The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Durum Semolina 36 Hour Sourdough Bread

isand66's picture

Durum Semolina 36 Hour Sourdough Bread

A few weeks ago I finally had some good results with TxFarmer's 36 Hour Baguette recipe and I have been wanting to try making some boules with this technique and see how they turned out.  I decided to make a Durum starter and I cut the hydration down slightly from the baguette recipe.  I followed the same basic method for mixing and retarding the dough with some slight modifications including using my mixer for the initial mix.  I doubled the recipe from the baguette recipe so I could make 2 large boules.

The end result was a nice open crumb with an excellent crunchy crust and a nice buttery flavor.  I do have to say while mixing this dough following this method it created one of the smoothest and most silky dough I have made to date.


Semolina Starter Build 1

30 grams Seed Starter (Mine is a 65% White AP starter)

60 grams Durum Flour (Do not use the Fancy Course Semolina)

60 grams Water at Room Temperature (80-90 degrees F.)

Mix ingredients in a bowl until thoroughly combined.  Cover the bowl and let it sit at room temperature for around 8 hours.  The starter should almost double when ready to proceed.    If your kitchen is warmer than mine which is usually about 70-72 degrees with my air-conditioning you can proceed sooner.

Semolina Starter Build 2

Add to Build 1 Starter:

100 grams Durum Flour

100 grams Water at Room Temperature (80-90 degrees F.)

Mix ingredients in a bowl until thoroughly combined.  Cover the bowl and let it sit at room temperature for around  4 - 6 hours.  The starter should almost double when ready to proceed.    If your kitchen is warmer than mine which is usually about 70-72 degrees with my air-conditioning you can proceed sooner.

Main Dough Ingredients

300 grams Durum Starter  from above (note: you should have a small amount left over)

400 grams Durum Style Flour (KAF)

150 grams Whole Spelt Flour

300 grams French Style Flour (KAF)

590 Ice Water

20 grams Sea or Table Salt


Mix the flour and the ice water together in your mixer or by hand until it just starts to come together, maybe about 1 minute.  Put the dough in a slightly covered oiled bowl and put in the refrigerator for 12 hours.

The next day add your starter and salt to the dough and mix by hand until it is thoroughly mixed and evenly distributed.  Due to the high water content in the 100% hydration starter this dough is very easy to mix by hand and is very silky and smooth.

Bulk rise at room temperature for 2-3 hours until it grows around 1/3 in volume doing stretch and folds every half hour until it has developed the correct amount of strength.

Put the dough back into the refrigerator for around 20-24 hours.  I took it out about 20 hours later.

When you take the dough out of the refrigerator you want it to have almost doubled in volume.  Mine only rose about 1/3 in volume.  Let it rise at room temperature for around 2 hours or until the dough has doubled from the night before.

Next, divide the dough and shape as desired.  I made 2 boules and placed them in their respective baskets.

Cover the dough with a moist towel and let sit at room temperature for 1.5 to 2 hours.

Score the loaves as desired and prepare your oven for baking with steam.

Set your oven for 500 degrees F. at least 45 minutes before ready to bake.  When ready to bake place the loaves into your on  your oven stone with steam and lower the temperature immediately to 450 degrees.    When both loaves are golden brown and reached an internal temperature of 205 degrees F. you can remove them from the oven.  .

Let the loaves cool down for at least an 3 hours or so before eating as desired.

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evonlim's picture

Beautiful .. Beautiful n beautiful ;)


isand66's picture

Thank you Evonlim.

Appreciate the compliment.


Justkneadit's picture

Excellent baking Ian! One of these days I will figure out how long to proof my sourdough boules so they are close to yours!

isand66's picture

Thank you very uch Justkneedit!

Keep baking and it will come to you.  In the mean time your current bakes look pretty good to me.


dabrownman's picture

color a little semolina gives to bread crumb and crust.    With spelt and French flour this sounds like a good combination.  The crust is very thick and crusty looking and the crumb is nicely open.  A fine bread for World Bread Day.  My apprentice didn't know it was a special bread day till  this morning and it doesn't look like we will get our tribute to the bread gods in the oven till tomorrow morning if we want to get the sprouts (that haven't sprouted) in it :-)

Nice baking Ian.

isand66's picture

Thanks DA.

I do have to say this bread came out excellent.  I brought one into work and everyone seemed to love it.

I wish I had remembered it was World Bread Day myself so I could have made something specific.

I love the way the dough feels when following this technique.  It is a little extra work but worth the effort.

Look forward to reading about your next bake.

Thanks again.

jarkkolaine's picture

For a long time, I have been thinking of going with a slow process such as this one but I have never been patient enough to give it a shot.  This post of yours reminded me once again that I really should... :) 

How did the bread taste? Did a lot of sourness build up in the 36 hours? 



isand66's picture

Thanks Jarkko.

I would highly recommend you give this a try.  I didn't find this bread to be overly sour at all.  It had just the right amount of tang with a nice buttery flavor from the durum and some nuttiness from the Spelt. 

I hope you give this a try or at least some variation and let us know how it comes out.

Appreciate the comments as always, good or bad :).


PiPs's picture

Great looking breads Ian,

I haven't experimented much with extended retardation ... interesting process. Do you find it difficult to read the cues in the dough?


isand66's picture

Thanks Phil..appreciate the compliment.

It can be a bit difficult to be sure when the final dough is ready, but usually my feel has been pretty acurate.  I think someone as accomplished as yourself will not have any trouble with this technique.

I will also say that while mixing this dough during the second stage it reminded me a lot of mixing your 100% Desem loaf as it is very silky and a pleasure to mix.  I really think you will enjoy trying this method and with your fresh milled wheat you will love it.



FlourChild's picture

Yum!  Durum is my favorite wheat, so golden and delicious.  Your breads are gorgeous :)

isand66's picture

Thank you so much FlourChild!

I do have to say this bread is one of my favorites.  The crumb is as close to perfect as I could hope for with a nice chewy crust, perfect for some grilled bread.

I'm going to grill some tonight with my balsamic chicken and roast potatoes.


breadsong's picture

Hi Ian,
Your bread looks beautiful and it must have had such a wonderful flavor from the long fermentation.
I am going to bookmark this as I am anxious to try it.
Thank you for sharing this lovely bake!
:^) breadsong

isand66's picture

Thank you  Breadsong.  I think you will fall in love with this one.  I was just saying to myself that I wish I hadn't brought in the second loaf so I could eat it all myself :)

Appreciate the kind words.