Bernard Michael Tostanowski III

Sesame Semolina Sourdough

In Breads on August 4, 2009 at 3:27 PM


After reading my post about the sour culture I bought for one dollar from Carl’s, I hope I got you excited for the final result. Since I don’t own any bannetones or bread baskets, I wasn’t able to create any unique intriguing shapes or designs so I decided to add a little aesthetic appeal by garnishing one of the loaves with black sesame seeds found at my local Whole Foods Market. The other is just dusted in bread flour. I decided to use semolina flour because I love the nutty flavor and unique texture it imparts. The recipe uses both semolina and durum flours which can easily be found at Whole Foods or near the Organic aisle of your local mega-mart.

For the shaping and retarding, I rounded one of the loaves and placed it seam side up in a large pyrex bowl lined with a napkin heavily dusted with bread flour. Secondly, I did the same with the oblong loaf but did so with untoasted black sesame seeds and shaped it oblong after removing from the bowl. The sourdough was proofed very slowly in the refrigerator for twenty hours to develop a deep sour flavor and a beautifully even crumb structure.

About forty-five minutes before baking, I preheated my oven to its maximum 500˚F and placed a large baking stone on the second rack up from the bottom. Exactly thirty minutes before baking, I carefully flipped over each bowl and unmolded the loaves onto an oven peel coated in semolina flour. This tempering of the loaves allows the dough to relax a bit before going into such an extreme environment (the 500˚oven) which will minimize the risk of bursting and will allow for greater oven spring.

Just before baking, the bread gets scored. I would recommend choosing simple designs for scoring this bread because the dough was very wet and It would be very hard to cut intricate designs without tearing.

NOTE: The following formula is in grams. All of my formulas are scaled in weight for better accuracy. Volume measuring is very inacurate especially when measuring flours. I am very sorry if this inconveniences any of you but I will not let you make an inadequate bread 8). You can find a very cheap, very reliable scale from Escali. I do not get paid to endorse them…hehehe (although I wish I would) but trust me. They are a great company with a great guarantee and are very reliable and long lasting.

Sesame Semolina Sourdough

  • 387 grams Bread Flour
  • 129 grams Semolina Flour
  • 129 grams Durum Flour
  • 269 grams Semolina Sour Culture
  • 18 grams Table Salt
  • 3 grams Malt Syrup
  • 425 grams Water

If you are a fan of baker’s percentage, email me and I would be happy to send it to you!

  1. Feed Semolina Sour 18 hours in advance.
  2. Mix autolyse method: Combine all ingredients except for salt and mix with dough hook on low speed for 3 minutes or until homogenous. Leave dough in the mixing bowl and cover with plastic wrap, let rest for 15 minutes.
  3. Uncover the dough and add the salt. Mix again on slow speed for 3 minutes.
  4. Remove from bowl and placed into a well oiled glass or plastic bowl that will allow the dough to comfortable double in size. Cover once again for 30 minutes.
  5. Uncover dough and place onto well floured surface. Gently fold the dough over itself similar to a three fold with laminated doughs. Do not over-agitate the dough. Cover the dough again for 30 minutes.
  6. Uncover the dough and fold once again. This time cover the dough and let rest for 15 minutes.
  7. Divide the dough into two equal pieces on a lightly floured surface. Each piece should weigh roughly 681 grams or 1.5 pounds.
  8. Shape round a place seam side up in bowls, baskets, or bannetones that are generously floured or coated in sesame seeds.
  9. Cover loosely and leave at room temperature for one hour. Place in cooler and allow the dough to retard for 20 hours.
  10. Remove from the fridge and alow to sit at room temperature for at least thirty minutes.
  11. For the Home Baker: Preheat your oven in advance to 500˚F for at least 30 minutes with your baking stone on the second rack up from the bottom. Load dough onto floured peel and place in oven. Immediatley close the door and drop temperature to 450˚F and bake 35-40 minutes.
  12. For the Professional Baker: Preheat deck oven top and bottom to 450˚F. Do not steam. Bake 35-40 minutes.
  13. To test for doneness, carefully remove a loaf from the oven with a clean, double layer towel and flip upside down. Knock on the bottom. The bread should sound hollow and the crust should be very crispy.

WARNING: Sesame seeds will pop and potentially fly off of the loaf when baking or removed from the oven. Use extreme caution.

As I mentioned before mixing the dough using the autolyse method creates a very deep sour flavor and beautiful consistent crumb structure. Also notice the even, beautiful crust on both the top and bottom of the slice. It is very difficult to get a deep crust on the bottom if your baking stone is not preheated to the oven temperature.

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