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Crusty Semolina Bread

This Semolina Bread Recipe produces an artisan loaf with a crisp crust and light, chewy crumb. It is best baked in a Dutch oven, but the recipe is very flexible and adaptable.

a loaf of crusty semolina bread on a cutting board

What is semolina flour and is it good for baking bread?

Semolina flour is made from a different strain of wheat than all purpose or bread flour. Semolina is made from Durum, a high protein wheat.

Semolina is the flour used to make pasta. It has a slightly yellow color thanks to the high concentration of carotenoids in the wheat. The carotenoids also add subtle nuttiness that makes for a great tasting loaf of bread.

What does all this mean? High protein plus lovely yellow color plus delicious taste equals a flour is that is perfect for bread baking!

In the market you may see coarsely ground semolina or more finely ground flour labeled “durum” flour. As long as you’re using a product made from durum wheat you’ll make a nice loaf of bread.

How to make great Crusty Semolina Bread:

  • You can use either durum semolina or more finely ground durum flour. I made the bread with both with very good results.
  • If you have one, use a proofing basket for pretty finish.
  • If you have one, use a Dutch oven or other heavy, lidded pot for an extra crisp crust.
  • If you don’t have a proofing basket you can proof the dough on a parchment lined sheet pan or on a wooden peel sprinkled with semolina or corn meal.
  • If you don’t have a Dutch oven, bake the bread on preheated pizza stone, or on sheet pan.

Scroll through the step by step photos to see how to make Crusty Semolina Bread

side by side photos showing semolina bread before and after rising.
Semolina Bread before and after rising. If you don’t have a basket, place the dough on parchment paper or a sheet pan for rising.
a loaf of semolina bread ready for the oven
Flip the loaf onto a sheet of parchment and use the parchment to transfer the loaf to the pre-heated Dutch oven.
a sliced loaf of semolina bread on a cutting board
a closeup shot of a slice of semolina bread

If you’ve got a Sourdough Starter, try my recipe for Sourdough Semolina Bread.

You might also like these other easy bread recipes: Whole Grain Low Knead Bread, Soft White Sandwich Bread, Overnight Rye Bread, Milk & Honey Whole Wheat Bread and Honey Oatmeal Bread.

If you love this recipe as much as I do, I’d really appreciate a 5-star review.

a cross section of a sliced loaf of semolina bread

Semolina Bread

Yield: 1 large loaf
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Rising Time: 3 hours
Bake Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours 5 minutes

This Semolina Bread Recipe produces an artisan loaf with a crisp crust and light, chewy crumb. It is best baked in a Dutch oven, but the recipe is very flexible and adaptable.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups (12 oz, 360 ml) warm water
  • 1 packet (2 ¼ teaspoons, 7g) dry yeast
  • 2 1/4 cups (11.25 oz, 315g) unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 cup (6.5 oz, 182g) semolina or durum flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
  • 2 tablespoons each semolina and all purpose flour, combined

Instructions

  1. In a large mixing bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the water, yeast and 2 cups of the all purpose flour. Mix with the paddle on low speed until it forms a thick batter. Cover the bowl and set aside for 30 minutes.
  2. If using a stand mixer, switch to the dough hook. Add the salt and the semolina flour and mix until the dough begins to form a ball around the hook. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of all purpose flour. If mixing by hand add the flour using a wooden spoon and/or a plastic bowl scraper. Knead the dough for 5 minutes until it is smooth and elastic.
  3. Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, turn once to coat the dough. Cover the bowl and set it aside at room temperature for 1 - 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in size. At this point you can cover the bowl tightly, refrigerate overnight and finish shaping and baking in the morning or continue to bake the same day.
  4. Use the semolina/all purpose mix to dust a proofing basket or wooden peel. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead 4-5 times, then use your cupped hands to form the dough into a smooth ball and place the dough, smooth side down, into the proofing basket. If you don't have a proofing basket place the dough directly onto a sheet of parchment paper or on the wooden peel.
  5. Cover the dough and leave in a warm place until it's almost doubled in size and it springs back slowly when poked, about 1 hour depending on the room temperature and dough temperature. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425°F. Place a Dutch oven with a lid into the oven to preheat.
  6. If the loaf is in a proofing basket, place a sheet of parchment over the dough and gently flip it over. Use a single edge razor or very sharp knife to cut a 1/4" deep X or square across the top of the loaf. Remove the preheated pan from the oven and remove the lid. Use the parchment to lift the loaf into the Dutch oven. If you don't have a Dutch oven, slide the parchment paper onto a baking sheet or onto a preheated pizza stone.
  7. Replace the lid on the pot and slide it into the oven. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the lid from the Dutch oven. The loaf should be well risen and just beginning to brown.
  8. Continue baking another 20 minutes until the loaf is nicely browned and beginning to crisp. Remove the pan from the oven. Use the parchment to lift the loaf out of the pan. Use the parchment to place the loaf directly onto the rack in the oven. Bake another 5-10 minutes until the loaf is deeply browned and very crisp. Total baking time is about 40-50 minutes. If you are baking directly on a pizza stone or sheet pan the baking time may be closer to 30 minutes.
  9. Cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

Linda

Sunday 8th of May 2022

Delicious. Recipe is pretty easy to follow. A couple of points need more clarity but since it turned out so well, I assume that kneading for five minutes after mixing with dough hook was correct. Still not sure if I needed to let the dough ferment overnight or not and why.

Eileen Gray

Monday 9th of May 2022

Yes, knead the dough 5 minutes either by hand or mixer. The recipe is adaptable to your needs and schedule. If you'd like to have fresh bread for lunch it makes sense to start the dough the day before so you can bake in the morning. If you prefer you can start the dough in the morning and bake later in the evening. The longer/cooler rise in the refrigerator overnight does improve the flavor of the bread, but either way the bread tastes great. But the main point is that the recipe is adaptable.

Bonnie Goodwin

Saturday 19th of March 2022

I’m a little confused as I am not a bread baker but my sister and I thought we would try this recipe. I’m confused about the yeast. It says instant yeast should be used, but I thought that instant yeast was used in recipes that you only had one rise. This recipe calls for two. Please could you explain this in laymen's terms that will clear this confusion up for the future of all my bread recipes? Thanks

Eileen Gray

Sunday 20th of March 2022

Hi Bonnie, I did change the recipe to specify "dry yeast" which is what I usually write. You can use any dry yeast you've got on hand. I always do 2 rises for my yeast breads, no matter which yeast I use. Your rising time will vary. There are a lot of different terms and types of yeast out there; instant, rapid, fast, etc. So I just use the generic "dry" yeast.

Marsha

Sunday 22nd of August 2021

I made your semolina bread today and it is definitely my new favorite bread! I followed your directions using a Kitchen Aid Mixer, a proofing basket and a Dutch oven. The crust browned beautifully, it is nice and crispy and most delicious!!! I will make this many more times, for sure!

One question: What is the best way to store this crusty bread so that it does not soften overnight?

Eileen Gray

Monday 23rd of August 2021

A paper bag is probably the best way to store the bread overnight.

Mary

Friday 18th of June 2021

One cup of flour is 120 grams. 2 1/4 cups of flour is 260 grams, not 315. Same on the semolina…makes a difference!

Eileen Gray

Friday 18th of June 2021

The weight of a cup of flour is not an absolute or a law of nature. It depends on how you fill the cup. I use the "dip and sweep" method for filling a measuring cup. That is, I dip the cup into the flour bin and overfill. Then I sweep away the excess. If you fluff up the flour and spoon it into the cup you could get as much as 1/2-1 ounce less flour. For all purpose and bread flour I get 5 oz (140g) every time. Semolina flour weighs heavier.

Joe C

Saturday 3rd of April 2021

I'm a first time bread baker and I want to try this in my 5-1/2 qt Dutch oven. Is that large enough? Also, can I sprinkle sesame seeds on top?

Eileen Gray

Sunday 4th of April 2021

I baked it in a 7.5 qt Dutch oven with room to spare. As long as the dough fills up less than half the pot it should have room to expand. Yes to sesame seeds!

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