This bread takes a long time to make. First, make the biga (the starter) by sprinkling yeast into hot water to let it dissolve, and then stir in all-purpose flour. Let this sit (covered) for at least a few hours if not over night. I left mine for maybe 7 or 8 hours before coming back to it.
Add warm water to the biga and mix it up with your hands. It's not dough like at all at this point, so this is a sloppy process. Add in a few cups of the semolina and mix it into the liquid. Let this rise for at least two hours, covered.
Add room temperature water and more semolina as well as salt. Knead until it's not sticky any more. This lack of stickyness didn't really happen for me, and I ran out of semolina. I had to add regular flour to eventually get the dough to the desired consistency. Place the dough into a clean bowl that has been brushed with olive oil and leave for another two hours, covered.
Finally you're ready to make the actual bread. Break the dough in half and form it into two of whatever shape you want. I made two boules.
Place the bread on a cookie sheet that has been scattered with corn meal (or semolina, if you still have any left.) Slash the tops of the bread and bake in a very hot oven for 15 minutes, then lower the temperature and bake for 45 minutes more.
Tada! Huge golden loaves of bread.
Next time I'll add a touch more salt to the dough, but otherwise, this is perfect. Not too dense, lovely looking, and with a mellow flavor. I had some with soup for lunch, and it was delightful.
semolina -- $2.55
Total Cost of Southern Italian Semolina Bread: $2.55