Semolina Bun Bread with Wild Garlic and Sundried Tomatoes


23rd April 2013

The Dan Lepard fan club knows that in his repertoire of awesome buns are some absolute treasures to which one returns time and time again. My favourite three are the legendary soft white bap, the top teacake and our eternal favourite, the BBQ semolina bun. Known in this house variously as the duvet bread or the pillow bread because of the scoring to the top, I make this bread over and over again. The recipe for the Semolina BBQ buns is still available on the Guardian website and I don’t change anything at all when I make it.

Today I made a double batch and made a duvet with one portion. With the second batch of dough I thought I would try something a bit different for me. When the dough had finished its first prove, I patted and gently rolled it out into a largish rectangle and spread it lightly with some wild garlic, grated pecorino cheese, ground almonds and olive oil made into a pesto-like sauce and a few sundried tomatoes. I rolled it up gently into a sausage shape and curved it into a ring. I set it on a sheet of baking parchment on a tray and put it inside a clean bin bag to prove. Before baking, I slashed small slashes in the top and brushed it with water and sprinkled fine semolina over it.

I baked it at 240º C (220º C Fan) for 15 minutes and then reduced the temperature to 200º C (180º C Fan) for another 15 minutes and then took it out of the oven and left it to cool and stop sizzling on a rack. The bottom was very crusty. If you don’t like crusty then bake it a bit cooler.

The trick with doing this is not to squash all the air out of the dough when patting it out to the rectangle, use the flat of your fingers to start the process off. When you use the pin, roll as gently as you can from the centre of the dough towards the corners to get a rectangular shape, and take your time. If the dough is pinging back a lot, walk away for five minutes and let it relax before you try again; try not to compress the dough too much, you are sort of stretching and fluffing it, rather than rolling and squashing. I am thinking about the way I pat out pizza dough rather than use a pin, though that is of course a different dough and more delicate than this.


My dearest old neighbour from where I used to live came round for lunch and we ate in the garden, yes really it was warm enough to eat outside!! We were accompanied by the sound of building work from two doors down, visits from some very large bumble bees, and the grumbles of small poodles, but you know what, it was glorious!


Brian had bought an entire box of aubergines for the sum of £2.75 at the weekend and even though he gave two-thirds of them away we still had lots left to cook, so it was more swooning and more olive oil and more Imam Bayildi for lunch today. I changed the spices slightly this time and left the onions chunkier, using allspice and a very new hot smoked paprika. We are still swooning… and I promise not to mention it again, but it is really very good indeed.

40 thoughts on “Semolina Bun Bread with Wild Garlic and Sundried Tomatoes

  1. Jeannette

    What gorgeous looking bread! And a lovely lunch too, by the looks of it, your old neighbour must have felt very privileged to have joined you.

    1. Joanna Post author

      I was very pleased that it worked, last time I tried rolling out a dough and putting a filling in I rolled it out too firmly and it just never really recovered and it wasn’t very nice, so I was being brave trying again – I feel really relaxed having sat out in the breezy sunshine for a couple of hours, Vitamin D boost and all. Hope you are well Jeannette !

    1. Joanna Post author

      Thank you for all the links to your lovely blog Karin. I am always very careful regarding links in comments as I have to check them to make sure they work and tidy them up so they make a neat looking comment for other people to read. I don’t share your passion for the ale breads, but I am not much of a beer drinker so maybe that is why :)

  2. themondaybaker

    These look delicious! I’ve tried a few of Dan’s recipes but not this one so I’ll be adding it to my “baking bucket list” (an ever increasing list I fear). I’ve only just started baking bread seriously in the last 6 months or so and your blog definitely inspires me to keep improving. PS The bread basket looks lovely as well…

    1. Joanna Post author

      I hope you give it a try, though I know what you mean about the to do list :) Your bread on your blog looks great! The bread basket I bought a long time ago and thought I could use it as a banneton, I think I tried but it wasn’t brilliant as it has straight sides but it is good to improvise.

    1. Joanna Post author

      I was very pleased with this as I don’t like adding the leaves directly into the dough. Try this one if you have time, it is such a great dough :)

  3. heidiannie

    This reminds me of a pesto bread I make. I like the garlicky green flavor and look swirled into the bread. And lunch in the garden sounds like such a treat- sunshine and mild breeze and sundry outdoor sounds and all!
    Thanks for sharing Joanna- I enjoyed it vicariously!

    1. Joanna Post author

      Thanks Heidi, it’s not particularly original but it has all been scoffed now. I had the fillings in the fridge and a big bag of garlic from my walk, so this was my seasonal loaf. Back in three layers of clothes today and grey skies though!

    1. Joanna Post author

      I have a big Simply Human bin and it has very smart white liners which I can fit a couple of big trays in comfortsbly. Otherwise I use upturned plastic storage boxes from the ‘pound’ shop.The eggplant is just lovely, though you do consume loads of olive oil !

    1. Joanna Post author

      Thanks Cecilia, it was a bit of fun and dough handling practice for me. I am very lazy at the moment.

    1. Joanna Post author

      It would make a good take for lunch or gift bread too, like your gorgeous looking lardy cakes :)

  4. cityhippyfarmgirl

    I hated eggplant with a passion as a kid, but it seems as an adult I’m making up for lost time. I can’t get enough it. I would probably have sat in a sunny corner of your garden and asked for eggplant and bread scraps like a starving poodle Joanna. (Although I’m pretty sure your poodle loves never go hungry.)

    1. Joanna Post author

      We didn’t have aubergines at all as far as I can remember and olive oil was something you bought at the chemist to put in your ears. Times have changed. There is lots in the fridge still for you, the poodles are big bread fans but I have never offered them aubergines so you wouldn’t have to share xx

  5. Ann

    I’m a member of the Dan fan club too and love the soft baps but have not got round to making these buns yet. I am having people to lunch on Sunday so it looks like a good time to try them.

    1. Joanna Post author

      i hope you give it a spin Ann, just watch out for the liquid quantities aa for some reason they are given in the instructions not in the list of ingredients. I always write this one out again.

  6. Melanie

    What a beautiful loaf you created there! I’ve had that bun recipe on my to-do list forever now. Thank you for reminding me of it. I stocked my freezer w/ hot dog buns last week, now its time to make buns for grilled types of burgers. I just love the swirl in your bread and that greenish tinge w/ the pieces of tomato in it is pretty. It does look like you had a wonderful afternoon for sitting on the patio. We are loving all the bird chattery we can hear from our back patio right now. Spring is my favorite season, when you can sit out in the sun and it is still cool enough, that you don’t sweat. Sorry about your work noises. Hopefully they will finish what they are doing soon, so they’re noise won’t detract from your beautiful spring sounds:) What’s your favorite bird to listen to in the spring?

    1. Joanna Post author

      I have never made hotdog buns, do you have a good recipe for them? I love the blackbird and the robin who sing most of the day, I can hear a blackbird right now. We have had visits from goldfinches, blackcap and siskins as well, mostly on migration as they eat a little and move on through. You sound like you are getting well stocked up for outdoor eating!

      1. Melanie

        This was only my 2nd time making hotdog buns, This time I tried the Beautiful Burger Bun recipe over at the KAF site. I made 8 dog buns from that recipe and used ~ 2 1/2 oz of dough per bun. (so I did end up throwing some dough away) Some advice I saw online said to buy a cheap round cookie cutter and then stretch it into an oblong shape. I didn’t have a cutter that I was willing to wreck doing that, so I used my bench knife to cut out rectangles from my larger dough piece. I then just rolled it a bit on my mat to make it rounded on the sides and then covered them all for a final rise. They turned out much better shapen than my previous attempt at dog buns.
        We are anxiously awaiting the return of our Ruby Throated Hummingbirds. They winter in Mexico and then fly back up here to spend the spring, summer, and early fall with us. They are sooo fund to watch!

        1. Joanna Post author

          I hope your Humingbirds make it back, I have only seen them once – in Canada – we don’t get them here at all. I will check out the recipe thanks Mel xx

  7. timethief

    Dear Joanna,
    These pictures made me drool. I nudged hubby who is the primary cook and baker and he was attentive so I’m hopeful that Semolina Bun Bread with Wild Garlic and Sundried Tomatoes will be in my future.

    1. Joanna Post author

      Dear Timethief – thank you for joining me in a sunny moment in the timestream. Let me pass you a napkin and offer you a chair in the illusory world where it is always lunch in the garden. I was just reading your lovely blogging yoga post late last night and it certainly made me think! all best wishes, Joanna

  8. Jan

    That looks like the kind of alfresco lunch that will stay in your mind as a lovely memory. Such lovely looking bread Joanna and I imagine it was a good flavour friend with the Imam. I recently googled the song of a nightingale because I’ve never heard one and found a treasure trove of birdsong as well as my favourite, the blackbird – it reduced me to tears. Just as well I love a good cry:)

    1. Joanna Post author

      Given that the temperature has dropped right away again and the soft grey of April has returned, it has already become a memory, only my hint of a tint of sunburn remains and a faint whiff of garlic ! Wish I could send you a blackbird to sing from your roof to you as the sun goes down xx

  9. underthebluegumtree

    This loaf looks absolute perfection Joanna. If it’s anything like the soft white bap recipe (of which I am a big fan too), then I really must try baking this bread.

  10. sallybr

    Great take on that bread, I’ve made it only once and loved the softness and taste – Lepard is a genius!
    and you are a goddess, a baking goddess…

    now please pass me those aubergines (two should do it), and a few slices of bread… thank you! ;-)

  11. drfugawe

    I’m happy for you, my dear – I was growing tired of hearing how cold, wet, and dreary it always was. Perhaps spring has arrived, and they’ll be many more meals out in the garden. Yea!
    (Did I tell you yet that we enjoyed a rare April with almost no rainy days, and the forecast is for another 7-10 days of sun and temps in the 70sF? Global warming?)

    1. Joanna Post author

      We had a little hiccup of cold and grey after this post but it is now warm and sunny and blue, and everything is doing its best to catch up, better late than never. We will no doubt start complaining about the lack of rain soon. I haven’t had another meal in the garden yet, maybe this weekend which is one of those holiday weekends again. Spring Holiday or something like that. Have a good weekend my friend :)

  12. michaelawah

    this sounds lovely. I can just imagine the warmth, the garden sounds, and the soft conversation and munching! Pity I didn’t see this earlier, I had made caponata with some eggplant. And about those Dan Lepard semolina buns, would you believe i’ve got them on my list but never made it before!

    1. Joanna Post author

      We all have our favourites I guess, and this is one of ours :) We have just had two days of summer and today it looks as if it is cooling down again, fairly typical of England, no wonder everyone throws themselves into their summer kit so fast as they know it doesn’t last long :)

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