50% Semolina Sourdough Bread

Semolina is my new obsession. I knew about semolina since I was a child and my mother was making milk porridge with it. It was one of my preferred breakfasts. Little did I know that it will later become one of my favourite ingredients for bread.

To make fantastic sourdough bread with any kind of flour you need to understand its characteristics.

Semolina (or semola rimacinata di grano duro) is made from hard wheat not from the common wheat usually used for bread flour. Semolina is very popular for making pasta, couscous, and porridge but it can be successfully used in bread as well.

Semolina has a coarser texture than classical flour but should not be confused with rice or corn semolina. Semolina comes from durum triticum wheat and when ground in a coarser texture is called semola rimacinata. If it is further ground to a very fine texture, it is called durum flour.

Besides its texture, semolina has a pale yellow colour, has a more earthy aroma and it is rich in proteins but forms a low-quality gluten. This makes the dough less extensible and affects its structure.

However, there are some tricks that you can apply to overcome this issue.

  • First, you can improve the structure by adding strong bread flour into its composition and this is exactly what we'll do today.
  • Then, you can make a longer autolyse of 2-3 hours to develop the gluten to its maximum potential.
  • or you can increase the mixing time too for the same goal.

I invite you to watch the video of this bread to learn more tricks about it.

Ingredients: (1798g, 80% hydration)

  • 450g semolina flour
  • 450g strong bread flour (14% proteins)
  • 700ml water
  • 180g sourdough starter (50% semolina; 100% hydration)
  • 18g salt

  1. [Day 1, Saturday, 8:00] Scaling. Start by scaling your ingredients using a balance and put them on the table to ensure that nothing is forgotten.
  2. [Day 1 Saturday, 8:00] Mix water + bread flour. Mix only the bread flour with water (slightly warmed up for 1 minute in the microwave) until well combined. Do not knead at this stage, just ensure there is no unincorporated dry flour resting in the bowl and that's it. I put this dough in the bread proofer set at 28ºC. I then let it sit for 2 hours.
  3. [Day 1 Saturday, 10:00] Sourdough starter. Add the preferment over the dough and mix by hand or with a standing mixer for 10 minutes. After mixing, let the dough relax for 1 hour.
  4. [Day 1 Saturday, 11:00] Salt. Add the salt and mix again for 5 minutes. Then, let the dough relax again for 1 hour.
  5. [Day 1, Saturday, 12:00] Divide and Stretch and Fold. Take the dough out of the bowl put it on the slightly wet table board and divide it into 2. Stretch and fold each piece on the board and place them in squared glass bowls. Let them sit covered for 1 hour. 
  6. [Day 1, Saturday, 13:00] Lamination. Take each piece out of the bowl and do the lamination. Let the dough rests for 1 hour and a half. 
  7. [Day 1, Saturday, 14:30] Coil fold 1. Start now a set of 3 coil folds performed straight in the bowls. Do the first coil fold set in each glass bowl and let them sit for 45 minutes.
  8. [Day 1, Saturday, 15:15] Coil fold 2.  Do a second set of coil folds in the glass bowls and let them sit for 45 minutes.
  9. [Day 1, Saturday, 16:00] Coil fold 3. Do a third set of coil folds for each dough and let them sit for 1 hour.
  10. [Day 1, Saturday, 17:00] Shape the loaves on the lightly floured board. Place the dough face down into well-floured bannetons. Repeat the process for the second piece of dough.  [PH 4.2]. Place the bannetons in the fridge overnight.
  11. [Day 2, Sunday, 17:00] Score. Before scoring, you need to preheat the oven. I bake the loaves in a wood-fired oven, so I ensure that I reach 270ºC inside before taking the loaves out of the fridge.
    Reverse the banneton on a pizza peel sprinkled with semolina. Score and decorate the bread as you like.  Immediately after, slide the loaves into the oven. Add some hot water to a tray inside to create steam. 
  12. Bake at 200ºC-250ºC for 45 minutes. The temperature in my oven is slowly getting down from 250ºC to 200ºC during the baking. 
  13. [Day 2, Sunday, 17:40] Cool. The bread needs to cool for at least 2 hours until it reaches room temperature. The cooking process continues slowly even after taking the bread out of the oven, so this is why it is important to not skip this step and to resist cutting it too early. If you can, of course...
  14. [Day 2, Sunday, 19:40] Cut. Now is the big moment to enjoy a slice of bread... 


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