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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) instant 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?

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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!

Steph Scarlino

Monday 22nd of February 2021

Can I use bread flour for this recipe?

Eileen Gray

Tuesday 23rd of February 2021

I assume you mean bread flour instead of ap flour? Yes, but bread flour will absorb more water than ap flour, so maybe hold back a 1/4 cup or a few tablespoons to check the texture of the dough. You can always sprinkle in the reserved flour if the dough seems too wet.

Linda Altieri

Wednesday 3rd of February 2021

Can this recipe be adapted for use in a bread machine? I would love to try this out in my new machine! Thank you

Eileen Gray

Wednesday 3rd of February 2021

I've never used a bread machine so I couldn't say for sure. Anyone else know??

Scott

Thursday 7th of January 2021

I'm new to bread baking and need to purchase a Dutch oven. I see that there are several sizes available. What is the ideal size for the Semolina Bread recipe? Can't wait to make my first one!

Eileen Gray

Friday 8th of January 2021

I have a 7 quart Dutch oven that fits a large loaf perfectly. It's also a great size for soups and stews.

Mary

Wednesday 5th of August 2020

Love this recipe! Silly question, from a novice....I have a tight fitting plastic lid for my KitchenAid mixing bowl. It starts to bow when I’m doing step one (air buildup). Is that ok? Or is the lid too tightly sealed? Just wondering if I should or should not seal so tightly. Thanks!

Eileen Gray

Wednesday 5th of August 2020

A lid with a tight seal is fine. That just means you've got plenty of good yeast activity in the sponge. The bowl is covered mostly to prevent the top of the sponge from drying out.