Thanks to alfanso and dabrownman and isand66 and Toad.de.b I was inspired and encouraged to take another shot at that whole grain durum, and to push a bit with playing with formulae for results that are more and more *mine*...
The durum got put through the mill a second time, then sifted, and then used in the levain and the dough. I changed to a 100% hydrated levain, created in a 3-stage build, and it went in to the final dough as it was hitting the "return to liquid" stage about 8 hours after peaking. I can say that the resulting dough felt totally different than the first round. I had a feeling that it needed a wee bit of assistance in getting to where I wanted it, so I tossed in 5g of white rye malt (which is why this round is only 99.2% durum), and gradually increased the hydration as I was kneading it until it just felt "right" at just over 75%. It truly was a joy to work this dough, and I could not believe how silky smooth and supple it was throughout the stretch-and-folds and in to bulk ferment. Of course - it couldn't totally behave itself and freaked me out a bit while bulking: no rise, no rise, slow slow rise over first few hours - then, within less than 15 minutes - almost doubled! I'm so glad that I wasn't distracted and had time right then to pre-shape, rest, and final shape before dropping it in to the bag covered banneton and immediately in to the coldest part of the fridge.
It didn't rise at all in the fridge (which didn't surprise me after the slow start on the bulk), so I let it warm up at room temperature for about an hour while I was preheating the oven. It apparently liked that timing, since was over 30% increased in volume by the time I scored it and got it in to the heat. I did 25 minutes covered at 450, then 30 minutes uncovered at 425, then pulled it out of the roaster and on to the rack for a final 5 minutes to hit 208 degrees internal:
For my "daily" loaf, I was also trying a new-to-me grain, and milled some Red Fife. We really like the 60% WG range, and love having some rye in there (along with the rye levain), and I wanted to play a bit with a toasted porridge, so this one ended up being:
100g fresh milled rye (all in the levain) - 13.3%
350g fresh milled red fife - 46.7%
300g all purpose - 40%
50g oat bran + 50g wheat germ, toasted then cooked in 200g water as porridge - 13.3%
60g dry milk powder + 5g white rye malt - 8.7%
12g salt - 1.6%
Water - 585g - 78% (including levain, porridge, and extra added while kneading)
The scent of this dough is truly intoxicating, and I did feel some difference in using the Red Fife instead of my more usual hard red spring wheat. I skipped my usual red and chocolate rye malt additions, since I didn't want them to overpower the toasty wheat notes this time:
The crumb came out a bit more dense than I expected, but it is definitely tender and tastes incredible:
I had fun with every part of this week's bake, and the best part was yesterday evening when my husband had the munchies and decided to disregard our usual "no cutting for 24 hours" rule and took the heel off of both loaves. He then went back and took another couple of pieces of the DURUM loaf to eat with no toppings / not toasted / just "as-is" because he enjoyed the flavour and texture so much. THAT was pretty darned near miraculous after last week's version was only saved from the trash by being paired with bruschetta.
We've got a couple of very different, but really appealing loaves to use this week - both of them good enough for nibbling on "as-is":
It really goes to show that the experts here are very wise - and that you get way better results when you "make it *yours*" and bake happy!