Semolina Sesame Seed Bread
THEME: #251 RAVA RAAGA
DISH: SEMOLINA SESAME SEED BREAD
Theme this week on FoodieMonday/Bloghop
After all the celebration, for the 250th theme by members of this awesome group, we are back to suggesting themes whereby all members have easy access to ingredients. Though many countries are trying to get back to some sort of normal life…which by the way is never going to be the same for anyone, some ingredients are still difficult to source. Keeping this in mind, Aruna who blogs at Vasus Veg Kitchen suggested that we use Semolina to prepare a dish.
What is Semolina?
Also known as Suji, sooji, rava, rawa, it is actually the middle part or endosperm of the hardy durum wheat. While milling the bran and germ is flaked off and the endosperm or starch part of the grain is cracked into coarse pieces. By sifting the coarse pieces are separated and ground into a flour. Usually the flour is fine sand like particles or slightly coarse. Semolina comes from the Italian word semolino. Its widely used in Italy to make pasta.
Worldwide use of Semolina
Though as Indians we may think that usage of semolina or rava is restricted to India or the Indian Subcontinent, that is not true. As I mentioned above the word semolina comes from the Italian word semolino and its widely used to make pasta.The high gluten content of semolina is what holds the pasta shape even after boiling it. Besides Italy, the rest of Europe uses semolina to make porridge, soups and puddings. Most of the Middle East uses it to make halvas or puddings to cakes and cookies. North African countries like Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria use semolina to make pancakes and the courser and bigger semolina which is called couscous is a part of their staple diet, served with stews. Its very much a part of the staple diet in Nigeria where its used in stews and soups. Italians tend to use semolina for breads. These days semolina is widely used in all sorts of bakes all over the world. Semolina is widely used in the Indian Sub Continent to make a wide variety of dishes right from breakfast to desserts.
Health benefits of Semolina:
- Semolina has the ability to release energy slowly, so no wonder its widely used as a breakfast option by many countries in the form of porridge or as upma, idli or dosa. It helps to keep hunger away for a longer time.
- Rich in dietary fibre, helps to digest food efficiently.
- Having a low glycemic index semolina helps to regulate blood sugar. Semolina is very good for diabetics.
- Rich in selenium, Vitamin E and Vitamin B, it makes semolina good for the immune system.
- Rich in magnesium, phosphorus and zinc, its helps to keep the nervous and the circulatory system healthy.
- Semolina is a rich source of iron.
- Semolina is also a good source of protein.
Some Semolina/Rava/Sooji Dishes you may want to try:
- Instant Semolina Idli/Rava Idli
- Orange Semolina Cake
- Pane Siciliano
- Kesar Sooji Phirni with Mango Jelly
- Shiro/Sooji Halwa
- Nagori Puri
- Baghrir- Moroccan pancakes
- Beetroot Appe
- Turmeric Aniseed Rusks
- Thandai Malpua with Strawberry Compote
- Amiri Khaman/Gujarati Sev Khaman
- Italian Pumpkin Bread/ Pane di Zucca
- Gur na Ladwa/Churma Laddoo
- Instant Dhokra/Khaman
- Rava Pizza is what I’d love to try from Aruna’s blog
- Onion Rava Dosa from Poonam’s blog is my all time favorite.
- Kesari Baath and Khara Baath prepared by Priya is so famous as breakfast in Bangalore.
- Try Preethi’s Semolina Bites as a starter or snack.
Semolina Sesame Seed Bread
While choosing from the two options that Aruna suggested, sabudana or semolina, I had opted for sabudana. However, the final decision was semolina. That prompted me to check out my hand written recipe book and came across instant uttapam and semolina bread recipe. The baker in me got the better of me and chose to make the bread. Am so glad that I chose the bread as it turned out to be an awesome bake…yeah yeah generally don’t like to boast but this time its different. Seriously, loved the crust.. so crispy and crunchy and the crumb or the middle part as the bakers call it was soft with loads of air pockets. Semolina breads turn out really good mainly I think its because its high in gluten. For the extra crispy crust, I brushed the bread top with water and while baking placed a tray of water underneath which helps to create the wonderful crust. The first two days I used it to make sandwiches. Thereafter it was toasted to enjoy with eggs and tea. When toasted semolina bread does become really crunchy.
Ingredients required for Semolina Sesame Seed Bread
- Semolina – rava, sooji. I used the regular fine type that is available in the market.
- Plain Flour – all purpose flour or maida. Extra for dusting. Next time I bake I’d like to replace it with wheat flour.
- Yeast – I usually tend to use instant active dry yeast which is added to the flour without fermenting it. If you use the regular dry active yeast, you will have to ferment it in warm water for ten minutes. Sprinkle the required amount of yeast in about ½ cup of warm water and add a bit of sugar or honey. Cover and let it ferment till the mixture appears all frothy and bubbly. Add that to the flour.
- Salt – Use any, I used Himalayan Pink Salt
- Warm Water – make sure the water is not too hot as it kill the yeast or too cold as it may not help to activate the yeast.
- Honey – can use maple syrup or sugar
- Sesame Seeds – for topping
- Oil – I used olive oil. Also need a bit extra for greasing the bowl and tray.
- For Vegan version replace the honey with maple syrup or a sweetener that is suitable for vegans.
- Vegetarian friendly
SEMOLINA SESAME SEED BREAD
- 2 cups semolina
- 1 cup plain flour
- 2¼ tsp instant active dry yeast
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup warm water
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds
- extra flour for dusting
- extra olive oil for greasing
- Mix semolina, flour, salt and yeast in a big bowl.
- Rub the olive oil into the flour.
- Add the honey to the warm water and mix well.
- Add the honey water to the flour mixture. Bring everything together into a dough.
- Let the dough rest for 5 minutes.
- Dust the worktop with flour.
- Remove the dough from the bowl on the floured worktop.
- Knead the flour using the heel of your hand, push it down and out and fold. Repeat this action of kneading for 10 minutes till you have a smooth dough. The dough may stick a little to your hands which is fine as long as you're able to knead it. If its too sticky rub a bit of olive oil and knead.
- If you're using your dough kneading machine then knead the dough for 5-7 mins.
- Grease a bowl with olive oil.
- Shape the dough into a tight ball. Rub oil over it. Place it in the prepared bowl.
- Cover the bowl with a lid, plate or damp towel and place it in a warm place. Let the dough ferment for 1hr 30 minutes or till its double in size.
- Dust the worktop with flour. Remove the fermented dough from the bowl.
- Pat the dough into a rough rectangle about 12"X9".
- Fold the top ⅓ towards the middle. Fold the bottom half over it. Pinch the seams to seal.
- Give a tiny fold at both the sides and pinch the seams to seal.
- Grease a baking tray with olive oil. Place the shaped dough on the prepared tray.
- Brush the top with some water. Sprinkle the sesame seeds over the top.
- Using a sharp knife make about 4-5 diagonal slashes.
- Cover the bread with a damp tea towel and allow the dough to rise for 45 minutes or till its nearly double the size.
- Place a tray of water on the bottom part of the oven.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Place the fermented dough in the oven and bake for 30-45 minutes or till the top is golden brown.
- Remove the bread from the oven, tap the bottom of the bread. If it sounds hollow then the bread is done.
- Place the bread on a wire rack and allow it to cool completely before slicing.
- Use it to make sandwiches or serve toasted or untoasted with jam and butter.
- Shape the bread whichever way you prefer, round, like a baguette or place it in a loaf tin.
- When you add the water to the flour and mix it, it will be a shaggy dough. Allow the dough to rest as the semolina will soak in the water. Then it will be easier to knead it.
- For a softer crust, don't place the water tray at the bottom of the oven.
- Can add other seeds of your choice as topping.
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