Mom’s Italian bread

Make extra or the first loaf will be gone before dinner

Finally a bread recipe I did not get from the Bread Bible. This is my mother’s italian loaf and it has to be done by hand.

Semolina has a denser texture than other flours. Most health food stores and places like Whole Foods stock it in the bulk section. This bread is hearty and rich. It’s not a quick endeavor, allow for plenty of time to rise.


  • 1 1/3 cup semolina flour
  • 1/4 tsp yeast
  • 1 1/2 cup warm water

Scoop flour into a bowl. Combine water and yeast and let sit for five minutes to activate the yeast. Add water to flour and mix until smooth. The batter will be thick.


  • 2 cups semolina flour
  • 4 tbsp white flour
  • 3/4 tsp yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt

Mix half cup flour, yeast and salt. Sprinkle over sponge until covered. Let rise for four hours or one hour and then overnight in the refrigerator. Add 1/2 cup flour and knead three to four minutes. The consistency should be somewhat soupy but still a dough. If necessary, add more flour, using white flour first. Begin to knead dough adding 1/2 cup of flour at a time. Do not add too much flour as the kneading process will cause the dough to stiffen as well. Knead until smooth, about five minutes. Let rise for two hours in a bowl. Deflate and shape into one large or two small loaves. Put on greased pan and let rise for an hour. Place a pizza stone on the second lowest shelf in the oven. Preheat toΒ  425 Fahrenheit. When dough is ready place pan on top of stone. Place a pan with six to eight ice cubes on the rack under the bread. After 10 minutes reduce the temperature to 400. Cook until golden brown, about 35 minutes. At 20 minutes remove dough from pan and rotate on to stone directly.

About Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide

This blog attempts to collect some of the things I try to create with food and booze. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fail. My hope is to entertain and maybe help people think a little harder about what they decide to eat and drink.
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50 Responses to Mom’s Italian bread

  1. Tanvi says:

    Semolina is such a popular flour in indian desserts and snack items.Love the bread you made with it..I have to try it…mainly because it looks much much easier than normal bread recipes.

  2. JamieAnne says:

    Looks wonderful!

  3. ChefMom says:

    Anything with “mom” and “italian” in the recipe – it HAS to be good. πŸ˜‰ I’ve never heard of putting ice cubes under the stone. Does this add some moisture for the stone? This bread sounds like it’s worth the time it takes and it would be great to soak up some olive oil and parm, or a good red sauce. Yum!

  4. It looks like a crispy crust and soft and moist crumb – yum! With the love and time involved with this bread, it has to be outstanding.
    πŸ™‚ Mandy

  5. nothing like the aroma of freshly baked bread to make me hungry…

  6. I just love homemade bread..I have to try this! it looks like it is worth every minute it takes to make it!

  7. How funny – it was a dull old day here yesterday and I made bread! Not this recipe though, which looks wonderful, a little like a Ciabatta. Will definitely give it a go (although I do often tend to let my bread maker do the kneading for me). I also tend to put a tin of boiling water at the bottom of the oven to increase the moisture, so love the idea of the ice cubes, just as effective and much easier.
    Another wonderful bread book is Bread by Daniel Stevens – he works with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and had a fantastic section on Sourdough bread – which IΒ΄m determined to eventually tackle one day. Once I get organised and sort out my starter….

  8. Charles says:

    Semolina flour makes incredible bread – easier on the stomach too as it’s not so dense once baked up. Recipe looks yummy, cheers!

  9. ooh… I can just imagine this loaf- warm from the overn.. butter melting and dripping all over it…:o). I have never used semolina before. I have a huge Whole Foods nearby.. I’ll go pick some up on the weekend… ;o)

  10. rsmacaalay says:

    I never had used semolina for bread yet it is always the normal flour. You bread looks so perfectly baked.

  11. SimpleP says:

    That looks so good! Pass the real butter please? I’ll bet its also fantastic grilled up with fresh bruschetta. Oh my, it’s not even 7am and I’m craving bruschetta!

  12. Pat says:

    You made a beautiful picture! I love to bake so I must try this!

  13. Carolyn Chan says:

    My goodness that sounds and looks amazing ! I have not had much success with bread (think my oven doesn’t get hot enough) but I’ve just had the seal replaced so I might give this a go. It sounds so interesting with the semolina!

  14. Joanne says:

    I grew up on semolina bread from a local Italian bakery…delicious. I think it’s about time I learn to make it myself! Looks like it turned out perfectly!

  15. Linda says:

    I think I could smell it baking as soon as I looked at your photo! I’ve never made a semolina bread before; seems a bit time consuming but certainly well worth it!

  16. What kind of kneading method are you using for this loaf? My brother makes bread frequently and prescribes to the French method (or the “French flip”), and when I made my savory breakfast buns I apparently used the British method (so he told me – flouring the surface before kneading). What kind of method is this where you actively add large amounts of flour as you knead? It’s interesting!

    • I have no idea what the technical term is, but I do it so I don’t add too much or too little flour and that’s very much by feel hence adding it a bit at a time. It’s just a technique I saw my mom use and I’ve had to do to make my own adjustments in the kitchen.

  17. eva626 says:

    such a simple recipe… i will try it…without mistakes hehe

  18. Carol Murphy says:

    Hey Greg I am your uncle Charlies sister and i just wanted to tell you that I am loving your blog! Luanne sent me the link a few weeks ago keep up the great work.

  19. This looks like a great bread recipe, but what happens if I don’t have a pizza stone? Will using a baking sheet with parchment work?

    • Yes, I don’t think my grandma had a pizza stone!

    • I was thinking last night and I think nana actually put bricks in the oven! Pizza stones are cheap.:)

    • KBLKABL says:

      I have a cast iron dutch oven w-lid that I use for my rustic loaf. When I want to bake pizza or other breads which require a pizza stone, I flip the lid over & use the flat surface. It works great for this purpose! I just slide the pizza or other bread onto the preheated stone using parchment paper between the two. I am not sure if it is big enough for this bread, but am going to give it a try, hopefully soon! Just need the Semolina flour!

  20. Xiaolu says:

    MMm a good Italian bread is no joke. We once went out and the fresh bread was so amazing that we were all stuffed by the time the entrees came. This looks fantastic!

  21. You know I am not a bread eater but my mother is all over this recipe. Seriously, she wants to make this for sunday dinner and is excited too LOL. Very nice as always guys πŸ™‚

  22. Caroline says:

    Homemade bread is so fantastic–fresh, delicious and no preservatives! This looks fantastic, Rufus. πŸ™‚

  23. niasunset says:

    Hi Rufus, usually I make my own bread, but in bread machine! This recipe seems so delicious, and I haven’t known this semolina flour, we have semolina but not flour! I should search for this, but I want to try this recipe. I hope I can do as yours, seems so beautiful in the photographs. Thank you, Blessing and Happiness, nia

  24. randommanda says:

    My husband bakes the bread in the family, so I’ll be sure to forward this recipe to him. It sounds/looks delicious and I can’t wait to try it!

  25. Serena says:

    I love using semolina, and I have a big bag of it waiting to be used. This recipe is so simple and seems like the perfect bread to use for my semolina!

  26. I love that this bread has to be made by hand. It looks perfect!

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  28. Yuri says:

    Nothing beats homemade bread! I have some semolina here so I might try it this weekend. Love recipes with history, you have inspired me to make and post one of my mom’s recipes too πŸ™‚

  29. P. Graham says:

    Amazing! I was looking for a pretty good bread recipe. Thanks for sharing! πŸ˜€

  30. This is just the kind of recipe that I have been looking for for ages! I have been making Pizza for my daughter for about a year now, and at first I hated it, because I had absolute no talent with making the dough, but now I love it and I can only recommend not to give up too early when using yeast and flour. Practice will make you perfect. I now feel confident enough to try your recipe πŸ™‚

  31. Bethea says:

    Why must you always tempt me with delicious bread?

  32. Jessica says:

    Wow, this is a new-to-me way of making bread! Very intriguing, and I’ve wanted to try using semolina sometime. Nothing beats fresh, homemade bread!

  33. ChgoJohn says:

    I love baking bread and have a couple sourdoughs “sleeping” in the fridge. I’ve never used semolina, though, in my bread dough and, judging by your comments, I think it’s time that I did.

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  35. Laura says:

    This looks really great! I’m Italian and I love good homemade bread, but have never tried myself. Thanks for sharing and checking out my blog too!

    • I suspected you might be seeing the paparadelle in the soup, not that only Italians like pasta! As you might be able to guess, I’m third-generation Italian American. My grandma came over from Sicily when she was 20.

  36. shil says:

    Looks absolutely yum !

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