Semolina Bread

My dearest friend Alma and I went to the movies today to watch teenagers killing each other; enjoyed it tremendously and had some sodas and popcorn.  That soda (the ultra-enormous size “small” cherry coke) was the first chemical drink I’ve had in weeks.  The guilt level was so high – morally it almost felt like a hara-kiri sword going through my stomach.  The taste was so good –physically it almost felt like heaven… add Katniss Evergreen shooting everyone left and right – true paradise!

To prepare for this deliberately wrong (on so many levels) outing, I made a pretty healthy lunch.  This recipe is adopted from my bread bible, Tartine.  As a person, who grew up on semolina cereals, I was quite impressed – the loaf didn’t taste anything like those childhood breakfasts I’m trying to forget.  It was perfect for my avocado/sprout/goat cheese/sundried tomato sandwich!

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  • 200 g leaven
  • 750 g + 50 g water (room temperature)
  • 700 g semolina flour
  • 300 g all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 75 g fennel seeds
  • 75 g sesame seeds
  • 20 g salt
  • 200 g mixed seeds (poppy, fennel, and sesame) for coating

Yields: 2 loafs


Prepare leaven a night before by mixing 1 tbs of mature starter with 200 g oof water and 200 g of all-purpose flour.  Leave at room temperature loosely covered.

Test the leaven for readiness by dropping a spoonful in a glass of luke-warm water.  If the leaven is floating, it’s ready to be used.  If it drops, you need to give the leaven some more fermentation time.

Pour 750 g of water into a large mixing bowl.  Add the leaven, and mix it so it almost dissolves.

Add the flours and mix well till incorporated.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 20-45 minutes.

In the meantime toast and process the fennel and sesame seeds in a spice grinder.

After the initial rest, add salt, remaining 50 g of water, and ground seeds to the dough.  Mix well.

Follow the instructions of the basic country dough recipe, starting with “Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for about 3-4 hrs.”   Divide the dough into two when first placing it on a floured surface.  Instead of sesame seeds, use the multi-seed mixture used in this recipe.

When baking two loafs, after the first loaf is finished, reheat the Dutch oven for another 10 minutes at 500⁰ F /260⁰ C before placing the second loaf into it.



  1. Sara says:

    I make tartine bread once or twice a week! I’ve been progressively trying to add more whole-grain flour to the basic recipe. Your loaf is beautiful. I am thinking you have probably even been to the holiest of holies, the bakery itself! Oh, and no judging here: I haven’t seen the movies but my friend just lent me the book and I’m racing through.

    • Anastasia says:

      My husband got me their croissants for Mother’s Day last year. Bread on another hand is complete madness – they have an hour long line – so, even though they are about 10 minutes away from my house, I still haven’t tried it.. How do you find their original recipes? It took me about 6 months of experimenting in order to produce a good loaf…

  2. cibusamare says:

    Mmm, that looks great! The photographs remind me of this sandwich shop I visited in Amsterdam – might have to try this one to recreate my holiday!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Silly American man that I am…I have to find a site to translate the metric measurements before I can do this! Sounds like a GREAT Saturday “thing to do” though! Looks mighty tasty!

  4. Chuck says:

    That silly American man was me, btw. For some reason I was not signed in. Sorry about that.

    • Anastasia says:

      ;-) I take proportions from another American man, Chad Robertson, who wrote the Tartine book. Bakers like to use kilograms I guess… I do too ;-) I just bought an electronic kitchen scale, it has both options…

  5. Ben Leib says:

    Great looking lunch. Coke is one of my favorite things on the planet, and I drink a can every week or two, and just savor it – I can relate to that guilt.

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