Semolina and Sesame Bread

This bread is traditionally made during spring as a welcome to returning sun at Macrina café in Seattle. Well, I baked it as a goodbye to the central star of the Solar System. Forecast doesn’t sound promising at all. Once the rain gets started here it won’t stop until very late spring. I’m afraid I finally have to accept the fact the summer is over. And I don’t like autumn…

Semolina and Sesame Bread

I am sending this photo to the CLICK Crust event.

Makes one round loaf

For the seed dough:

Makes about 2 ¼ pounds of seed dough (more than you will need for this bread)

  • 2 cups filtered water, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp dried yeast
  • 4 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour

For the bread:

  • 8 oz Seed Dough, 1 day old, at room temperature
  • 1 ¼ cups filtered water, at room temperature
  • 2 ½ cups semolina flour
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp raw sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp coarse sea salt
  • Spray bottle of water

Make the seed dough:

Place the water in a bowl of the stand mixer and sprinkle yeast on the top. Mix with a whisk until the yeast is completely dissolved. Add 2 cups of the flour and mix with a whisk until smooth, about 3 minutes. Let uncovered bowl rest at room temperature, about 70F, for 2 hours.

Place the bowl onto the stand mixer base. Add the remaining flour and mix with the paddle attachment until fully incorporated, about 1 minute. Switch to the hook attachment and mix on medium speed for 7 minutes. The dough will remain quite wet and underdeveloped. It will lack elasticity and will break easily if stretched.

Coat your hands with some flour and transfer the dough to an oiled, medium bowl and cover with oiled plastic wrap. Set the bowl in a warm room, 70 to 75F, and let rise for 2 hours. The dough will double in size.

Store the covered bowl in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours or overnight. The Seed Dough is best used when it is 1 day old, but it can be stored for up to 4 days in the refrigerator.

Make the bread:

Divide the seed dough into 5 pieces and place in the bowl of your stand mixer. Add the water, semolina flour, and kosher salt and mix with the paddle attachment for 1 to 2 minutes on low speed. Switch to the hook and mix on medium speed for 8 to 10 minutes. The dough will form a ball at the base of the hook and sides of the bowl will be clean.

Place the dough in an oiled, medium bowl and cover with oiled plastic wrap. Set the bowl in a warm room, 70 to 75F, and let proof for 2 hours. The dough will almost double in size.

Pull the dough from the bowl onto a floured surface and flatten it with your hands. Form the dough into a ball by pulling the edges up and towards the center of the mass. Repeat this motion until you have a tight ball, then let it rest, seam side down, for 1 minute. Line a medium bowl with a floured dish towel and place the loaf, seam side up, in the center. Fold the ends of the towel over the top of the loaf to prevent a skin from forming on the surface. Let proof at room temperature for 2 hours. The loaf will rise 50 percent in size.

Transfer the bowl to the refrigerator and let sit for 3 hours. The fermentation process will continue during this time and the loaf will develop more flavor.

Place a baking stone on the center rack of the oven and preheat to 400F.

Remove the bowl from the refrigerator and place the loaf, seam side down, on a baker’s peel. I like to use parchment paper here and slide the loaf quickly into the oven on the parchment. Using a sharp knife, score a shallow triangle across the top of the loaf. Mist the top of the loaf with a spray bottle water and sprinkle with the sesame seeds and sea salt. Moving quickly, place the loaf in the center of the baking stone and mist inside of the oven with water. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, misting the oven twice more during the first 15 minutes. The finished loaf will be golden brown and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Let cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes.

Semolina and Sesame Bread