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Sicilian Semolina Bread

Recipe Courtesy of Dana Calicchio


I love this bread. It reminds me of my childhood. The recipe is easy if you are using a stand mixer. If you do not have one, just knead the crap out of your dough with your God given hands. Either way, it is a hearty white bread. The heartiness comes from the semolina flour in the dough. Semolina comes from the middle or the wheat nuts, of wheat. Each little nut is opened and the meat part of the nut is the durum wheat or semolina. It is used in pasta and couscous.

It is also a great bread to slice and toast.

If you have ever failed at making bread, this is a recipe to try. It is foolproof with a little work.

This recipe makes 4 loaves of bread. You can easily cut the recipe in half to make only 2. However if you make this for more than 3 people, you will want to make the full recipe. Plus it is so good give a loaf or two away to your favorite family or friends in need. They will be ever grateful!

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3 cups semolina

5 cups bread flour

2 TBS yeast

2 TBS salt

3 cups warm water

2 TBS honey

½ cup olive oil

Sesame seeds (optional)

1 egg white and 2 TBS water

Ice cubes



In a stand mixer with the dough hook attached, add flours, salt, yeast and mix well. Add honey into water, mix well and add to flour mixture.

Add olive oil and with dough hook on mixer, mix for 10 minutes until you have a smooth dough that doesn’t stick to edges of bowl.

Add 2 TBS olive oil to a large bowl and grease bowl.

Remove dough, it will be sticky, from mixer bowl and add to olive oiled bowl. Turn dough to coat with olive oil well and place in middle bottom of bowl. Cover and place in warm area to rise for two hours.

Remove dough from bowl and divide into 4 pieces. Roll with hands into a 24 inch rope.

With the rope of dough, shape it into a lower case cursive m shape with 3 humps and the last 4 inches roll smaller and thinner and wrap this tail across M and tuck under. Place on baking sheets with semolina flour on bottom so it doesn’t stick, and allow to rise 1 ½ hours. I use my silicone Silpat baking liners too so they brown evenly and they don’t stick.

Preheat oven to 400. Do not add bread to oven until it reaches 400 degrees.      

After dough has risen, brush generously with egg white water and sprinkle sesame seeds generously. Place in oven.

If you have an oven proof small cast iron pan, fill it with large ice cubes and place on bottom rack of oven under bread. If you don’t have a cast iron pan, a sturdy small baking dish will do…this gives off steam to make the outer layer of the bread crusty.

Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until deep golden brown. Not burnt but medium dark brown. You want the middle of the bread cooked.

Transfer bread to rack and cool at least 10 minutes before cutting