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April Bread of the Month: My Grandpa's Grain

There is a lot more bread that we want to bake for you than we can fit into our regular bake schedule.  So each month Teisha and I pick a special loaf to make for you every day during the month.

Our special loaf for April features Semolina flour.  Semolina is a hard, golden, high protein flour made from durum wheat.

Semolina has a special place in my heart because durum was the wheat my grandfather grew on his farm south of Moose Jaw.  When I was a boy I loved those amazing picnics in the field during harvest season. I'd sit with my dad and grandpa and eat sandwiches that my mom and grandma made and sip coffee from dad's thermos.  Sometimes we'd even have fried chicken -- what a treat!

The durum fields were also where I learned to drive for the first time.  When I was 13 or 14 I would read comics in the old grain truck until it was time to unload durum from the combine. Boy did I ever get in trouble if I started daydreaming and miss the signal to drive to the combine!

Semolina flour is also grown in quantity in southern Italy.  Mainly for pasta but also for bread.  So our April Bread of the Month has an Italian influence as well.

Semolina loaf in a traditional 'S' shape

The Semolina Loaf #

Of all the bread I made back in my brick oven days, this was Cindy's favourite.  A flavourful, golden loaf in the traditional "S" shape.We use some of our wild yeast levain in the dough to provide depth of flavour.  We also use a small amount of butter in this loaf; butter and semolina pair well and a slice will also brown very well in the toaster.

The Semolina Loaf is shaped into an S and then dipped in sesame seeds -- after the seeds toast in the oven they add yet another boost of flavour to the bread.

Sesame Flame

The Sesame Flame #

The Sesame Flame is a crazy idea from my most amazing teacher.  Didier Rosada taught my this loaf in San Francisco in 2008 but I needed my current oven to make it worthwhile to bake it.

The Flame is a semolina baguette that is full of sesame seeds inside and also dipped in sesame seeds.  Just before baking, we split the baguette and shape into a wild lick of 'flame'.  The end result is a huge, ridiculous sesame stick that is so big it's almost impossible to put in a bag.  But the taste is incredible - crispy, chewy, nutty and sesame-y.  Wow!

We like to tear it apart and either eat it as is or dip it in hummus, tzatziki, or whatever you have at hand.  The longest a Flame has lasted in my presence is 15 minutes, so don't turn your back on it if you have friends over.

Please Note:  We're struggling a bit to fit the Semolina "Breads of the Month" loaves in our schedule.  They available just after 10AM every day in April.