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50% Semolina Sourdough Bread


Semolina is my new obsession. I knew about semolina since I was a child and my mother was making milk porridge with it. It was one of my preferred breakfasts. Little did I know that it will later become one of my favourite ingredients for bread.


To make fantastic sourdough bread with any kind of flour you need to understand its characteristics.

Semolina (or semola rimacinata di grano duro) is made from hard wheat not from the common wheat usually used for bread flour. Semolina is very popular for making pasta, couscous, and porridge but it can be successfully used in bread as well.

Semolina has a coarser texture than classical flour but should not be confused with rice or corn semolina. Semolina comes from durum triticum wheat and when ground in a coarser texture is called semola rimacinata. If it is further ground to a very fine texture, it is called durum flour.

Besides its texture, semolina has a pale yellow colour, has a more earthy aroma and it is rich in proteins but forms a low-quality gluten. This makes the dough less extensible and affects its structure.

However, there are some tricks that you can apply to overcome this issue.

  • First, you can improve the structure by adding strong bread flour into its composition and this is exactly what we'll do today.
  • Then, you can make a longer autolyse of 2-3 hours to develop the gluten to its maximum potential.
  • or you can increase the mixing time too for the same goal.

I invite you to watch the video of this bread to learn more tricks about it.


Nettle Aloe Vera Shampoo bar (version 2)


This is the second version of the Nettle Aloe Vera Shampoo bar and the last one in the series of recent soaps/shampoos.

Compared to the first version, this one is made in 3 layers (for decoration purposes) with rosemary, cedar and lavender essential oil. Made only with fantastic oils and butter for your hair, enriched with vitamin E.

Autumn soap

 Sometimes, when verifying the pantry I find some stuff stored that I should better use before expiring. This is the case with some special oils and butter. This soap has some interesting oils inside (avocado, coconut, grapeseed) and is flavoured with cinnamon and cloves essential oils. Almost sounds like autumn right? In one month we will be there ...

Nettle Aloe Vera Shampoo bar

Maybe once or twice a year I make my own cosmetics. My affair with homemade soaps and shampoos started some years ago when my childhood friend taught me how to do them. Since then I only use homemade staff.

Solid shampoo bars are my favourite because I can customise them to what I want. They are all natural and made by my own hands.
Recently I have done 3 types and I will share them here with you.

Tart Tatin in the style of Wiliam Lamagnère

 

I am rarely highly impressed by recipes but this one was a love at first sight. The idea of rolling the apple sheets is brilliant not only from the practical point of view but also from the way it looks.
I'm sure that everybody made an apple tart at least once in life as it is such a common desert and I thought I cannot be any more impressed. But this one, first is a French-style apple pie, known as Tarte Tatin, usually made with caramel sauce and turned upside down after baking. Second, it has such a special design that you'll rarely see entering a classic pastry shop. Third, although seems fancy and complicated, it is super simple in terms of preparation and the number of ingredients used.
What was more complicated to figure out was how to cut the apples into such long sheets. Cutting them by knife is almost impossible. Using a potato peeler maybe can help a bit but it can be frustrating. You need a special cutter for them. The French chefs know this cutter well to create all sorts of fancy fruits and vegetable decorations but the price for one is way too high for a simple home baker like me. I found however a cheap plastic alternative (compared to full metallic French versions) with a good blade. How long this will be working well, we'll see, but for its first usage did its job perfectly and I am happy about it. However, I am not sure how often I will use it in the future.

I was mentioning earlier its simplicity. This tart is about a puff pastry sheet, apples and a caramel sauce made from sugar and butter. It takes longer to bake properly (about 2 hours) and it needs to rest for at least 4 hours (or better overnight in the fridge) to set properly. Yes, it takes a long duration but there is not much work time consuming for the baker (assuming you have the right tools to make the apple sheets).

Now that I tried it, I feel I want to do it again and my imagination has just opened to lots of new designs.

The tart itself is wow just the way it is. If you haven't tried it before, I highly recommend it. The taste is fantastic and deep. It is sweet but not extra sweet. I think that sugar can be even more reduced and still keep it delicious.