I have a confession. I am a compulsive doubler. When I am faced with a recipe that I think or know we will like, I will often double it. The way I look at it, most things freeze well, and it usually doesn’t take double the amount of work to make twice as much as you need. In fact, I have even been known to triple my boys’ favorite dish (red beans and rice) because they don’t mind eating it day in and day out and having a few dinners already made in the freezer is a great help on busy days.
One type of recipe that I will always double is a bread recipe that only makes one loaf. Bread freezes well and a loaf of bread really only lasts a couple of days in my house, so when I saw this week’s twd recipe only yielded one loaf of bread, I had to double it. And it worked out wonderfully.
I mixed up all the sponge ingredients in my mixer bowl to minimize dishes.
I like to do all my measuring at once, so I sprinkled on the rest of the flours on top of the sponge, a trick I learned from Rose Levy Berenbaum’s book, The Bread Bible. This doesn’t affect the sponge’s action and helps me to see how active the sponge is because it will rise through the flour. See?
My sponge was super active. The recipe had each rising time as two hours, but my times turned out to be more like an hour each. Maybe it was the temperature of the house or the instant yeast I used? Anyway, this suited me just fine since it would mean that the bread would be ready in time for us to have it with our dinner.
They were ready to bake in about an hour. See how much they poofed? I baked my loaves on a stone and sprinkled some sesame seeds on top to make it look more like those loaves you get in Italian shops.
Unfortunately, most of the seeds fell off after they were baked because I hadn’t used anything to anchor them to the dough. Oh well. Also, I think I may have cut the dough too deeply. They sure did expand in the oven!
The bread was nice and crusty on the outside and really soft and fluffy on the inside. Also, I used the salt amounts listed, but used coarse kosher salt instead of table salt and they turned out just fine. The boys loved it. The first loaf was gone in 24 hours–I sure am glad I made two!
To make your own, you can find the recipe here and here. I got my semolina, aka durum flour, from King Arthur Flour, but I have also seen it Wegman’s and Whole Foods. It gives a nice golden color to the loaves and a slightly different flavor as well. I have a lot more semolina flour, so I think I will be making this again, but I am thinking about shaping them into hamburger buns. Wouldn’t that be good?