This Sourdough Semolina Bread Recipe produces an artisan loaf with a crisp crust and open, chewy crumb. It is best baked in a Dutch oven, but the recipe is very flexible and adaptable.
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. I used both with great success.
A timeline for making great Sourdough Semolina Bread:
- If your starter needs feeding, do that the night before or early in the morning of the day you want to make the dough.
- Mix the dough in the afternoon, allow it to ferment for 3-6 hours then refrigerate the dough before going to bed.
- Take the dough out of the refrigerator first thing in the morning, shape the loaf and set it into the proofing basket or onto a sheet of parchment paper to rise.
- Leave the loaf to rise for 1 1/2- 2 hours, or as long as is needed to almost double in size. Meanwhile, if using a Dutch oven or pizza stone for baking, place them in the oven to preheat.
- You should have fresh bread by lunch time.
- To make and bake the dough in the same day, feed your starter the evening before so it’s active by morning. Start the dough early in the morning and it should be ready to bake by late afternoon or early evening.
Scroll through the step by step photos to see how to make Crusty Sourdough Semolina Bread
Since you’ve got your starter fed, peruse the entire list of My Best Sourdough Recipes. Have fun!
I know you hate to throw away that sourdough discard. Check out these recipes that use sourdough discard.
If you love this recipe as much as I do, I’d really appreciate a 5-star review.
- 1 cup (8 oz, 224) active sourdough starter (100% hydration)
- 1 cup (8 oz, 240ml) warm water
- 1 3/4 cups (9oz, 252g) unbleached all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
- 1 cup (6.5 oz, 182g) semolina or durum wheat flour
- More semolina and all purpose flour for proofing basket
- Combine the starter, water and 1 1/2 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 30-60 minutes.
- If using a stand mixer, switch to the dough hook. Add the salt, the semolina flour and the remaining 1/4 cup all purpose flour. Mix until the dough begins to form a ball around the hook. If mixing by hand add the flour using a wooden spoon and/or a plastic bowl scraper. This dough will be fairly sticky at this point. Knead for 5 minutes.
- Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, turn once to coat the dough. Cover the bowl and set it aside at room temperature.
- After 30 minutes uncover the bowl, lift one side of the dough and fold it into the middle of the dough. Repeat with the other three sides of the dough then flip the dough over. You're basically turning the dough inside-out to redistribute the yeast. Cover the bowl and after 30 minutes repeat the procedure. Cover the bowl and after 60 minutes repeat the procedure again.
- Cover the bowl and after 60 minutes turn the dough one more time. By now the dough should be lively, elastic and airy. If the dough is still sluggish give it another hour or two at room temperature. Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator and dump it onto floured surface. Without kneading, use your cupped hands to form the dough into a smooth ball. Cover lightly with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let the dough rest for 20-30 minutes.
- Uncover the dough and reshape the dough into a smooth ball. Combine the 2 tablespoons of semolina and all purpose flour and use that to dust the proofing basket. Place the dough, smooth side down, into the proofing basket. If you don't have a proofing basket set the dough directly onto a sheet of parchment paper or onto a wooden peel sprinkled with the semolina/ap mix.
- 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 1/2-2 hours depending on the room temperature and dough temperature. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425°F. Place a Dutch oven with a lid (or a pizza stone) into the oven to preheat.
- 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 slide the loaf onto the baking stone.
- 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 pale in color.
- 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're baking the bread on a sheet pan or baking stone the total baking time may be shorter.
- Cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.
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