The Fresh Loaf

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Durum Semolina Bread with Black Sesame Seeds 

Danni3ll3's picture

Durum Semolina Bread with Black Sesame Seeds 

I loved the bread from last week so I decided to redo it taking out the olives, sun dried tomatoes and rosemary and do a simple loaf with black sesame seeds. This was also my opportunity to try to improve the oven spring. To do this, I halved the prefermented flour in the levain and also shortened the bulk and retardation times. 




Makes 3 loaves


632 g of unbleached flour

194 g of durum semolina 

60 g of soft wheat berries

30 g each of barley flakes, spelt berries, einkorn berries, kamut berries, rye berries, hulless oat groats, red fife berries and farro berries.

715 g of water

22 g pink Himalayan salt

195 g of mixed levain (sourdough and peach/apple yeast water - Procedure in recipe)

30 g black sesame seeds 



  1. Sourdough starter: A few days before you plan to make your dough, revive your sourdough starter if it is in the fridge by feeding it 1:1:1 water and flour/bran. I used bran left over from prior bakes and fed it twice a day. You will need 13 g of this for the seed amount.
  2. Yeast Water starter: At the same time, refresh your yeast water by removing the old fruit and feeding it some fresh fruit and leaving it room temperature until it has bubbles at the top. Once it fizzed, I put a few tablespoons of the YW into a container and added unbleached flour to make like a thick pancake batter. I left this overnight. In the morning, it was nice and bubbly so I fed it again some YW and more flour. You will need 13 g of this for the second seed amount.

The day before:

  1. Run the durum semolina through a grain mill to turn it into flour. Reserve in a tub.
  2. Run all of the grains separately through the mills and sift out the bran. Save the bran for feeding the seed starters or for another use. 
  3. Measure out 34 g of the sifted flour from the soft wheat berries and add to the tub
  4. Measure out 17 g of the sifted flour from each of the remaining grains and add to the tub.
  5. Mix the remaining sifted flours together and save in a separate container to do the builds of the levain.
  6. Add the unbleached flour to the tub and mix. Cover and reserve.
  7. Lightly toast the sesame seeds and pour water over to soak overnight. 


  1. About 16 hours or so before mixing your dough, do the levain builds.
  • First build: Take 13 g of sourdough starter and 13 g of YW starter. Add 25 g of filtered water and 25 g of high extraction flour. Let rise for 8 hours at room temp (73-74F). 
  • Second build: Add another 63 g each of filtered water and high extraction flour to the levain and let rise 6 hours. It should double. Mine was just past peak when I used it. 

Dough Making Day

  1. Mix the water with the flours in the tub and autolyse for a couple of hours. 
  2. Drain the sesame seeds and set aside. 
  3. Add the salt and the levain and mix well. Let sit 30 minutes and then do 3 sets each of 30 slaps and folds and 2 stretch and folds at 30 minute intervals, all at room temperature. Put the sesame seeds in during the second set of slaps. Let rest one hour or so til bulk is done. This dough took 90 minutes until I deemed it done. Normally I would have let this dough go a lot longer since it looked like it barely rose (maybe 20% if that) but I am thinking that the lack of oven spring I have been getting lately might be from over fermenting the dough. It felt airy but not loose and it came out of the tubs nicely. The top had a few large bubbles and you could see lots of small bubbles through the sides. 
  4. Divide the dough into 3 equal portions of about 675 g and do a loose pre-shape by rounding the dough with a bench scraper. Let rest 30 minutes and then do a final shape, and place seam side down in rice floured baskets. 
  5. Cover and place into the fridge to proof overnight. This ended up being 9 and a half hours. Last week, I let the dough stay in the fridge for twice that amount and it overproofed. I wasn’t taking any chances this time. 

Baking Day

  1. The next morning, heat the oven to 475F with the dutch ovens inside for at least 45 minutes. Place rounds of parchment paper in the bottom of the pots, and gently place the dough seam side up inside. 
  2. Cover the pots and bake the loaves at 475 F for 25 minutes, remove the lids, drop the temperature to 425F, and bake for another 22 minutes.


I finally got the oven spring I was hoping for! Getting up at 3 am to bake the silly things was totally worth it! ?


not.a.crumb.left's picture

Yippee....fab looking...all six of them!!! I have now two bags of Durum Semolina and need to plan a bake with them..... Kat

dabrownman's picture

while you are sleeping is the way to go when it comes to these long retards.  The crumb should be fantstic too!  Will wait for that.

Ru007's picture

Great oven spring! Yeah, sometimes we've just got do whatever needs to be done to get the result, including 3am baking!! LOL!! I've done midnight levain builds to make sure my baking would fit in to my schedule so I totally get it! 

Your loaves look amazing, must have been tasty too! 

Happy baking 


WatertownNewbie's picture

Getting up at 3:00 a.m.?  Adds a whole new meaning to "watch the dough, not the clock"!

Those look very good, and I chuckled when reading your comment about the result making the early rise from sleep worth it.  Another batch of bread for your local food kitchen?  Those are some happy folks at meal time.

Danni3ll3's picture

gets 3 loaves every week! I am known there as “The Bread Lady”!  ?

Floydm's picture

Getting up at 3am to start baking is seriously a professional baker kind of move. ;^)

These look fantastic. Would you mind if I featured this on the homepage for a bit?

Danni3ll3's picture

I am really pleased with these loaves! I haven’t cut into one yet but will soon and I will post the crumb then. 

trailrunner's picture

Really nice oven spring and looks to be a perfect loaf. I am glad you solved the oven spring...sorry that it means less sleep :)   c

Elsie_iu's picture

Getting up at 3 am was a small price to pay in exchange for those amazing loaves :) Well, maybe not for just one loaf but definitely was for 6!

The bread must taste great with so much durum. Can't wait to see the crumb!

Danni3ll3's picture

Need to work a bit on final shaping but not bad at all! 

Isand66's picture

Love that crumb and the crust too!  You deserve the cover on this one for sure!

Bet these must have tasted as good as they look.


Edo Bread's picture
Edo Bread

Very nice!

alfanso's picture

You're hitting home runs like Willie Mays.  This week after week after week thing has to have an end date, no?  The closer in you get on these pics, the better the bread looks.  And you do know that I love durum flour.


Danni3ll3's picture

You got me all ☺️!