Saturday, July 4, 2009

Semolina Panini Buns

I have got to get over my panini fixation; I just have to. It's gotten to the point where I take nearly every food ingredient and mentally position it between two slices of grilled bread. This is all fine and dandy when we're talking meats and cheeses, I suppose. But when it gets to the point of dreaming of a peanut butter, jelly and banana panini, or a s'mores panini, or even toying theoretically with a tofu panini, I know that I'm officially panini-deep in craziness. It must stop. But not before I share this recipe for pizzanini with you. (and the bread it rode in on)

Part of my panini obsession is in baking the perfect bread for the most ultimate panini experience. I'm no longer content with just any bread. I've been driven to find the quintessential recipe that yields a sandwich with a crispy grill-marked crust and the consummate chewy bite. You know what I'm talking about, don't you?

Today I inched one step closer to panini bread perfection. These semolina panini buns worked perfectly with the combination of traditional pizza ingredients. I'm simplistic with regard to pizza, so I went with sauce, mozzarella and provolone cheese, pepperoni, salami and banana peppers, but you could use any/all of your favorites.

Semolina Panini Buns (from

The night before ingredients:

1 1/4 cups bread flour
3/4 cup lukewarm water
1/4 tsp instant yeast

The day of ingredients:

2 1/4 cups lukewarm water
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cups semolina flour
3/4 tsp instant yeast
1 Tbsp salt
3-4 cups bread flour
extra semolina for dusting

Night before mix with wooden spoon 1 1/4 cups bread flour, 3/4 cup lukewarm water and 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast. Cover with plastic wrap and rest at room temp over night.
Using a large bowl add water, olive oil and semolina. Mix together till well blended, then add night before ingredients. Mix in instant yeast and salt till smooth. Add 1cup of flour and beat with a wooden spoon till smooth. Add in another 1 1/2 cups of flour and mix. Sprinkle about a 1/2 cup of flour onto a flat surface. Pour out the wet dough onto the flour. Add about another 1/2 a cup of flour on top. Begin to knead dough adding flour as needed. The dough should remain on the sticky side, so add flour slowly, you may not need it all. Knead dough for 10 minutes. It will become smooth and elastic but still a little sticky. Add a little olive oil in a large clean bowl add dough and turn over a few time to coat all sides. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 2 to 3 hours. Turn on oven to 450F, if you are planning on using a stone place that into the oven to heat. Pour out dough onto a flat surface and cut in half. Place other half back into bowl and cover. Cut dough into 6 equal pieces. Sprinkle semolina onto the counter. Shape each piece onto a ball and flatten with palm of hand. Brush a little olive oil on each piece. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 15 minutes. Remove plastic wrap and dimple tops of each piece. Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet or place onto your stone and bake for about 20 minutes. The dough will be slightly spotted with brown but still be on the pale side. Continue with the second piece of dough. Makes 12 buns.

OK.... now I'm going to fill you in on what really happened. When I mixed up the first batch of "night before" ingredients, I used too much water. (Don't ask... evidently I'm measuring cup impaired.) So I mixed up another batch, but in not wanting to waste, I decided to see if I could pull the original batch into something that resembled a couple of loaves of bread. The final dough was much too wet to form into buns, but I plopped it around in some flour and managed to come up with two edible loaves of semolina bread. And the reason that I'm even sharing this with you is because of this photo:
*disclaimer: I'm not a licensed rectal temperature taker. I engage in the activity strictly ass an amateur.*


susies1955 said...

So very awesome.
I have never ever had panini!
Panini is what happens when you fry in a certain pan right or something else?
Panini virgin,

Moogie said...

The pizza-panini looks fabulous. But I must say that you blew my socks off (yes, I have a sock fetish also) with the thermometer thrust deeply the two ... ah, loaves of bread.

Mags said...

Susie, say whuh?? You've never had panini?? That's crazy. You must try one... and very soon! It's just a pressed,grilled sandwich, really. And you don't even have to have a panini grill to make one.

Moogie: I'm just so not right... I know.

susies1955 said...

I have an Xpress 101 which is a pressed grilled sandwich but no marks left on it.
How do you get the grill marks if I don't have a panini grill?

Mags said...

Susie, the grill marks are just an added esthetic bonus... totally unnecessary as related to taste, in my opinion. Kind of how steak on the grill is much more visually appealing than one fried in a pan.

susies1955 said...

Thanks! I guess I already make pressed sandwiches then. :)

Jen @ said...

My hubby would love me lots if I made these for him. He is a panini fanatic. I am more partial to quesadillas myself. Last week I was dreaming of nutella quesadillas - they were much better in my head than when I tried to make them on my grill pan. BIG mess! I say there's nothing wrong with dreaming of food :)

Mags said...

jen: panini,quesadillas... same concept, different dough, yes? And you're right. Dog-gone-it, I can dream of panini if I want to!!