Italian Semolina Bread with Sourdough

Italian Semolina Bread on Biancolievito
Here a loaf of crunchy bread with a soft crumb and an intense yellow color. This bread, prepared with semolina and sourdough, is highly digestible and perfect with cold cuts and cheeses.
In this recipe, I'll show you 2 way to make this bread: Using Sourdough or the Levain
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Preparation: 30 minutes
Cooking: 1 hour
Rise: 13 hours 20 minutes
Total Time: 14 hours 50 minutes
Servings: 2 Loaves of 900gr


  • Stand Mixer
  • Cooking Thermometer
  • Baker's Couche 
  • Proofing Baskets
  • Bread Lame


For the Biga

  • 500 gr Semolina Flour for Bread
  • 250 gr Water refer to the notes for the right temperature
  • 125 gr Ripe Sourdough refreshed twice

For the Dough made with Biga

  • 500 gr Semolina Flour for Bread
  • 400 gr Water at 16°C (60°F)
  • 875 gr Fermented Biga
  • 18 gr Salt
  • 5 gr Malt Powder (optional)

For the Dough made with Levain


For the Biga

  • Before starting with the preparation of the biga, refresh the Sourdough two times (ere how to Feed the Sourdough), letting it ferment each time for 3 hours at 30°C (86°F).
  • For the preparation of the Biga, mix Yeast, Semolina, and Water in the stand mixer bowl and knead with the hook for the time necessary to form a rough dough. It is not necessary to over-work the Biga, to avoid overheating the dough that should be at a temperature of 19°C - 20°C (66°F - 68°F).
  • Once the dough is ready, form it into a ball, soak it in a bowl of cold tap water (about 18°C, 64°F), and ferment at room temperature (about 20°C, 68°F) for 12 hours.

For the Dough made with Biga

  • For the dough, I suggest you proceed with the autolysis technique: Pour the Semolina and 90% of the water (1755gr) in the mixer. Knead the dough for the time necessary to absorb all the water. Once ready, cover with a cloth and let the dough rest for 30 minutes. During this process, the flour's proteins will properly hydrate themselves, forming a dough with a better glutinous mesh.
  • After 30 minutes of rest, add the biga, the salt dissolved in 10% of the remaining water, and the malt.
    Knead the dough at medium speed for about 15-20minutes, making sure the temperature does not exceed 26°C (79°F). If this happens, chill the dough in the freezer for a few minutes.
  • Once the dough is ready, let it ferment for 1 hour before dividing it into the desired portions.
  • Cut portions of at least 1kg, roll them up, forming a loaf and let them proof 20minutes on the work surface.
  • Take the loaves, roll them tidily and place them facing up into the proofing baskets.
    If you don't have the proofing basket, you can use large bowls lined with a clean cloth and dust with semolina.
    Moreover, you can form the loaves and let them proof directly on the work surface, covered with a baker's couche.
  • Let proof at 26-28°C (78°F - 82°F) for 4 hours. Place the loaves on the baking tray (better if perforated), score the surface with a bread lame, and lightly spray some water on the surface to facilitate the baking expansion.
  • Bake at 230°C (446°F) with some steam (use a pot with boiling water in the bottom of the oven). After 10 minutes, lower the temperature to 200°C (392°F). After 50minutes, slightly open the oven door and finish cooking.
  • Take out of the oven and allow to cool on a wooden surface.

For the Dough made with Levain

  • Replace the Biga with the ripe Levain (feed as indicated) and follow the same directions


The temperature of the water for the Biga is fundamental to obtain a dough of the right temperature. You can calculate the water temperature by using the following empirical formula:
Water Temp= 55 - Room Temp - Flour Temp
example: Room Temp 20°C, Flour Temp 19°C -> Water Temp = 55-20-19=16°C
!! The formula only works with °C !!

Nutrition Label

Serving: 50gr | Calories: 4kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 4mg | Potassium: 3mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Calcium: 1mg | Iron: 1mg

Translated from Italian with Love

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