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Mar 22, 2013

Semolina Torpedo Bread | Pane di Altamura

Semolina Torpedo Bread Pane di Altamura

I love the nutty flavor of semolina, but working with the flour has its challenges. Bread made with 100% semolina does not develop a thick crispy crust like bread made from high protein all purpose or bread flour. In fact, the crust tends to crack. Regardless, it has a beautiful color and a sweet nutty flavor.

I have made a few breads (click here and here for two of my favorites) with a combination of semolina and bread flour. This is the first time I've made a bread recipe that uses entirely durum flour.

This bread is made from the same flour from which pasta is made, but the flour is more finely milled. If you attempt to make it with the coarsely ground semolina available in the grocery store, substitute half of the durum with all purpose or bread flour.

This small loaf is hand kneaded. It involves a starter that is allowed to sit with the rest of the flour sitting on top of it for about 4 hours.
Semolina Torpedo Bread Pane di Altamura

The loaf is small... about 3/4 of a pound.  I found the dough fairly easy to work with and shape. I baked mine in a clay baker, but having one is not necessary. Instead, bake the bread directly on a pizza stone and add steam to your oven.

This is a good video describing the various methods of creating a steam oven. I use a variation of the methods, except I do not use lava rock... any porous rock will do... long story... something to do with a trip to Hawaii and angering the volcano goddess Pele. =)

Golden Semolina Torpedo

Adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum's The Bread Bible



100 g durum flour
1/8 tsp instant yeast
3/4 C room temperature water

Flour mixture

117 g durum flour (or half durum, half all purpose flour)
3/8 tsp instant yeast
3/4 plus 1/8 tsp salt

Reserve Flour

38 g durum flour
Bread flour for the kneading surface


  1. Mix the sponge ingredients in a medium bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let the bowl sit overnight (about 10 hours).
  2. Whisk the flour mixture together and sprinkle it over the sponge to completely cover it. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow it to sit for 1 to 4 hours. 
  3. Mix the flour into the sponge with a spoon, and then your hands in the bowl. 
  4. Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand for about five minutes, adding additional durum from the reserved 38 grams as needed. The dough should be slightly sticky. 
  5. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rest for 20 minutes. 
  6. Knead the dough for five minutes more by hand. The dough should be very smooth. You can continue to add flour in small increments if the dough is too sticky. You should be able to shape the final dough into a ball. 
  7. Place the dough into an oiled dough rising bucket or bowl, and allow it to rise until doubled, about 90 minutes to 2 hours. 
  8. Shape the dough into a torpedo. Check out this video on how to do it (my loaf is not quite as pointy as it should be). If you are using a clay baker, place the loaf in the bottom half. If not, place the loaf on a piece of parchment paper. Cover with oiled plastic wrap. 
  9. Allow the loaf to rise for about 60 to 75 minutes, until almost doubled. 
  10. At the same time, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F with a baking stone and the top of the clay baker (if using) in the oven. 
  11. Slash the bread and transfer it to the baking stone, and either cover it with the clay baker or steam the oven as illustrated by the video. 
  12. Bake for 15 minutes and then remove the top of the clay baker if using. 
  13. Lower the temperature of the oven to 400 degrees F. 
  14. Bake for 15 to 25 minutes. The bread should be golden brown and the interior should reach 200 degrees F. 
  15. Allow the bread to cool on a rack before cutting. 

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Would you like to comment?

  1. What a beautiful looking loaf! I really should bake bread more often; this looks so delicious.

  2. I also love semolina's flavour. Lovely looking bread. Once the weather cools down in my corner of the world, I hope to bake more bread.

  3. In recent years I really became fond of semolina in baked goods. This loaf looks gorgeous. Just stunning.

    1. Thanks Shulie. Yes, semolina adds such a distinct flavor. I've always got durum and semolina in the house. Totally love it.

  4. Couldn't you clarify, please - how much cc (or grams, or oz - anything) in your water cup? You know, this "measure unit" is so-o-o-o flexible from country to country... Thank a lot!


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