Italian Semolina Bread
Italian Semolina Bread is a hearty homestyle Italian classic bread. It has a crunchy crust and light and chewy pale yellow crumb. Enjoy topped with sesame seeds for added texture and earthy flavour!
Semolina bread is a bit more rustic than perhaps you’re used to. The reason for that is the semolina flour which comes from durum wheat. Depending on how the semolina was ground and which type you buy, you may find it slightly darker and a bit more coarse than all-purpose or bread flour. There is no wrong kind of semolina flour to buy, but whichever you do, will determine the slight differences in texture.
Widely used in Italy, semolina has a very high gluten content. It takes a bit more to work with by hand, but it’s excellent at holding its shape, without the addition of eggs. This is why it is perfect for making bread and pasta!
This rustic style Italian bread is a yeast bread which does take some rise time. But made with only a few pantry staples, following this recipe can’t get any easier. Fill your kitchen with the smell of freshly baked bread this weekend. Your family will thank you!
Table of Contents
- Water – Lukewarm
- Yeast – Active dry yeast
- Flour – Semolina flour
- Olive oil
How to Make It
In a small bowl, add water and honey. Sprinkle the yeast on top and let it sit. Then stir to combine.
In the bowl of your stand mixer, add flour, yeast mixture, remaining water, and oil.
Start to knead and then add the salt. Continue kneading to form the dough. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured flat surface. Stretch and fold it a few times.
and then place the dough in a lightly greased bowl. Turn the dough around so that the entire surface has been coated in oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and move to a warm draft-free area to double in bulk. Once again, transfer the dough to a flat surface and stretch and fold a few times before forming it into the desired shape.
Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet or a lightly greased loaf pan. Cover and let rise in a warm draft-free area.
Preheat the oven and while the oven is heating up, place an empty pan in the bottom of the oven. With a sharp knife, score the loaf. If you would like to add seeds on top, brush the loaf with a little water and sprinkle with your choice of sesame or poppy seeds.
Add boiling water to the pan that’s been sitting at the bottom of the oven, then immediately add the bread to the rack above to bake.
Once it is ready, remove it from the oven and immediately transfer it to a wire rack to cool completely.
Enjoy a slice slathered with your favourite spreads, as a bruschetta appetizer, or fill it with your favourite sandwich fillings. You can also use it to make homemade croutons.
This is a simple bread loaded with flavour and texture. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
Why do I need to add the empty pan at the bottom of the oven?
Adding boiling water to the empty pan just before adding the bread to the oven, will create a steam effect. This will help keep the crust soft long enough for the bread to expand. Once the steam is gone and no longer needed, the outer crust will then become hard.
How to store it
The fresh baked cooled bread should be kept in a paper bag, it will keep for up to 3 days.
Can I freeze it?
Definitely. This bread will keep at room temperature for up to 3 days, during which time you can enjoy it as you please. After which, you can freeze it in an airtight container or Ziploc bag for up to 1 month.
Why is my dough sticky?
You might notice that this dough is a bit more sticky than you anticipated. Not to worry, that is normal. Do not add more flour!
More Delicious Bread Recipes
If you are looking for a different type of bread to make then I hope you give this Italian Semolina Bread a try and let me know what you think. Enjoy!
Italian Semolina Bread
- 1 cup + 1 tablespoon water (lukewarm 105F/40C temperature) (divided) (250 grams)
- ½ teaspoon honey
- 1¼ teaspoon active dry yeast
- 2 cups semolina flour (320 grams)
- ¾ tablespoon olive oil
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- In a small bowl add 1/4 cup (58 grams) water and honey, mix then sprinkle the yeast on top, let sit 5-10 minutes, stir to combine.
- In the stand up mixer add the flour, yeast mixture, remaining water and oil, start to knead then add the salt, knead on speed 2 for 6-7 minutes. Move the dough to a lightly floured flat surface and stretch and fold a few times then place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, turn the dough then cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm draft free area for 2 hours or until doubled in bulk.
- Move the dough to a flat surface and again stretch and fold a few times, form into desired shape then place either on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet or lightly greased loaf pan (9 inch/23cm), cover and let rise in a warm draft free area for 1 hour.
- Pre-heat oven to 400F (200C), place an empty pan in the bottom of the oven while the oven is pre-heating.
- Score the loaf then brush with a little water, and sprinkle with seeds (poppy, sesame or your choice). Pour 1-2 cups of boiling water to the pan in the oven, then place the bread in the oven on the middle rack. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Once the bread is baked move it immediately to a wire rack to cool completely before cutting and serving. Enjoy!
Thanks for the recipe. I really want to bake it.
I just want to ask you: can we use any type of semolina flour, either coarse or fine? Or should we opt for a particular one?
Hi Konstantinos, I would go with the finer semolina flour. Let me know how it goes.
Would making this without the steam effect make the crust soft yet still get the inside baked? My husband can’t eat hard crusty bread.
Hi Ellen, yes leaving out the steam will make the crust softer. Let me know how it goes.