Durum wheat semolina bread is usually prepared in a loaf-shape, especially in Southern Italy and in particularly in Apulia, also known as the granary of Italy, where durum wheat semolina flour is the most widely used flour also for pasta, cakes and biscuits.
We’ve added some fennel seeds to give it a twist and they worked just perfectly!
Ingredients for a 500g loaf, Preparation time 30 mins, Cooking time about 5 hours included rising dough
- Durum Wheat Semolina Flour, 500 g
- Lukewarm water, about 250-300 ml
- Fresh brewer’s yeast 10 g or dried yeast, 9 g
- Evoo – Extra Virgin Olive Oil, a tablespoon
- Fine salt, a tablespoon
- White or brown sugar, a teaspoon or honey, a teaspoon
- Fennel seeds, a tablespoon
Melt the fresh brewer’s yeast in 50 ml of lukewarm water along with sugar or honey. Stir and let it work by letting it rest for 10 mins. If instead you use the dried yeast , this method won’t be necessary, you will add it directly to the flour.
Tip: the yeast won’t start if the water is cold, neither if is hot because you’ll kill it. Lukewarm water is just perfect.
Put the flour into a mixing bowl, as soon as the yeast is ready, add it to the flour, start stirring with a wooden spoon and finally with your hands. There is no need to add salt at this stage.
Tip: add the salt only after having well mixed the yeast.
Add Evoo and gradually add a bit of water, by starting to knead a bit.
Now add the salt and “pinch” trying to catch the dough between your thumb and forefinger, 4-6 times, wetting your hands before starting.
Add fennel seeds and set aside a few for the final garnish.
Start kneading vigorously with both hands for 10 minutes, so that the gluten mesh is formed.
Form a ball and put it back in the bowl, cover the bowl with a dry cloth and let it rise for about 3 hours or once double-sized.
Tip: put the bowl with the dough close to a radiator or in the oven just a little warmed before.
Once rised, remove the dough from the bowl, Knead the dough again for about 5 minutes, then shape the dough as you prefer, place it on a baking tray covered with parchment paper, sprinkle it over the surface with a little Semolina flour and let it rise again for about 45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to the max temperature.
If you want you can splash the surface with a drizzle of water and add a few more fennel seeds before baking.
Tip: to get a crunchy bread outside and soft inside is to make the room moist by putting a little pot with a little water on the bottom of the oven.
Bake the loaf to 200 C for about 25 or 30 minutes at the bottom of the oven.
Once the bread is ready, let it cool down at room temperature and then cut and enjoy it!