The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Semolina Bread

dmsnyder's picture

SusanFNP of fame posted a photo of her "Semolina bread with fennel, currants and pine nuts" on TFL in November, 2007. She provided a link to the recipe on her Wild Yeast blog. I immediately added this bread to my "to bake list." Well, my wife could tell you, I seldom throw out anything, and that includes my to do lists. Sometimes it takes me a little while to get around to a particular item, and today I got around to baking this bread.

Mine didn't turn out as pretty as Susan's, but this is a delicious bread. The combination of flavors and textures is wonderful - The contrasting sweet currents and savory fennel seeds and the soft crumb and chewy pine nuts and currents. Wonderful bread. 

This is snacking bread. I ate a couple slices while I was making dinner and could have finished the loaf right then and there. Yummy!

The recipe can be found at:


dmsnyder's picture

Tom Cat's Semolina Filone

Tom Cat's Semolina Filone

Tom Cat's Semolina Filone Crumb

Tom Cat's Semolina Filone Crumb

Tom Cat's Semolina Filone

Instant yeast     Disolve 1/4 tsp in 1 cup of 110F water. Use 1/4 cup of the resulting suspension.
Water               135 gms (in addition to the above 1/4 cup)
Flour                 150 gms of King Arthur AP (or 75 gms lower-gluten AP and 75 gms Bread Flour)

Durum Flour           250 gms
AP Flour                 50 gms
Water                    205 gms
Instant Yeast         1/4 tsp
Poolish                  All of the above
Salt                      9 gms
Sesame seeds       About 2 cups

The night before baking, mix the poolish and ferment 8 hours, covered tightly.

The day of baking, combine the flours and water, mix and autolyse, covered, for 15-60 minutes. Mix the yeast with the poolish and add to the autolysed dough for 5 minutes. The dough should clean the sides of a stand mixer, according to Glezer. (But it didn't, even with 3-4 T of added AP flour.) Sprinkle the salt on the dough and mix for another 2 minutes. The dough should be sticky but not "gloppy." (The dough was what I'd call "gloppy," even with mixing another 10 minutes at Speed 3 on my KitchenAid. I decided to proceed anyway.)

Scrape the dough into a bowl 3 times its volume, cover and ferment for 2-3 hours, folding every 20 minutes for the first hour. (The dough started coming together better after a short time and was still sticky but smooth and puffy after 2 hours in a 75F kitchen.) Preheat the oven to 400F and prepare your steaming apparatus of choice. Scrape the dough onto your bench and preform it into a boule. Let it rest for 20-30 minutes to relax the dough, then form it into a batard.

Roll the loaf in seseme seeds and place it, seam side up, in a linen or parchment couche. If using a parchment couch you will bake on, place the batard seam side down.) Cover it well and allow it to expand until quite puffy. (Glezer says this should take 30-60 minutes. My dough was very puffy, and I shaped it very gently to retain the bubbles. I let it proof for 20 minutes only before proceeding.)

Roll the batard onto parchment (If using a linen couche). Spray with water and score with one cut from end to end. (I cut holding the knife at and angle to get a nice "ear" and "grigne.")

Transfer the batard to the oven and bake with steam for 15 minutes, then continue to bake another 30 minutes or so until the bread is well-cooked. (Golden-brown color, hollow thump on the bottom and internal temperature of 205F.

Cool completely before slicing.

I have made 3 other semolina breads, but this was the first time I used fine-ground Durum Flour. The recipe is Tom Cat's Semolina Filone from Maggie Glezer's "Artisan Breads."

I used all King Arthur AP flour, as Glezer says this has the desired gluten level for this formula. I found the dough to be much wetter than I expected. I did add extra flour, as she says one might have to, but it remained a very wet dough. I was concerned it might be quite impossible to form a real batard, but, after the stretch and folds and 2 hours total fermentation, the dough behaved much better than I anticipated. It did have to be handled very gently, but I'm learning to do that.

I was also surprised how well this soft, puffy, wet dough took my cut,and the oven spring and bloom were phenomenal.

I think the result was a quite attractive loaf, and the crumb was even more open than I expected - a real "rustic"-type crumb. The texture and taste of this bread are both outstanding. The crust is crunchy with a prominant hit of toasted sesame seeds. The crumb is very soft and tender with a cool, creamy mouth feel. it has a definite semolina flavor that is most often described as "nutty." I don't know what kind of nut it's supposed to taste like, but it tastes really good.

I have been a little disappointed in the taste and texture of the other semolina breads I've made. I've not made any of them more than once. Maybe the durum flour makes the difference. Maybe it's Tom Cat's recipe. Maybe my skills in handling dough have advanced. Whatever. I'll be making this one again, for sure!


dmsnyder's picture

Le Pagnotte di Enna - Durum Floar

November 23, 2007 - 5:39pm -- dmsnyder

The Artisan web site ( has several recipes for semolina breads. Today, I made one of the ones that uses 100% durum flour. (The others are 1/2 durum and 1/2 AP flour.). This uses a biga made with 20% of the total flour in the formula. It has really short fermentation times - a 30 minute "rest" which serves as the bulk fermentation and a 75 minute proofing.

 I formed two small round loaves of about 400 gms each which baked in 25 minutes.

Jamila's picture

I am starting to like the flater bread more than the thicker one. Tastes change I suppose.


I still haven't gotten down this whole picture adding thing. It really isn't that user friendly, any pointers would be helpful!


Khobz Eddar

Jamila's picture

I have found that some like this bread less thick than I do. Some also just use Semolina where I use both Semonlina and Bread Flour then there are times when I just Semolina. Either way, the result is fabulous!

  • This particular night I used 4 cups of fine Semolina and 2 cups of KA Bread Flour
  • 2 teaspoons dry active yeast
  • 1/2 liter of warm water
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 1/3 cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup of Black Seeds, you can use any seed or none at all
  • 1 egg yolk and 2 teaspoons of water for the wash

Activate the yeast in the warm water and allow it to become a bit frothy.
Measure out all other ingredients and put on top of the yeast mixture and as always making sure that the salt is last so as to not touch the yeast and kill it.

Knead for 2-5 minutes to make a bit of a sticky but smooth dough. I have found that in Algeria the woman say to add much more water than what I said and to knead for a lot longer than I do. I find that the crumb is not so soft and really falls apart when you do that, (where it is not 100% semolina) so I don't.


Cover and allow to rise for about 1 hour or so. I let mine triple, but some days I only let it double. This day I was so busy with the kids I forgot I was cooking bread. :-)

Punch it down and transfer to your plate of preference. I used my Algerian Bread pan, since I was making Algerian Bread. This pan must be oiled, I used extra virgin olive oil.

Press the dough down into the plate. If you want to get a plate like this, either you have to go to Algeria or have a friend bring one with them when they go visit and come back to the states. I have looked everywhere and I have never seen anything like this in the USA.


Let it rise again until it is the height you like. I left mine too long, homeschooling and toddlers sometimes occupy my brain more than the bread! So anyway the bread rose up over the edges, so I just pushed it back down before I thought to take a picture of it.

Brush on your wash. I sometimes like it darker but this day I just used egg yolk and water.

Bake at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes or until tapped and sounds hollow.

I think the bottom is just so pretty, I had to show you a picture of it.

It has a nice soft crumb which is good for sandwiches or mopping up food which is what Algerians do.

Like I said, I like mine really thick soft. There are many Algerian homes that like it much thinner and not so soft. This is just our family preference.


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