I Need Some Bread, Man…

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I’m about to go through a real, life-changing experience.

Of course, I’m talking about my surgery and everything that’s going to happen after that. I’m going to be limited to what I can do for a few weeks. I’ll have to do physical therapy exercises three times a day and visit a speech therapist once a week and I’ll probably give our cat Frogger a real run for his money in the napping department.

The other thing I won’t be able to do is eat what I like. I’ll spare you the details, but since I have head and neck cancer, you can probably figure out what areas will be affected by the surgery.

So, I’m eating all the things I won’t be able to after next Monday. Cheez-Its by the boxful. Cold cereal with milk. Potato chips. Pizza. Shrimp. Salad. Spring rolls. Anything crunchy, chewy and the more of it, the better.

My good friend Adrian reminded me, “You will eat again, you know.”. Yeah, but I also have to be mindful of what I will be able to nosh on and as much as I love them, I can’t eat mashed potatoes every night.

Soup, especially the clear brothy types as well as the creamy ones will definitely be on the post-surgery menu. Eggs are perfect, especially since I figured out how to make scrambled eggs in the microwave. Whole grain hot cereals with real maple syrup. Baked winter squash…you get the idea.

One thing that’s missing from that preliminary list? Bread. Artisanal whole grain breads with those great, chewy crusts are out, but cornbread is cool.

I love the Southern combination of buttermilk and cornbread in a bowl, eaten with a spoon. It’s comforting, delicious and very nutritious. My friend Nathan will be thrilled to hear that, I’m sure.

And then there’s this recipe for semolina bread that I found on the Intertubes years ago. I won’t be making this on my first day home from the hospital, but it’s easy to put together since there’s very little kneading involved.

Don't...don't you want me...

Don’t…don’t you want me…

This a soft-crusted, fine-grained loaf, slightly sweet from the white flour and semolina and it’s definitely rich from the butter in the dough and the olive oil brushed on after it comes out of the oven. You can make rolls, 2 small loaves or 1 large loaf out of the dough and it freezes well. It’s really, really delicious.

Still with me here? Good. Here’s the thing…

It’s a recipe from an Italian baker and all of the ingredients are weighed in metric dry amounts. And, since I have a scale I never bothered converted the recipe to conventional American measurements.

Here’s the recipe. And if one of you has a scale and would like to rewrite the recipe into traditional American baking measurements, go for it!


Dee’s Semolina Loaf

  • 250 gr fine semolina
  • 250 gr white flour
  • 10 gr salt
  • 50 gr butter, cut into small pieces
  • 25 gr yeast
  • 300 ml luke warm water
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl and whisk in the yeast.
  3. Add the warm water and mix with a spatula until a smooth soft elastic dough become together.
  4. Cover the bowl and place the dough somewhere warm to proof for 45 minutes.
  5. When the dough has doubled in bulk, turn it out on a well-floured surface and knead it for about 5 minutes. It’s a very soft dough, and you may need to add just a bit of extra flour.
  6. Shape it into a large loaf (or whichever shape you choose) and place the dough on a non-stick baking sheet. Cover the bread and let it rise until it’s almost doubled.
  7. Put the bread in the oven and bake it until it’s golden. Rolls will take about 10 to 15 minutes and a big loaf will take about 35 minutes, but that’s going to depend on your oven. Check it frequently!
  8. When it’s done, let it cool on a wire rack. Brush some olive oil on the top and try not to eat all of it while it cools.
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