Semolina sourdough…

This recipe is inspired by a lovely lady and amazing sourdough baker called Anita (sourdough_mania) that I follow on Instagram; the dough is lovely, beautifully smooth and wonderfully springy, and the baked outcome is really tasty. If semolina is just something you remember being offered with school lunches in the UK, this will totally blow those memories away!

So I’m sharing my experience and recipe; I added some oil to the original recipe to tighten up the crumb for my purposes, but you don’t need to include it…

EDIT: a note about the semolina…

I use coarse ground semolina. This can be found in most supermarkets and any Asian food shop. It is also sometimes referred to as semolina flour which tends to be a finer texture, and which will also work in this recipe, but even the supposedly ‘coarse’ one is still pretty fine!

NOTE: this recipe is four days in the making, although not labour intensive during that time, and I do think it’s worth it. I tried making a shorter overnight version and the outcome wasn’t as good as the full four day version, although I will be experimenting with that further. All of the love and care does create a lovely, bouncy dough.

It is a VERY soft dough though and it does need to be cooked straight from the fridge. If you leave it out of the fridge for a while before cooking, my experience is that it will lose its form and spread as you bake it.


Preparing your starter:

Feed your starter. I know that if I feed Star with 40g of strong white bread flour & 40g of water, she will yield the necessary 70g of bubbly starter. Once your starter is lovely and bubbly, begin..

A table with some food and drinks on it

Day one: mix together..

70g bubbly starter

70g ground semolina

70g water

…and leave out overnight.

In a separate bowl mix together…

310g ground semolina

180g water

1tbsp oil (optional)

…and leave in fridge overnight.

A table with jars and spoons on itA bowl of food on the table with jars and spoons.A bowl of food on top of a table.A bowl of food on top of a table.

Day two: remove the semolina/water/oil mixture from the fridge to soften up and make it easier to mix with the starter.

Your starter should be lovely and bubbly and alive now. Add 1tsp salt to it, then mix it into the semolina/water/oil mixture. You’ll need to get your hands in to mix it really well.

A bowl of food that is sitting on the table.

Keep it out of the fridge like this for 2-3 hours and during that time, perform a series of 5 stretches and folds on the dough, each set only needs to be a few pulls and folds to pull the dough together. Then cover the bowl and return it to the fridge.

Day three: remove the bowl from the fridge and leave at room temperature and allow the dough to increase by about 60% (by eye).

A bowl of dough is sitting on the counter.

Then shape the dough. I stretch and fold the dough into a ball and place it into a floured banneton.

Cover and put back into the fridge.

A loaf of bread in a basket on the counter.

Day four: Preheat oven to 275C.

Prepare your choice of bakeware – I bake mine in an enamel roaster on a round of parchment paper. Take the dough from the fridge and place directly into the roaster/on baking sheet, slash and put into the oven.

Reduce the oven to 245C (I use 220C fan), bake with the lid in the roaster for 25 mins, remove the lid and bake for a further 15 mins

EDIT: 12th September 2018

Having made this again twice recently, I found that my loaf started to brown very quickly when I removed the lid, so I ended up putting it back on. Can I suggest baking the loaf with the lid on for the entire 40 mins? If you want to brown it slightly, take the lid off for the last 5 minutes only.

Remove from oven and place on a rack to cool before slicing

Since making this first loaf, I went on to make 3 more in quick succession. For one of them I merely doubled everything and created a monster loaf (above)! It was a beauty though… I’ve also calculated up the quantities to make a 500g (semolina) loaf which is my typical size, and it worked well too.

The quantities were:

112g starter/semolina/water

500g semolina

288g water

1tbsp oil

1tsp salt

Baked for 25 mins covered, 20 mins uncovered

I highly recommend giving it a go!

Happy baking!

25 thoughts on “Semolina sourdough…”

  1. What a truly wonderful semolina sourdough bread!
    I only have made a sourdough semolina bread with adding a bit off yeast & made it into a big ring with a big hole in the middle & loved the crunch! I need to make this cool looking bread! Yummm!

  2. Hi! This looks lovely. I’ve been playing with semolina myself, using semola rimaninata, and varying the proportions of the semola to bread flour. Not sure what is going wrong, but I never get any oven spring. I’ve tried various proofing times, and cannot seem to hit the sweet spot. I get flat, dense loaves that are heavy and wet.

    I will try baking straight from the fridge. I think I assumed I needed to proof for a bit at room temp because my loaves weren’t getting much lift in the proofing, but now I’m seeing that you’re baking over four days with this recipe, and I’m wondering if I’m proofing long enough. Proofing is something that mystifies me. Every time I think I’ve got it, I end up either over or under proofing. The only loaf I’ve had consistent success with is Jeff Bellamy’s Tartine Country Loaf method. I get two good loaves with consistent crumb every time.


  3. Hi Ann, thank you for your comment, semolina can be quite a challenge to work with…how strong is your starter?
    I bake everything from the fridge, it helps the dough firm up, plus it develops the flavour and texture, and the shift from the cold to hot shocks the dough into action! I’d definitely suggest giving it a try…

  4. All your breads are absolutely stunning. I am trying 2 recipes of your right now: the master recipe using 50% spelt and semolina. The first is going well and is resting in the fridge and I plan on baking it tonight. The semolina however I am not so sure about it. I used coarse and it is labeled as couscous, so perhaps this was the first error. Anyway, I have mixed the starter and did 1 stretch and fold. It is super dense and hard. I know I still have some time to go, but is it natural to have this hard? I wet my hands for the first S&F round, to help soften a bit. I hope it turns out as it looks beautiful. Thank you for the help. Be well

  5. Hi Miriam
    I’m so sorry, I’ve only just seen your message. How are your loaves???

  6. Love your bread! I am on day 3 of this recipe, will be baking tomorrow morning. Quick question, do I need to preheat my baling vessel or only the oven? Thank you much in advance.

  7. Thanks a lot for your reply. My bread is just out of the oven, looks good but I think my starter is not that robust as yours. Looking forward to seeing the crumbs.Best regards from NJ.

  8. On the final stay in the fridge while in the banneton (Day 3), is that for a full 24 hours and should one expect to see any rise at all before popping into the oven?

  9. No, it won’t necessarily rise πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»

  10. Does this have a flavor like cornbread? I’m thinking this might be good with some honey mixed into the dough. What do you think Elaine?

  11. Hi, I’ve never eaten cornbread so I’m afraid I don’t know…x

  12. Donna,
    I can’t believe Elaine’s not EVER had the US Southern tradition of cornbread! However, for you, the semolina is nothing like cornbread. Semolina is from Durham Wheat and totally different from cornmeal although it looks a bit like cornmeal.
    Sourdough Dancing in the Kitchen
    Lisa aka pepperedloaf

  13. When you double the recipe, how big is your loaf…wanted to make sure it fits in my clay baker?

  14. I have a steam combi overn – does that mean I don’t need to cover my dutch oven during baking?

  15. Not necessarily, baking in a covered pan has many benefits. Why not try both options?

  16. Yeah the steam option doesn’t work my bread was hard and burnt. I will try without the steam. Tyvm

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