100% pane di semola rimacinata or back to Sicily

You know that feeling when you travel somewhere and it feels good, almost like home, and it feels like soul has anchored? I had this feeling when visiting Sicily a year and a half ago. I promised myself to come back. I didn't know when and I haven't been making any plans to come back, I just let the thought of it somewhere at the back of my mind and to puzzle itself on its own.

Guess what? Now it's that time go come back. I'm just about to leave for Sicily in couple of hours.

And the best part of it? This trip will all be about sourdough breads and flours.

If we were to find a place of (heritage) grains revival and wheat grain diversity, then Sicily is an absolute gem. Sicily is well known for its fertile soil, which makes it perfect for cereals cultivation. It is no suprise that Sicily gained title "the granary of Rome" in the Roman times.  Nowadays, more and more farmers and millers are getting aware of the importance of grain preservation of old and healthier grain varieties.

All this wouldn't have been possible without Clear Sicily international team that I'm very grateful to be the part of. Clear Sicily is all about being passionate about Sicily, its products and people.  And it is more and more inspired by breads and flours.

In the next ten days we'll travel around Sicily and get to know it personally. And bake a lot of sourdough bread!

As an introduction to the Sicily I would like to share with you recipe for sourdough bread with 100% semolina flour or pane di semola rimacinata. This bread is sweat, soft, and...just look at that yellow color! It's just like Sicily in my memory - sunny side up.

Semolina sourdough bread

Semolina is coarsely ground durum wheat (grano duro, Triticum durum - a variety of wheat) and it's often used to make pasta. When it's called semola rimacinata in italian, it reffers to semolina which has been re-milled to make it finer and more suitable for bread baking. There is a vast variety of breads in souther Italy made with semola rimacinata, like Pane di Altamura (Provincia di Bari),  or Mafalda and Pane di Lentini in Sicily to name just a few. The natural yellow color comes from carotenoids present in the grain.

And now, let's hop to the recipe.

100% pane di semola rimacinata
Yields: 1 medium-sized loaf

Baking schedule:
Starter for this bread was prepared in the evening, the dough was mixed in the morning, left to rest 1 hour and then left to rise until fully proofed for another 3 hours.

Ingredients:

Starter
70 g of your (active) mother sourdough starter
250 g of semolina flour (farina di semola rimacinata)
225 g of water

Dough
300 g of semolina flour
200 g of water
9 g salt

Instructions:

Starter

1. In the evening, prepare the starter. Mix 70 g of your (active) mother sourdough starter, 250 g of semolina flour and 225 g water. Cover and leave to ferment overnight until doubled in volume and bubbly.

Dough

2. In the morning, prepare the dough. Mix 200 g of water and all of the above starter. Add flour and mix until all the flour is incorporated and then knead the dough for 5 minutes. Next, leave the dough to rest for 1 hour.

Semolina sourdough bread

3. Once one hour has passed, add salt and incorporate it well into the dough. Also, check if the dough is stiff and it needs more water. If you want to add some addins like seeds or pistachios, now it's the time.

Knead the dough again for 5 minutes and then pre-shape it into boule (round loaf) and leave it to rest covered for 10 minutes. In the meantime, prepare the rising basket - dust it well with flour or line a rising basket with a table cloth and dust it with flour.

4. After 10 minutes have passed, shape the dough into boule and place it into rising basket smooth surface-down. Leave the dough to rise until it increases in volume and passes the poking test - make an indent with finger into the dough and observe the reaction - if the indent springs back slowly, the dough is ready to be put into oven, if it spring back quickly, leave it to rise a little bit longer.

My dough needed 3 hours, yours might need more or less, depending on the activity of your starter and ambient temperature.

Semolina sourdough bread

Baking

5. At least 30 minutes before baking preheat your oven to the maximum temperature of your oven along with dutch oven or a baking stone. I used dutch oven.

6. When the oven is preheated, take the loaf out of the rising basket, score it with a blade or sharp knige and transfer it to dutch oven. Put your dutch oven into oven.

7. Bake the loaf for 20 minutes with the lid on at 240°C/465F°F and 25-30 minutes with lid off at 230°C/445°F and until bread gets nice dark color.

Semolina sourdough bread

Talk soon and stay tuned!

23 thoughts on “100% pane di semola rimacinata or back to Sicily

  1. What a beautiful bread Natasa. That yellow color is indeed perfect and warming. wishing you all the best on this trip, and I’m looking forward to hear how it went and all about the amazing things you’ll learn and try. Big hug!!

    1. Thank you so much dear Ines! Sicily is always amazing, even if it just red oranges and lemones :)

      Sending love!

  2. Can I use a rye sourdough starter for this recipe or should I make a wheat one for this bread? Thank you and I am very excited to make this bread.

    1. You mean for the larger amount of starter that goes into dough? Sure, rye starter will also work, though it might affect the taste (in case of larger quantities), I think it’s more of matter of preferences. If you have rye starter, you can simply take a tablespoon of it and mix it with semolina flour to make the starter for the dough. In this case you won’t feel the difference.

      Hope your bread turns out great! :)

    1. Thank you Andrea!

      For the matter of taste (and crumb softness), I would suggest you use semolina starter (altogether 475g), and the percentage around 80% or lower. For the mother starter (that tablespoon of starter you build the dough starter with) it doesn’t matter, you can use any starter you maintain.

      Looking forward to see the bread :)

  3. Can I still make the bread without a Dutch oven or a baking stone could I just bake it on a baking sheet? Thank you for the answers.

  4. When kneading the dough for the first time it was soooo sticky it was impossible to knead, any advice for new bread bakers on what to do in this situation? I know you are not suppose to keep adding flour that will dry out the dough, but honestly the dough simply would not come together if I left it on the counter it would spread apart…Please help.

  5. Can you tell me how you knead the dough, especially in the very beginning when it is super wet and sticky (original 5 minute knead). Do you do in the bowl or on a floured surface?

    1. Hi!

      I knead it in a bowl, with no additional flour. If it is very sticky, leave it to rest for 30 minutes (or up to an hour for autolyse), it will get less sticky and knead it afterwards.

      Nataša

  6. hallo, do you know the ancient durum variety called “tumminia”? is tipical from western sicily, especially it is made a tipical bread called pane nero di Castelvetrano , in little town near the west cost (Castelvetrano is the name of the town).
    Ther is a mill , with stone in Castelvetrano that produces also the tumminia flour (bio organic) and now it start to sell also in USa : Molini del ponte is the mill

    Vincenzo

    1. Hi Vincenzo,

      Yes, I baked bread and pizza with tumminia/timilia when I was in Sicily this year. I also used other Sicilian heritage grains like bidi, maiorca, perciasacchi, russello, biancolilla.
      Are you planning to buy some in US? They all have great taste, but have naturally weaker gluten, so it’s a challenge to work with them.
      Sicily has a large variety of heritage/local grains, you can check them here: http://www.granicoltura.it/p_germoplasma.html

      Nataša

  7. What happens if you use American Semolina flour and not rimacinata? Can you give the necessary liquid adjustments as Americans don’t have good access to the Italian flour! Or would you use Durum Wheat Flour you can find in an Asian Supermarket? Please let me know!

    1. I am not sure how frequently the owner replies to comments, I have been waiting on them for a year now.

      I would say absolutely yes, let it slow proof over night in the fridge and bake it straight from the fridge into a preheated Dutch Oven or stone (w/steam). No need to bring it to room temperature after the fridge.

      You might want to let the dough aerate for 30/60 minutes after placing it in the banneton before putting in the fridge for the slow proof/rise.

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