Semolina is a beautiful, pale yellow flour made from durum wheat. It’s coarser than regular flour, which you’ll notice right away when you rub it between your fingers. It feels like fine sand. The flavor of semolina is not very pronounced, but its versatility extends into cakes, crackers, rolls, and even pizza. You’ll love the velvety, soft texture it adds to this sourdough, as well as its gorgeous golden color.
About the Dough: When combined with water, semolina flour will make the dough feel very gritty at first. Intuitively, you’ll want to add more bread flour to even out the texture, but resist the urge, or it will become too dry. After resting, the dough will become much softer and pleasing to work with.
- Yield: 1 Loaf
- 50 g (¼ cup) bubbly, active starter
- 350 g (1⅓ cups plus 2 tbsp) warm water
- 250 g (1½ cups) semolina flour
- 275 g (about 2¼ cups) bread flour
- 9 g (1½ tsp) fine sea salt
- 120 g (¾ cup) sesame seeds, for coating
- A few days before baking, feed your starter until bubbly and active. Store at room temperature until ready to use. Make the Dough
- In a large bowl, whisk the starter and water together with a fork. Add the flours and salt. Mix to combine, then finish by hand until the flour is fully absorbed. Cover with a damp towel and let rest for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Replenish your starter with fresh flour and water, and store according to preference.
- After the dough has rested, work the mass into a fairly smooth ball, about 15 to 20 seconds. The dough will feel much softer at this stage. Bulk Rise
- Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let rise at room temperature, 70°F (21°C), until double in size, about 6 to 8 hours. Optional Step: About 30 minutes into the bulk rise, stretch and fold the dough for added structure and height. Repeat this technique, about 2 to 3 sets, spaced 45 minutes apart. Shape the Dough and Coat with Seeds
- Remove the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Shape it into a round and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, line an 8-inch (20-cm) bowl or proofing basket with a towel. Spread the sesame seeds on a damp kitchen towel.
- With floured hands, gently cup the dough and pull it toward you in a circular motion to tighten its shape. Then lightly brush the surface and sides of the dough with water. Using a bench scraper, place the dough onto the seeds, wet side down. Lift both sides of the towel and rock it back and forth to coat the dough. Place the dough into your bowl, seam side up. Second Rise
- Cover the dough and let rest until puffy but not fully risen, about 30 minutes to 1 hour.
- Preheat your oven to 450°F (230°C). Cut a sheet of parchment paper to fit the size of your baking pot. Score
- Place the parchment over the dough and invert the bowl to release. Make three 4-inch (10-cm) long cuts in the shape of a triangle with a small serrated knife or a razor blade. Use the parchment to transfer the dough into the baking pot. Bake
- Bake the dough on the center rack for 20 minutes, covered. Remove the lid, and continue to bake for 40 minutes. Transfer the loaf to a wire rack and cool for 1 hour before slicing.
- To maximize freshness, store at room temperature in a plastic bag, up to 1 day.