Semolina rolls with chewy figs and warming za’atar

Beside the end result, for me breadmaking is a pure pleasure on its own. There is something about creating a thing so brilliant and comforting from the simplest ingredients! Ok, maybe it is not that brilliant every time, but with a sprinkle of few curious spices and fruits and a lots of love, you can’t end up with anything but a real delight.

The inspiration for these rolls went a long way, starting from a sudden desire to practice some bread knots! Then tempted by a recent acquisition of few bottles of excellent Bulgarian red wine and goat’s cheese from the local farmers markets, I wanted something that could match these treasures perfectly.  Adding dried figs and za’atar felt like a good choice to add that sweetness and curiosity to the bread, while using semolina along with plain flour gave it a warm colour, good texture with a crispy crust.

As this was a bit of an experiment, I made just 6 small rolls. Simply double the ingredients for bigger quantities.



125g fine semolina flour 

125g strong white flour 

half a pack of dried yeast (3.5g to be really precise) 

1tsp. salt

1tsp. sugar 

200ml warm water 

60ml olive oil

1tbsp. za’atar 

few dried figs – chopped 

Mixed the two flours. Add sugar and yeast and mix. Make a well in the middle and add the water. Mix to form a dough and at the end add the olive oil, salt and za’atar. The dough should be quite sticky.

Knead for about 10 minutes, then transfer to an oiled bowl, cover and let it prove for about an hour.

When doubled in size, add the figs and knead just a few times to distribute them evenly. Let it rest for 10-15 minutes before shaping the knotted rolls.

To make the rolls divide the dough in 6 equal balls. Roll each one into thin evenly thick stripe, about 25cm long. Make a loose knot then wrap one end on the bottom and the other on top until they meet in the middle.Press gently the ends together and adjust the shape of the roll if needed with your hands.

Once you have all rolls ready, placed them on a lined with baking paper tray, allowing enough space in between them. Cover them and let them rise for 30min more.

Before popping them in the oven, you can brush them with egg yolk for some extra shine and sprinkle with poppy seed, some more za’atar or anything you like. For an extra crunch you can sprinkle them with some more semolina.

Bake for about 40min till golden and crisp at about 200C over.

Enjoy with cheese and as I’ve already mentioned, some nice red wine!



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