Baking with Julia – Semolina Bread

So I got back from a mini-vacation to see my family last Sunday and I’ve been feeling a bit down ever since. I had a tremendous time on the island seeing everyone and soaking up the sun and spending time with my family but leaving is so hard these last few times. I just start thinking about how I used to literally have months, miles, acres of time with them and now I just get these long weekends like once a year and I get really sad. The last few times when I’ve come home I pretty much just burst into tears, making my husband feel really great. “Yes honey, of course I’m glad to see you, I just did not want to leave yet.” I’m sure he feels awesome about that.

This time was especially hard for some reason and I’ve been really needing my feel-good movie. Do you have one of those? Every time I feel really sad, I watch Pride & Prejudice and it has never failed to make me feel at least a little better. So last night I decided to stay up late and bake this bread while I watched my movie. Really late. Like took it out of the oven at 1:35 AM after the oven timer had been beeping for an unspecified amount of time (fell asleep on the couch before Lady Catherine shows up in the middle of the night). This might cause a stir, but I actually do not like the Colin Firth version of P & P. I prefer the 2005 edition where Matthew Macfadyen plays Mr. Darcy. I think Colin Firth’s cuteness is undisputed but I firmly believe that he looks like the world’s worst kisser. Have you seen him kiss anyone in movies??? It looks terrible. Maybe it’s one of those things like Crocs where they (supposedly) feel amazing but look horrific. Who knows? But this is what I like to see when I feel down:

Back to this bread though. I started it last night at like 7:30 by making the sponge. I haven’t made a lot of bread that starts with a sponge but I think I did it right because it totally looks spongy. What is WITH this word being everywhere lately?

I don’t have a large food processor, just two small ones (why?) so I used Candy and the dough hook to mix this up and then let it rise in what I am starting to think of as my bread rising bowl

I loved the texture of this dough because of the semolina. I am kind of a cornbread nut so even though it sounds weird to say, I like things a little gritty. After I let it rise for the requisite two hours, it looked like this:

The bowl is pretty huge so it still looks tiny, but I promise you it did double in size. I found the directions about shaping the dough and slashing it a little confusing but I gave it my best.

Admittedly this shot would have been lots better if I had taken it before I put the cling wrap on but it was already like 11:30 and some of my synapses had quit firing for the day. So then it had to rise for ANOTHER 2 hours. This is getting kind of ridic Nick Malgieri. Sometime during all this, I went online and watched Nick and Julia make some Italian cookies and I have to say, he is just the cutest little hobbit man. I want to put him in my pocket and take him out whenever I am in desperate need of pastry.

Poofy! Like I said, I found the directions about how to do the slashes a little confusing so I just did three diagonal ones on the top. I didn’t have a razor or grignette so I just used a paring knife and tried to make them as quick as I could without deflating the whole thing. This is what I came up with:

I went to bed immediately after taking this out and turning off the oven so I took this pic in the morning and then made some toast. Some people in the P & Q had said they thought the bread was a little salty and I would agree, but when slathered with butter and sprinkled with either cinnamon/sugar or drizzled with honey, it tastes pretty perfect. Yum!

I am perfectly willing to listen to arguments about the whole Colin Firth/P & P thing but I gotta say, I won’t change my mind! 🙂 Hope everyone else had a good time making this bread –  it definitely lifted my spirits.

13 thoughts on “Baking with Julia – Semolina Bread

  1. I love colin and matthew both, but you are right. That shot with matthew walking across the foggy field is just stunning. Not much can top that scene. Anyhow, the bread looks great. I’m glad you got to make it. It was popular in my house. The first loaf was gone in less than 24 hours.

  2. All I can say, Mags, is that your bread looked much better and rose much higher than my bread. Good job, no matter what the hour. Great slashing. I slashed early and the dough got pretty upset about it. As for P&P, I’m still trying to get over “Ted”.

  3. Maggie, absolutely beautiful loaf of semolina bread and it rose so well and your slashes did not deflate the bread! We ate some fresh and some toasted, I believe it is good either way.

    As far as Jane Austin´s “Pride and Prejudice” goes, I have never seen the film but I have read the book but that was sooo long ago, maybe renting it as a movie is a really good idea, I will see whether I can find it.

    Hope you are feeling a bit better this week!

  4. looks like the late night baking agreed with your bread at least. it looks pretty perfect too! I haven’t been much of a movie watcher, but you’ve peaked my interest to check out P&P!

  5. Hobbit man 🙂
    P&P is one of my favorite movies ever (I think the only movies I love more are Spaceballs & My Fair Lady). I love both versions. Speaking of movies…I have to thank you. The other night, my daughter wanted to go see Magic Mike & from your post I at least knew what it was (which made me far less lame in her eyes…)
    Lovely bread & I hope you are feeling a little less gloomy.

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