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Monday, November 29, 2010

Semolina Multigrain Sourdough - time to start using some of 2 kg semolina flour in the pantry

I was running out the bread flour and didn’t want to buy a new 5-kg bag as I’m going away in a week. Looking through my pantry, it occurred to me that I have 4 bags of fine semolina in there. Perfect, semolina bread is on the menu this week.

Slightly off-track: I was in the quest to find the elusive durum flour and convinced myself that fine semolina was durum flour and ended up buying fine semolina every time I see  them without realising that I already had them in my pantry. That’s why I ended up with 4 bags! However, I made many loaves of semolina bread, where the recipe called for durum flour, using the fine semolina and they worked fine.

I came across semolina multigrain bread in Jeffrey Hamelman’s Bread: A Baker's book of techniques and recipes. The recipe calls for commercial yeast. I usually prefer to bake with wild yeast (sourdough starter) whenever I can so I converted it to sourdough bread using the stiff sourdough starter.

The recipe has 50% durum flour (which I substitute with fine semolina flour and it worked fine) and 50% bread flour. It has 20% grains consisting of polenta (coarse corn meal), millets and sesame seeds. I used mixed white and black sesame in the recipe.  Black sesame is very aromatic, more so than its white counterpart. Its aroma really comes through when you bite into the bread and it is even more so when the bread is toasted.

I found that semolina flour did not absorb the water as well as wheat flour. This could be because it is not flour, but more of fine coarse grain.  As of the result, the dough was quite wet to work with.

The crumb is soft, chewy and well opened. It is a very tasty loaf with an aroma of black sesame seeds, sweetness of polenta and slight crunchiness of millets.

Now I only have three more bags of semolina to go and will start a fresh new bag of flour after my holiday. Good solution that ended up with such a tasty loaf.  

Perfect for scramble eggs with chive, using recipe from Michel Roux's Eggs cookbook

Recipe note: 1. I left the dough to autolyze for 30 minutes.
2. The shaped loaves was retarded in the fridge overnight
3. Two folds, during 2 hours and a half fermentation

Semolina Multigrain Sourdough recipe
adapted from semolina multigrain bread from Jeffrey Hamelman's Bread: A Baker's book of techniques and recipes

Make 2 large loaves

Overall formula
Durum flour 454 g 
Bread flour 454 g
Coarse cornmeal (polenta) 74 g
Millet 54 g
Sesame seeds 54 g
Water 718 g 
Salt 20 g
Total 1.83 kg

Baker’s percentage
Durum flour 50%
Bread flour 50%
Coarse cornmeal (polenta) 8%
Millet 6%
Sesame seeds 6%
Water 79%
Salt 2%
Total 201%

Stiff-levain build
Bread flour 136 g
Water 95 g
Culture 29 g

Coarse cornmeal 74 g
Millet 54 g
Sesame seeds 54 g
Water, boiling  227 g

Final dough
Durum flour 454 g 
Bread flour 318 g
Water 396 g
Salt 20g
Soaker all of the above
Stiff-levain all of the above (less 29 g)

1. Stiff-levain build: Make the levain build approximately 12 hours before the final mix.

2. Soaker: Mix all soaker ingredients at the same time when making levain build. Mix well and keep it covered at room temperature until required.

3. Mixing: Add all the ingredients and soakers to the mixing bowl except the salt and levain. Mix or stir the ingredients together until it becomes a shaggy mass. Correct the hydration as necessary. Cover the bowl with plastic and let it stand for an autolyse phase of 20 -60 minutes. At the end of the autolyse, sprinkle the salt over the surface of the dough and cut the levain into fist-sized chunks and place on top of the dough, and continue kneading until the medium gluten development is formed.

3. Bulk fermentation: 2 ½ hours

4. Folding: Fold the dough twice, at 50-minute intervals

5. Dividing and shaping: Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces, make a pre-shape dough balls and let it rest on the bench for 10-20 minutes. Shape the doughs into round (boule) or oblong (batard).

6. Final fermentation; Approximately 2 -2 ½  hours (alternatively, retard for up to 8 hours in the fridge)

7. Baking: with normal steam, 225C (440F) for 40 45 mins, turn the loaves half way through the bake.

Submitting this post to YeastSpotting


  1. The bread looks great. Love the shape of the bread. I use semolina quite often since it works very well in wholewheat bread, it help increase the gluten content.

  2. Thank you. I actually had some trouble shaping this loaf as it was really wet. So, the complement is really comfortng:)