I have been meaning to make this semolina bread, for some reason, I always forget to buy semolina flour. Though I never bothered to go to grocery store just to buy one thing, this time, I went just to do that. As soon as I came back home, I started to work on the recipe. The recipe is basically variation of Robertson's country bread (for those who doesn't have the book, you check here for the recipe), which, if you already experienced the process of making your first robertson's loaf, by now, you will probably remember the basic formula and the technique by heart. So, naturally, the second bread you are planning to make is becoming much easier, and perhaps, you will even experiment using different kind of flour combination. I have been making different kind of country bread using all kinds of whole grains, seeds, and nuts. They are amazingly delicious, and quite moreish. Back to semolina bread, I was intrigued by the combination of fennel, sesame, and poppy seeds all together. I also love how much sesame is in the bread, and the fact that the sesame seeds are toasted, then grind to a powder (which I never did, and would normally just add it to the dough as is), I found it pretty irresistible. The aroma from freshly ground sesame seed alone is so good, combine that with just a tad of fennel seeds (also lightly toasted, then grind) definitely divine, I can tell you! But, I must let you know that, I was a little unsure about the amount of fennel use in the recipe. To me, using 75 grams of fennel seeds, would be too overwhelming for my palate. I do like fennel seed, and I do use it a lot in my cooking, but never in my wildest dream to use that much. I would much rather have the fragrant sesame to takes over the liqorizy aroma from fennel seeds.
*if you really like strong flavor and aroma of fennel, use 75 grams of fennel seeds as the original recipe asked for.
Semolina Bread With Sesame Seeds
Recipe adapted from Chad Robertson's book, Tartine Bread
Makes 2 (large loaves)
1 tbs mature sourdough starter
200 g (78℉) water
100 g whole wheat flour
100 g rye flour
750 g + 50 g water (80℉)
200 g leaven
700 g semolina flour
300 g bread flour
20 g salt
75 g sesame seeds, lightly toasted-cooled-grind to powder
20 g fennel seeds, lightly toasted-cooled-grind to powder* see note above
200 g mixed seeds for coating (sesame, poppy, and fennel seeds)
The night before planning to make this bread, make the leaven by mixing all ingredients. Cover and leave to ferment at room temperature for 12 to 16 hours.
In a large bowl add 750 grams of water and 200 grams of levain. Stir to disperse. Add semolina flour and all-purposed flour. Mix well. Autolyse (rest) 25 to 40 minutes.
Add the remaining 50 grams of water, and the salt. Mix using your hands by squeezing the dough between your fingers, then fold the dough on to it self. Transfer the dough into a large container with lid. Cover - rest for 2 hours. During this resting period, you will perform 4 series of fold every 30 minutes. On the second fold, add and mix in sesame powder. When the forth fold is completed, let the dough rest for another 2 hours.
Transfer the dough onto kitchen counter top that has been dust with flour (dust lightly), then divide into 2 equal portions. Preshape each portion into light boule, cover each boule to prevent them from drying. Rest 20 - 30 minutes.
After 20 - 30 minutes of resting, flip the dough over so that floured side is now facing up. Shape each into tight boule as shown on this video.
Line 2 bannetons (or bowls if you don't own banneton) with clean kitchen linens. Dust the linens with mix of rice flour and all-purposed flour. Transfer each boule into banneton. Cover - refrigerate for 12 hours. If you don't want to wait that long, and prefer milder flavor loaves, let them rise at room temperature (75 - 80℉) for 3 to 4 hours.
Take one dough out from refrigerator, carefully transfer it into la cloche (please be very careful if you use combo cooker, I can only imagine how hot it is after being preheated in the 500℉ oven for 20 minutes). Score the dough with basic square pattern. Place it in the oven, put the lid on, immediately turn the oven temperature down to 450℉. Bake for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes, remove the lid (again, be careful if you are using combo cooker), continue to bake for another 25 minutes, or until dark golden brown. If you are planning to bake the second loaf, preheat the oven back to 500℉, and repeat the same process.
Remove from the oven, and transfer into rack to cool before serving.