Tag Archives: semolina

Sesame Semolina Bread and Soup (Two versions)

NOTE: The potato gnocchi soup below is a tomato based adaptation of the kale and sausage soup posted here.

After an indulgent last dim sum outing with my nephew, on Friday, I used the afternoon to make another bread that I had added to my ‘to do’ list, while I was flourless.

The recipe came from the King Arthur Flour web site and is called a “Sesame Semolina Lunetta”. I have NO idea where the term lunetta comes from … lunetta means ‘little moon’ in Italian but this S-shaped bread doesn’t fit. In French, lunette refers to ‘eyeglasses’ … I guess you can vaguely picture two circles of glass in the S-shape. Sometimes, names have no clear explanation.

The dough turned out very wet but I suspect that my measuring cup didn’t allow me to be precise enough. (Next time, I’d try using the weight option for ingredients. ) Since it was too wet to hand knead, and I didn’t want to dig out my stand mixer, I decided to use a ‘stretch and fold’ process (every 15 minutes for an hour, for a total of 5 S&F’s) letting it rest for a further 30 minutes. I shaped the dough into an 18 inch rope and then coiled it into the S-shape and let it proof until it got very puffy, about 50 minutes.

Since it was still such a wet dough, I increased the baking temp to 400 deg F, rather than the 350 deg F in the recipe and baked the loaf until it got golden brown, 35-40 min (NOTE: 37 1/2 min).

The crust was crispy and the crumb was relatively open. The taste was good and there was a faint scent of sesame from the toasted sesame seed oil used in place of olive oil.

To accompany the bread, I made a pot of kale, hot Italian sausage and potato gnocchi soup. For a change of pace, I divided half the soup and added whipping cream to one portion.

Creamy version served with sliced and toasted sesame semolina bread, spread with pesto and grilled long enough to melt the Parmesan cheese in the pesto.

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Greek Semolina Cake with Orange Syrup

During a pre-Christmas visit, my SIL mentioned a syrup soaked cake that my mother had made years ago. She had discussed the dish with a work colleague who was curious about the dish but didn’t have a lot of recipe details to share with her. Since it had been a long time since I’d tasted the dessert myself, I was vague on details, but I thought it contained semolina. My nephew, however, thought it was finely ground cornmeal. His memory has been proven to be better than mine, in the past, but I thought I was right this time.

My mom never wrote down any of her recipes and I had, over the years, done some web searches for dishes that I remembered having eaten and liked. I was pretty sure I had saved something similar on one of those searches so I checked my hard drive, before I went web surfing again.

I ran across a recipe for a Greek semolina cake, with orange syrup, from “The Spruce” website, called “revani/ravani” which I thought I’d give a try. A similar dish, with Arabic/Algerian origins, is known as “basbousa”.

Since I was only cooking for one, I decided to scale down the recipe, designed to be baked in a 9 by 13 inch baking pan, and baked it in an 8 by 8 inch disposable aluminum baking pan.

Greek Semolina Cake with Orange Syrup – served with a spoonful of sweetened whipping cream

Just before folding the beaten egg whites into the rest of the batter.

Ready to bake

The baked cake after soaking in the syrup.

Cut and decorated with sliced almonds. It turned out well, though I decided to get creative in my cutting, and ended up touching the top of the cake, while it was soaking in the syrup, with my flexible cutting board which I was using as a guide. It took the top layer off the cake … so the result wasn’t as pretty as I hoped. And my cutting design was disappointing.

Conclusion: An easy to make cake, tasty and moist. The texture isn’t as ‘grainy’ as I remember my mom’s being. Maybe she used a coarser semolina grind, #2 not the finely ground #1, that the recipe called for.

If making this cake again, I’d cut it into 2 inch squares and not scale down the soaking syrup, since there wasn’t enough to get to the center of the cake.

Hybrid Semolina Sourdough Bread

Yes, this is another sourdough recipe.

(WARNING: DO NOT buy or create a sourdough starter. It’s addictive to play with.)

After using up some excess sourdough starter for the hot cross buns, I was left with the remaining jar staring me in the face every time I looked toward the top of the fridge. I’m still searching for the perfect starter only/no commercial yeast recipe but ran across a recipe for a semolina sourdough bread. Semolina is a golden, very high gluten flour used mainly for pasta. The recipe still used commercial yeast but I have had this semolina in my pantry for a couple of years so I decided to use it up.

And it was a much more successful bake than previous ones.

I had a nice rise in the final proof … even if oven spring was so-so. I’d probably try a higher temperature (400-450 deg F) on a future attempt. Even 500 deg F. I was concerned about the baking because I forgot to proof my yeast (the original recipe called for the dough to be made in the bread machine with instant yeast and I wasn’t paying attention when I made it by hand with regular dry yeast granules) and I still found yeast granules in the dough before the first proof. I ended up kneading for a second time after letting the dough rise for one hour in a warm locate and then letting it rise for a second hour. And then I deflated the dough and shaped and proofed for a third time. That probably accounted for my poor oven spring.

I wrote up the recipe as I would do it next time with the yeast proofing instructions. 🙂

Hybrid Semolina Sourdough Bread – makes 1 x 1 1/2 lb loaf

1 tbsp sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp warm water
1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 1/4 cups #1 semolina flour
3/4 cup sourdough starter

1-2 tsp vegetable oil
3 tbsp cornmeal, to coat proofing bowl
1 1/2 tsp sesame or poppyseeds (optional)

In a medium bowl, add warm water and sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Sprinkle the yeast over the water and stir. Let sit for 5-10 minutes until foamy.

In a large bowl, combine the semolina flour and salt. At the proofed yeast mixture and sourdough starter. Stir well.

Transfer to a working surface and knead for about 5 minutes. Shape into a ball.

Coat a large bowl with a teaspoon or two of vegetable oil, add the ball of dough to the bowl, rotate a bit to coat the dough, cover with saran wrap and place into a warm place for 1-1 1/2 hrs until doubled.

Turn the risen dough onto the working surface, punch down and form into a round shaped loaf. Dust a bread rising basket with the cornmeal and place your loaf into it.

Preheat oven and a pizza baking stone (or a metal baking sheet if you don’t have a baking stone) to 375 degrees F

Cover dough with a clean towel and let rise in a warm place, about 1 hour or until double in size. You can sprinkle the top with sesame seeds, if you wish.

After dough has risen, carefully turn it out onto the hot pizza stone and bake. (I turned it out onto a sheet of parchment paper, scored and then transferred the bread, paper and all, onto the preheated metal baking sheet.)

Bake for about 45 minutes. Check that it’s done by knocking on the bottom of the bread and listening for a hollow sound.

Nice, golden brown bread loaf bottom on the metal baking sheet

Cool on a wire rack before cutting.