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Semolina Bread with Sesame Seeds

Semolina bread with sesame seeds is quite typical of Sicily. This rustic loaf has a crusty exterior, a pale yellow interior due to the use of semolina flour and is topped with sesame seeds giving it a wonderful crunch and nutty flavor!
Course Bread
Cuisine Sicilian-Italian
Keyword semolina bread with sesame seeds, Sicilian bread, bread topped with sesame seeds
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Resting time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 35 minutes
Servings 1 loaf
Calories 1568kcal


  • 1 envelope dry yeast (8 grams)
  • 1 1/3 cups water
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 3/4 cups durum semolina flour
  • 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds


For the dough:

  • Begin by proofing your yeast: heat water until tepid and place in a small bowl.  Stir in honey until it dissolves. Add an envelope of instant yeast (8 grams), stir gently and let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, add the semolina flour, all purpose flour and salt in the bowl of your stand mixer.  Mix until combined. Pour in the yeast mixture and on gently speed mix until combined and a dough begins to form.  The dough will be very wet at first, this is normal. Mix on medium speed for 8 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.  After 4-5 minutes of kneading the dough will wrap itself around the hook and pull away from the sides of the bowl. Transfer to a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm area, free from draft until it doubles in bulk, about two hours.

To shape the dough:

  • After two hours has passed, transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface.  Punch down the dough and using your finger tips, flatten the dough into a rectangle, about 13 x 9 inches.
  • Fold the long edge of the dough 2/3 of the way toward the center of the rectangle. Fold the other long edge over the the first fold.. Tuck in the ends by making a small fold toward the interior of the bread in order to seal the ends. 
  • Turn the dough over and carefully lift onto a parchment paper covered baking sheet, seam side down.
  • Lightly brush the surface with water and top with sesame seeds.  Use a sharp knife to make three or four horizontal cuts on the dough. Cover with a clean tea towel and let rest for thirty minutes.

To bake:

  • Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425F and place a pan of water on the bottom rack of your oven.  Bake for 20 minutes, then reduce oven to 375F and continue baking for ten to fifteen minutes longer, until the bread is golden and sounds hollow when tapped.
    Transfer to a wire rack and allow it to cool completely before slicing it. 


If you do not have a stand mixer:
  • Combine semolina flour, all-purpose flour and salt in a bowl.
  • Make a well in the center and stir in the proofed yeast with a wooden spoon until a raggedy dough takes shape.
  • Transfer the mixture onto a well floured surface and knead the dough for about 5 minutes. Add a spoonful of flour at a time as needed if the dough becomes too sticky to handle.
  • Shape into a ball and proceed with the recipe.

Can semolina bread dough be prepared a day in advance?

Yes it can. Let the dough rise at room temperature for 1 hour and refrigerate overnight. Let the dough come to room temperature, about 2 hours, before proceeding to shape it as outlined in the recipe.
More tips:
  • If you can not find double milled semolina flour in your grocery store, regular semolina flour will work as well.
  • The dough for this bread will be slightly sticky and softer than most other bread dough. This is normal, do not add extra flour.
  • Place a pan of water on the lower rack of the oven while baking to give the bread a crusty exterior. 
  • Wait until the bread has cooled completely before slicing it. 
  • Store the bread well sealed at room temperature for up to three days.
  • Freeze the bread in a freezer bag for up to a month. 


Calories: 1568kcal | Carbohydrates: 304g | Protein: 53g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 2353mg | Potassium: 798mg | Fiber: 18g | Sugar: 12g | Calcium: 240mg | Iron: 20mg