This recipe is adapted from Artisan Baking by Maggie Glezer. I have made some tweaks to this recipe that make it work better for me, but I would definitely recommend Maggie’s book. It is filled with beautiful pictures, great stories and amazing recipes. This dough is really sticky, and I mean really sticky. It almost looks like batter instead of bread dough. The trick is to use a stand mixer and a long autolyze period. You will know you are finished kneading when the dough clings to the dough hook as it rotates around the bowl, but be warned that as soon as the mixer stops running the dough will stop holding its shape and droop back down into the bowl. If you can make it through the kneading process you will be rewarded with a bread that is golden and nutty from the Durum flour and filled with large irregular holes, perfect for filling with butter or soft cheeses.
- 1/8 tsp. instant yeast
- 150 grams (5.2 oz, a little over 1 cup) unbleached bread flour
- 170 grams (6 oz, 3/4 cup) water
Combine all of the ingredients together in a small bowl and mix until slightly smooth (it will be a thick pancake batter consistency). Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow it to ferment overnight for about 8-12 hours. Its surface will be bubbly and deeply wrinkled.
Final Dough Ingredients:
- 250 grams (8.8 oz, 1 2/3 cups) Durum flour (fine grind semolina)
- 50 grams (1.8 oz, 1/3 cup) unbleached all purpose flour
- 205 grams (7.25 oz, 3/4 cup plus 2 TB) water
- 1/2 tsp. instant yeast
- All of fermented poolish
- 9 grams (1 1/2 tsp.) salt
- Sesame seeds (about 1/2 a cup)
- Combine the flours and instant yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the water to the poolish and stir to break it up. Then add the poolish and water mixture to the flours. Stir to combine and allow to rest covered with plastic wrap for 30 minutes. This autolyze period will make the dough easier to knead later.
- Add the salt to the dough and begin kneading on speed 2 for 3-4 minutes. Scrape down the dough hook and bowl and begin kneading again, this time on speed 4 for another 3-4 minutes. You are looking for the dough to clear the sides of the bowl and to cling to the dough hook as it rotates. It will also have a smooth and shiny appearance as it rotates, but be warned as soon as you turn the mixer off it will look more like batter again. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to ferment at room temperature for about 2 hours. During the first hour you should turn the dough every 20 minutes with a business letter turn. This will strength the dough gently making it stronger and less sticky. (Business letter fold – remove the dough from the bowl onto a lightly floured work surface, gently stretch the dough and fold it in thirds, rotate 180 degrees and stretch and fold in thirds again)
- Turn your dough out onto a very lightly floured counter and shape into a rough ball. Cover with oiled plastic wrap and let rest for 10-20 minutes before the final shaping. While the dough is resting spread out your sesame seeds onto a sheet pan. Make a trough in a couche or a piece of oiled parchment for your dough to proof in.
- Gently press your dough ball into a rough rectangle. With the short side facing you, fold the top third of the dough down towards you to the middle, press the edge to seal. Then fold the bottom third up to the middle and seal the edge. Fold the dough in half and seal the bottom edge with the edge of your hand. Gently roll the loaf back and forth to slightly elongate it and smooth it out. Taper the ends slightly.
- Roll the loaf around in the sesame seeds and place in the prepared couche or parchment. Cover with oiled plastic wrap and allow to rise for 45-60 minutes until it is puffy and springs back slowly when gently pressed with a finger.
- Place a baking stone in the upper middle rack of your oven and a cast iron skillet on the bottom rack. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
- Transfer the loaf to a piece of parchment (if it isn’t already on one). Make a single shallow cut down the length of the bread with a lame or a single-edged razor. Slide the piece of parchment directly onto the hot baking stone and quickly add 1/2 cup of water to the cast iron skillet. Bake the bread until the edge of the cut is very dark brown and the entire loaf is golden brown, 35-45 minutes. Rotate the bread halfway through the baking process. Let the bread cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.