The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

First bake of the year: Semolina bread and Sesame tartine bread

Andra Magda's picture
Andra Magda

First bake of the year: Semolina bread and Sesame tartine bread

 Hello everybody:),

It was a cold weekend here in Timisoara, Romania, just good for baking:). In this case, the oven is a good friend who offers both baking and warming. I’ve decided to take my chance with two breads: a semolina bread, that I’ve tried two times before and I failed every one of them and a sesame tartine bread, that I’ve never made.

First about the semolina bread. I’ve read about it on Codruta’s blog ( , I’ve liked the looks of it and what she said about the taste. Unfortunatelly we don’t have durum flour in Timisoara and that kind of specific flour Codruta used is made and can be found in Italy. I've tried some other type of semolina flour but it was not good. It was a little adventure to get a batch of semolina rimacinata De Cecco, but finally I’ve got one. The result was as you can see below:



I retarded the dough in the fridge overnight for 11 hours, I baked it directly from the fridge but it seems to me like the dough was a bit under proofed. I would appreciate a piece of advice :). The taste is good, but I have a hunch that it could be better if the baker has all the knowledge and abilities to do it right :).

Secondly, about the sesame tartine bread: I’ve seen this bread also on Codruta’s blog that has been my first source of inspiration for almost one year. I don’t have Chad Robertson’s book  (, but it’s on my shopping list for the next months.  I’ve tried the recipe in September  from Codruta’s blog and the results were great:



 But this week I found Pip’s Tartine sesame bread ( ) and I started to think more about it.

Note: In the last two  months I must admit that I’ve had two little “obsessions”, borrowed from txfarmer blog: 1. croissants, where I think I’m heading in the right direction and 2. baguettes, where I am a total disaster, despite the fact that I’ve had at least a dozen tries (seems to me like I am not able to master the final fermentation  yet:( )...As a result, my bread baking had been limited to some Vermont breads and their variations , as there were easier to make and the results were great.  Considering all mentioned above, tartine bread seemed to me like a good way of reentering the universal bread world :).    

Finally, I’ve decided to make Tartine bread with black sesame and raisins inside and white sesame seeds on the crust. The result can be seen below:


Not so good looking, from my point of view, but extremely good taste:). My husband loves its taste also.  But I feel the need to make a few notes:

-          In addition to the basic recipe of tartine bread, I used oatmeal (10% of the overall flour), black sesame (6% of the overall flour) and raisin (5% of the overall flour). The addition of seeds and raisin made me belief that I should use more water. After the autolyse of sourdough, flour, water and oatmeal,  I put the salt, more water and mixed the dough until medium gluten development . Then I put the sesame seeds and raisin. As a result the hydration of the dough was ~81%, some of the highest I’ve ever worked with.  Frankly, I though the seeds would call for more water than they actually did.  The dough was a bit difficult to handle.

-          Codruta’s recipe was for two breads of ~ 750 gr each. I’ve made one bread of ~ 1.000 gr. It was too much dough for me to handle correctly in shaping as I have small hands. Moreover, it was my first time to put sesame seeds in the crust. I’ve done it using the method Hamelman suggests in his book, with a wet towel, but I think I handled the dough too much.  For a beginner in putting seeds on the crust, I would recommend to work with a smaller amount of dough and a smaller degree of the dough hydration than I did.

This is my first bake of this year :). Hope the next one would be more successful. I would very much appreciate any piece of advice you could offer.

Happy baking everyone! See you soon!

Happy baker Andra:).

Ps: Please excuse my English. It’s my first time writing in “bread English language”.  Some of the word associations may sound odd for you, as I might translate them from Romanian :|.


Bunjie's picture

Hi Andra

Just to say my wife bought me "Tartine Bread" by Chad Robertson for my birthday a few weeks ago.  It is a terrific book and I have learned so much from it.  Hope you get it soon.



Andra Magda's picture
Andra Magda

Thanks for your feedback on the book, Bunjie! Best wishes!

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Very nice breads Andra!  I especially like the sesame seed loaf.  It's so stunning with the black seeds inside and white outside.

Tartine Country loaf is one of my all time faves.  I am still learning how to bake this bread and will take your bakes as inspiration to try harder :)


Andra Magda's picture
Andra Magda

Thank you John:)!  Glad to be inspiring! I only bake for one year and still have a lot to learn...  I would like to see some pictures of your tartine bread, if and when you have a little time for photos. Best regards, Andra:).

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Andra.  Here is the link to my 2nd attempt at Tartine.

Nowhere close to as good as yours.  It tasted great but I am working on the looks/shaping.


Andra Magda's picture
Andra Magda

I like your bread:)! The crumb looks great with all the wholes in it:)!And I'm sure the taste was also very good, as you described it! Regarding the "looks" of it, we all need improvement.

What I think was different in my bread is the use of  a basic white flour starter, 100% hydration. From my basic starter, I've made a preferment/levain for the bread, as follows: 100% starter - 13.5%; whole wheat flour -50%; white flour - 50%; water- 100%. You can find the recipe here:, on Codruta's Romanian blog. The google  translation would not be so accurate, but you can see the quantities and the proportions.

I must admit that I am a fan of 100% white flour starter, that I use in most of my breads. I also have a rye starter but use it only in rye breads. And rye breads are not my strongest point:|.  Maybe using a white starter could help. I also retard the dough in the fridge and bake it directly from it.  Regarding scoring, when I make a batard I score it from one base to another (starting from one lower part of the bread till the other lower part..I don't know how to explain) and I cut in more depth, with the blade in a 30 degrees angle.  Scoring the dough cold from the fridge makes the cutting part easier.

This is my way of making breads, based on many tries and on Codruta's help. I don't have special training, so my advice is not "certified". Hope it might help. Best wishes and looking forward to seing more of your breads! Andra:).




golgi70's picture

All the loaves look wonderful.  As for the semolina it doesn't look underproofed in the picture.  Got nice bloom and grigne, a good variation of holes in the crumb.  All I'd do is bake it darker myelf.  Wbat temp did you preheat your oven to?  If your temp is a bit low maybe a hotter oven will give you a touch more spring opening the crumb further.  Nice bakes



Andra Magda's picture
Andra Magda

Thank you for your kind words Josh!:) I use a gass oven and a digital cooking thermometer to measure the temperature. When I placed the bread in the oven the temperature was around 473 F but after removing the steam I reduced the temperature to  ~ 400 F. I sould pay more attention to temperature next time. Thanks for the tip! :) 

dabrownman's picture

All the loaves look good other than the semolina one should a bit darker - it doesn't look  under proofed though.  Really like the black and white sesame seeded loaf with raisins - it is beautiful and has to taste great.

Happy baking in 2013!

Andra Magda's picture
Andra Magda

Thank you:)! Best wishes, Andra:).

Postal Grunt's picture
Postal Grunt

You're doing fine in both the baking and in the use of English for baking terminology. You'd be surprised how many people mangle their "native tongue" here in the US.

The "Tartine" book is interesting but I wouldn't suggest that you buy it unless you have excess funds lying around the house for the purchase. There are quite a few pages that I'd describe as "atmospheric clutter" rather than educational or recipe oriented. If you have access to a fast  internet connection, try doing searches on Youtube and other video sites for information about Mr Robertson's techniques and production methods. Do that before you make the decision to buy the book.

It's a pretty book but not all bread baking, all the time.


Andra Magda's picture
Andra Magda

Thank you Jim for your kind words and your feedback on the book! Frankly, right now I only have Hamelman- Bread, first edition. Any day now I should get M. Suas' "Advanced Bread and Pastry", which is a late Christmas present for my husband:).I will look for Mr. Robertson techniques on youtube, as you suggested:). Best regards, Andra:).

Janetcook's picture


These are great!  I love your little pigs too :-)

Thanks for sharing what you are doing here with us.  Your seed loaf makes me want to bake one now too :-)

Take Care,


Andra Magda's picture
Andra Magda

Thank you Janet! You're so nice and encouraging!

Little pigs are my trademark:). I've got them from a very close friend of mine, soon after I began to bake and I've used them in my photos ever since:). Kind regards, Andra:).  

ananda's picture

Gorgeous breads, Andra...all of them.

On books, I seem to remember Codruta being very taken with the Bread Builders book which I recommended...that might be of more interest to you?

Best wishes


Andra Magda's picture
Andra Magda

Thank you Andy:)! For both the kind words and the book recommendation. Bread builders is definitely on my shopping list, as it seems they have a kindle edition;). Best wishes, Andra:).

PiPs's picture

Great baking Andra,

The Tartine sesame loaf is very tasty ... and the black seeds contrast so well in the crumb.



Andra Magda's picture
Andra Magda

Phil, it's so nice meeting you:)! I am a big fan of your work:). Thank you for your kind words! Greetings from Romania, Andra:).  

carblicious's picture

Great looking loaves of bread to me!  To get batards with pronounces ears in a home oven is quite impressive.  And the crumb looks good too.

Andra Magda's picture
Andra Magda

Thank you:)! Best regards, Andra:).