Barley Semola Sourdough

Barley Semola Sourdough

Some loaves just come out happy. This dough, made with no other ambition than having bread for the week, just happened to make loaves with a perfectly moist and open crumb and a crunchy and fragrant crust. That’s why I feel like sharing this simple, yet rewarding, recipe.

barley semola sourdough

Of course the main ingredient is a lively starter, there is no way around it. So go check my previous posts on how to rise and keep a starter cause my beloved 3-year old wheat sourdough culture is a good 70% of my satisfaction in bread baking.

barley semola sourdough

For the variety of shapes showed here, including the cute margueritte you can spot at the end of the post, I used the same dough. The dough was mostly made out of stone-ground organic wheat (also called high extraction wheat) where the majority of the seed is ground into the flour (80% in the one I used). Since I like to experiment with different flours I have also used a part of freshly milled barley flour and a part of finely ground semola (super fine durum) flour. Scroll down to read the simple, yet complete, method.

200 g active wheat starter, fed at least once and doubled before being used
700 g + 50 g water
700 g stone-ground (high extraction) organic wheat
150 g barley flour (mine was home-milled)
150 g semola rimacinata flour (super fine durum flour)
3 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1. Combine your active starter the majority (700 g) of the water and the flours
2. Knead a good 10 minutes by hand or with a stand mixer at low speed
3. Let rest covered for a good hour
4. Add the salt and the remaining water (50 g)
5. Knead for another good 10 minutes by hand or with a stand mixer at medium speed
6. Fold (stretch the dough on its 4 corners and close like a package) righ away and place in a air-tight container
7. Fold once more after the first 1/2 hour to 45 minutes
8. Let rest another 1 1/2 hour
9. Transfer on a lightly floured surface and shape as you wish
10. You have two choices: either you leave the shaped loaves room temp for another 1 1/2 hour or you can retard in the fridge from a minimum of 4 hours to overnight
11. Invert your proofed loaves on a baker peel and place in a hot oven (as hot as you can go) using steam in the beginning*
12. Lower the temperature -after the first 10 minutes for small loaves and after the first 20-25 minutes for larger loaves (it also depends how high you max temp is)- and bake until golden brown and lighter when lifted

Note: I almost never manage to wait until the first loaf is cooled off to cut into it…

*steam: there are infinite ways to create steam in a home oven, easiest is to throw some ice cubes in the lower rack at the beginning of the cooking, most effective is probably to pour some water in a boiling hot bottom tray, also at the beginning of the baking. You should let the steam come out after the first 10-25 minutes depending from the size of the loaves but, if your oven is as ineffective as mine in keeping steam in, you really don’t need to bother.

Barley Semola Sourdough

Barley Semola Sourdough

barley semola sourdough

and this one is inspired to the French shape Margueritte
barley semola marguerite

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  1. Don Sadowsky says:

    Another fantastic bread with that trademark stupendous crumb!

  2. I still have a lot to learn when it comes to sourdough! I will have to spend more time on your blog and learn from recipes like this one!

  3. Beautiful loaves as always!
    I wish I could get high extraction flour here without having to mail order it for a steep price. Therefore I have to make do with 41% bread flour and 59% whole wheat.

    • thank you Karin!! uhm… whole wheat I am afraid would make the bread heavier. why not a 20% whole wheat only?

      • I’m still experimenting. For my latest Tartine bread this ratio worked quite well: holes and all.

        • this is the same experience I have when milling wheat at home very finely and sifting it. I guess that is what they do in US? And how much do they sift out? Here in Sweden whole wheat flour is very coarsely ground and include also the outer layer, which almost looks like flakes in the flour. with that flour you can make Danish rye-type breads, not country sourdough. that’s why I mill at home :)

          • I get very good quality whole wheat flour from King Arthur Flour Co., finely milled. If you sift that, you don’t find much in you sieve. I did some online research and found the 41:59 (bread flour : whole wheat) ratio as recommended substitute for high extraction flour.
            I just made the Barley Porridge Flaxseed Bread (from Tartine No.3) with this substitute, and it worked very well.

  4. Ciao Barbara, il tuo pane ha sempre un aspetto fantastico e io amo la croccantezza, il colore e il profumo che da la farina di grano duro negli impasti, anche se contenuta in piccola percentuale.
    Un bacio.

  5. Your breads are always wonderful! You are such a gifted baker! Have a nice weekend and smile a lot :-D

    • hi Fabi, grazie!! it’s easy to make great bread when using high gluten flours. your breads are even more wonderful cause you work without those beautiful gluten strands.

  6. Barbara, I would like to invite you to join in my challenge to create a bread worthy of an old German folk hero, Götz von Berlichingen. Though he lived and fought in the middle ages, it doesn’t have to be a medieval bread (especially not an “authentic bread”), only one that his worthy of his legacy. I got a lot of bakers from The Fresh Loaf already on board, and would be happy if you would come up with one of your fabulous loaves, too.
    There is no deadline, here are the details:

    • sure, I will participate with my next decent loaf :) I have been away from my kitchen for close to a month now. Barbara

      • Great! It will be your cure for baking withdrawal, I’m sure you’re already suffering from it :)
        You must have had a really wonderful trip, your photos were so nice. Does your daughter speak Italian? My husband’s mother is from Venice, and he and his daughters are all fluent.

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