We had a terrible storm last night and lost an enormous oak tree. This tree was not on the radar to fall because it was full of green leaves and looked healthy. It was quite a shock to see it across the road this morning.
We have a lot of trees and sometimes it doesn’t matter when we lose one. But sometimes it does. And this one did matter. It was next to the road and had a beautiful canopy providing shade to the road. And it was so old. But we found out when it fell that even though it looked healthy, it wasn’t. The wood in the center of the trunk, at the base, was soft and crumbly. It looked and felt like a dry sponge.
This week’s recipe Semolina Bread is being hosted by Renee and Anna. Please read their blogs for the recipe. Or go out and purchase Baking with Julia for this and all the other recipes in the Tuesdays with Dorie challenge.
Anyway, getting back to the sponge comment, the Semolina Bread is a yeast bread that starts as a sponge. In this case the sponge is made from warm water, active dry yeast, and all-purpose flour. I have not had a lot of luck making yeast breads. I always think my risings are not as big as they should be (because my house is too cold), and I am afraid my yeast is bad (even though I just bought it and it does not expire for another year). But this time, I knew after 2 hours that the yeast was good because there were holes galore in the sponge. Yeah!
Then I added the sponge to my food processor, and then added the all-purpose and semolina flours and salt as specified. My food processor did the whole mixing part really fast. In the end I had quite a sticky dough.
Then it had to rise again. Since the house air conditioning was on, I knew it was not going to rise inside. I decided to bring it outside into the 90 degree plus heat and let it rise there. This worked really well.
After rising for two hours, I brought the dough inside to flatten and then form into a oval log. And then L and I brought it back outside on a covered parchment lined baking sheet to rise again.
After another 2 hours, we brought it inside and I had the kids brush on an egg wash and then sprinkle sesame seeds on top.
While the dough had been slightly puffed when I brought it inside, as soon as we touched the egg wash to it, it immediately sank. I hoped it would rise in the oven when cooked.
After 35 minutes, we had the results.
Did it rise more? No.
It was all of 1 1/2 inches high. Looked like the biscotti recipe from 2 weeks ago.
Did we like it? Yes! It had a wonderfully crunchy crust and a soft hole-y inside. I slathered some butter on my piece, but it really did not need it because it was just as good plain.
Would I make this again? Yes! Even though it came out quite flat, the taste was really good. I love the crunchiness.
In two weeks we are making a Blueberry Nectarine Pie. I love making pies (and tarts). It should be fun. Check back soon!