I seem to go in spurts. My first attempts at bread making was when I lived in Colorado and I had the altitude to contend with. I seem to remember some pretty heavy whole wheat loaves coming out of my kitchen. I then moved to Boston where I frequently made baguettes. I’m not sure why, but I haven’t made a baguette in years. Most recently I’ve been stuck on the famous no knead bread and although I love its simplicity, what I really adore is its crustiness-like something you’d find in a great bakery.
I was inspired to make this bread after seeing it over at Alexandra’s Kitchen. The recipe was featured in Bon Appetit a few years back and is originally from Macrina Bakery-a small Seattle cafe with with amazing baked goods. I made half of this recipe and it was still a good size loaf. I think if I were to make the entire recipe I would divide it into two loaves.
The semolina flour lent a nice touch of corniness, while the addition of olive oil kept the bread moist. Right out of the oven with a little butter and watch this loaf disappear. Maybe you will want to make the full recipe!
Rosemary Semolina Bread
1 3/4 cups warm water (105°F to 115°F), divided
1 tablespoon active dry yeast (measured from 2 envelopes)
2 1/4 cups (about) unbleached all purpose flour, divided
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
2 1/2 cups semolina flour (you should be able to find this at your grocery store-sometimes called pasta flour)
2 teaspoons fine-grained sea salt
Additional semolina flour
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, divided
1 teaspoon coarse-grained sea salt
Place 1 1/4 cups warm water in medium bowl; sprinkle yeast over and stir to blend. Let stand 5 minutes to soften. Whisk to dissolve yeast. Add 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour; whisk until smooth. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let stand at room temperature (about 75°F) until bubbles form and yeast mixture has more than doubled in volume, about 45 minutes.
Whisk remaining 1/2 cup warm water, olive oil, and rosemary in large bowl to blend. Using rubber spatula, mix in semolina flour and 2 teaspoons fine-grained sea salt (dough will be very dry). Stir in yeast mixture. Work in 3/4 cup all purpose flour. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth, adding more all purpose flour by tablespoonfuls if sticky. Let rest 5 minutes. Knead until dough springs back when pressed with thumb, about 8 minutes.
Lightly oil large bowl. Transfer dough to bowl; turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature until doubled in volume, about 1 hour. Transfer dough to lightly floured surface. Flatten dough into 18×12-inch rectangle. Starting from 1 long side, roll tightly to form 2 1/2-inch-diameter, 20-inch-long log. With seam side down, shape log into ring, inserting 1 end into second end; smooth seam.
Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Sprinkle sheet with additional semolina flour. Transfer dough ring to prepared sheet, reshaping as necessary to form smooth circle. Sprinkle with 1 1/2 teaspoons sesame seeds, pressing lightly to adhere. Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let bread rise at room temperature until almost doubled in volume, about 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Remove plastic wrap from bread. Using sharp knife, cut 1/4-inch-deep slit all the way around top of loaf. Spray bread lightly with water. Sprinkle with 1 1/2 teaspoons sesame seeds and 1 teaspoon coarse-grained salt. Transfer to oven. Bake bread 15 minutes, spraying lightly with water every 5 minutes. Continue to bake without spraying until bread is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on bottom, about 30 minutes longer. Transfer bread to rack and cool completely.