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Feb 14, 2024

Durum Wheat Sesame Bread

This durum wheat sesame bread includes a gorgeous golden crumb with a crunchy seeded crust. 

Durum Wheat Sesame Bread slices in a basket.

This bread is made with a combination of one-third bread flour and two-thirds durum flour. It's fabulous for breakfast toast, sandwich bread, or for dipping into your favorite sauce. 

What is Durum Wheat? 

Durum wheat is high in protein, higher than standard wheat flour, but even with the higher protein, it behaves differently. It doesn't develop the same elasticity as strong wheat flour. It can be pretty delicate and it absorbs a lot more water than winter wheat. 

For example, this loaf is 66% hydration, however, the crumb is fairly tight. 

What is Durum Flour? 

There are two kinds of flour ground from durum wheat, durum flour and semolina flour. I can usually find semolina in the grocery store, but I typically have to order durum from King Arthur or find it in an Indian grocery store. 

Typically, durum wheat is more coarsely ground than Semolina flour, which is used to make pasta and couscous.  It's sometimes included in pizza and focaccia dough. I also often use semolina instead of coarse corn meal to sprinkle on pizza peels and under English muffins to help transfer dough to the oven. 

Durum flour is durum wheat that has been finely ground. This is helpful with bread because the flour does not cut into the gluten of your dough. If you're a bread geek like I am and you have a flour mill, you could also grind some coarse semolina to a finer texture. 

With bread dough, depending on the percentage of durum you use, you will not get quite the open crumb that you would with standard hard wheat flour. In addition, sometimes the crust will crack and flake. You also have to pay a lot of attention to timing and not let the dough overproof. 

That said, the flavor and color that durum wheat adds to bread is fantastic. Plus, the flour, due to its yellow color, is higher in Vitamin A. 

My recommendation is to combine it with hard wheat flour to balance the dough strength and the flavor of the durum. 

Durum Wheat Sesame Bread on a cooling rack.


This loaf includes bread flour, durum flour, instant yeast, and salt. It also includes a sesame seed coating. 

I used a mixture of white and black sesame seeds to coat the bread. You can use the seeds to line your banneton or couche while shaping the dough. You can also skip the seeds if you like. 


First, create a poolish of bread flour, water, and instant yeast. Cover it and let it rise for about 14 to 16 hours at room temperature. 

Next, combine the poolish with more bread flour, durum flour, and water and mix by hand or mixer for a few minutes and then let everything rest for about 30 minutes. 

After that, add the yeast and salt and mix everything for a few minutes until you have a cohesive dough and then let the dough rise for 2 hours, folding it at the one hour mark. 

Shape the dough into a boule or batard and coat it with the sesame seeds. Let rest for 20 minutes. Then, do a final shaping and let the shaped dough rise for 60 to 90 minutes. 

Finally, score the dough, place the loaf into a Dutch oven, and bake the loaf in a 450 degree F oven. 

Be sure to read How to Transfer a Loaf to a Hot Dutch Oven

Recipe Variations: 

I experimented by starting with a cold oven using a granite ware style pan and it worked beautifully, but you can also place the shaped loaf into a preheated Dutch oven and bake. 

I actually halved the recipe and made just one loaf, so know that is possible. 

Durum Wheat Sesame Bread on a cooling rack.

More durum flour recipes to try:

If you want to learn more about working with durum or semolina flour..... 

Italian Style Durum Wheat Bread

No Knead Durum Stirato (with a super nice open crumb)

Durum Bread

Fennel and Golden Raisin Bread

Pane de Altimura

Beekeepers Pain de Mie

Semolina Rounds with Black Sesame Seeds

Semolina Sourdough Bread

For more durum and semolina recipes, be sure to use the search box. 

Cooking Through the Alphabet:

My project for this year, along with my favorite food bloggers, is to make a dish starting with every letter of the alphabet. So far, my recipes include.. 

A... Apple Buns

B... Bagel Chips

C... Cheesy Burger Buns

D... Durum Wheat Sesame Bread (this recipe)

This is a great project to start with friends, even if it's just monthly. You don't need to have a blog. Just challenge your besties to bring a dish starting with a specific letter to a potluck! 

You can use our link lists for ideas. It's a great excuse for a get-together or a bunko night! 

Be sure to check out my favorite bloggers' recipes starting with "D" 

Durum Wheat Sesame Bread sliced in a basket.

Durum Wheat Sesame Bread

Durum Wheat Sesame Bread
Yield: 32 slices
Author: Karen's Kitchen Stories
Prep time: 1 HourCook time: 40 MinInactive time: 16 HourTotal time: 17 H & 40 M
This durum wheat sesame bread produces a gorgeous golden crumb with a crunchy seeded crust.


For the Preferment
  • 113 grams (1 cup) bread flour
  • 113 grams (1/2 cup) water
  • .1 gram (pinch) instant yeast
For the Final Dough
  • 340 grams (1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon) water
  • All of the poolish
  • 454 grams (3 1/2 cups) durum or semolina flour
  • 120 grams (1 cup) bread flour
  • 2.7 grams (3/4 teaspoon) instant yeast
  • 14 grams (1 tablespoon) salt
  • 142 grams (1 cup) sesame seeds. I used 3/4 white and 1/4 black sesame seeds


  1. Mix all of the poolish ingredients by hand in a bowl until just combined. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rest for 14 to 16 hours.
  2. Add the water from the final dough recipe to the poolish and add the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl. Add the flours. Mix by hand or the mixer's dough hook until you have a shaggy but cohesive dough. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes.
  3. Add the yeast and salt from the final dough formula to the dough and mix on low speed for 3 minutes and then mix on medium for two minutes. Alternatively, knead by hand for about 8 minutes.
  4. Let the dough rise for two hours, folding the dough at one hour.
  5. When the dough is ready, divide it in half and form each half into a round loaf on a floured work surface. Cover each with oiled plastic wrap and let rest for 20 minutes.
  6. Do a final shaping of each loaf into a bâtard (oval loaf), spray each with water, and cover with the sesame seeds. Place them seam side up into a banneton or in a fabric couche to maintain the loaves shapes.
  7. Place two combo cookers or cast iron Dutch ovens in the oven and heat to 450 degrees F.
  8. Turn the dough out onto parchment paper, seam side down, score with a lame, and place each into a preheated Dutch oven with the parchment on the bottom. Cover and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the lids and continue to bake the loaves for an additional 20 minutes. If you are concerned about the loaves burning on the bottom, move them (using the parchment paper to lift them) to a baking sheet instead of leaving them in the Dutch ovens when removing the lids to continue baking.
  9. If you only have one Dutch oven, bake the loaves one at a time. You can rest one in the fridge while the first one is baking.
  10. Cool the loaves completely on a wire rack before slicing.

Nutrition Facts



Fat (grams)

3 g

Sat. Fat (grams)

0 g

Carbs (grams)

18 g

Fiber (grams)

2 g

Net carbs

16 g

Sugar (grams)

0 g

Protein (grams)

4 g

Cholesterol (grams)

0 mg
durum, semolina
Did you make this recipe?
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Recipe adapted from From the Wood-Fired Oven: New and Traditional Techniques for Cooking and Baking with Fire by Richard Miscovich (2013). 

The book is focused on building your own wood-fired oven and cooking with fire. Thankfully, he also teaches how to simulate a wood-fired oven in your kitchen with a Dutch oven/combo cooker

See the book to learn how to bake this bread in a wood-fired oven. 

Would you like to comment?

  1. Your breads always turn out so lovely. Bakery store window quality.

  2. I was pondering this morning over how much bread you have in your household on an average day. Now, I'm wondering what your flour shelf looks like in your pantry. How many different varieties??? Totally worth the storage space for bread like this!!!

    1. I don't have too much bread because we can give it away, but my ingredient hoarding is a problem. I actually have a freezer to keep these flours in!

  3. Wow, Karen another superb bake from you. Wish I was your neighbour :) Love breads with durum wheat flour as I find the flavour and texture different.

    1. Thanks Mayori. I completely agree about durum wheat.

  4. That is one gorgeous loaf. I really love your posts because I learn so much!

  5. I want to be your neighbor to receive extra bread! This loaf is picture perfect. I agree with Jolene, I learn so much from your bread posts.

  6. Making a bread from durum wheat flour is on my to do list, looking at this fantastic bread must try this bread soon.

  7. Another gorgeous loaf, Karen! That crust looks fabulous, in color and texture.

  8. another one goes for my files to "bake soon"!

  9. Lovely bake! The color, texture, everything is amazing about this bread.


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