Ah Serendipity, don't you just love those little gifts of good fortune, realised after a mistake, that come every now and then? So today's report. Cooked semolina? Its a no go. Makes the dough too soft and the control of moisture content goes out the window. On top of this the subsequent dough when cooked? Nice as it is, is not the right texture, doughiness, yeah, the mouthfeel is all wrong.
I think the next option is to just soak the semolina in water and add it to the dough mixture and stiffen the dough with more flour. I am now, more than ever convinced that it is simply a pasta dough with semolina added and then deep fried.
Now, the serendipity bit. normally I fry these things at 180-190°C. Today I put the oil on, and then turned the heat down (lid on of course, by the time I got back to it, it was smoking hot, not livid, but smoking al the same. When I dropped the dough (wrapped around a beef sausage – the filling is not the issue here) very quickly it began to blister and texture in just the way I wanted.
The answer to that question then? The texture is an artefact of deep frying. I now believe that the rolls after assembly are flash fried for (edit: 20-30 sec.) pale biscuit, i.e. not browned; in very hot oil to set the texture (commercially) then flash frozen for finishing off and colouring, at normal oil temperatures, in the chippie, on demand.
I feel that the semolina is added to increase the surface area of the pastry dough and enhance the texture. Flash frying will texturise the surface along micro sites, but longer frying will cause significant blistering.
I got some videos to edit, but I DO feel this is a significant move forward… I might of actually cracked it: la la la la la... … Just kidding.
Technique-wise, the take home info from today's experiment is: a soft, pasta-like dough, wrapped around a filling, when deep-fried in very hot oil will blister and texturise on the surface.
When I get the videos done, I'll append a link. Cheers! Its been an interesting and otherwise fruitful day.