The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Another go at 100% Durum (Pane di Altamura)

breadforfun's picture
breadforfun

Another go at 100% Durum (Pane di Altamura)

Happy New Year fellow bakers!
It has been a little while since I have posted anything new, but it’s not for lack of baking.  I have a little list of favorites that I have written about before that I keep going back to.

But a few weeks back, Gaetano (inumeridiieri) posted a loaf that inspired me to get back to my two-year-on-again-off-again attempt to reproduce Pane di Altamura.  I have gotten some excellent results the past month to share.

In his post, Gaetano described a type of leavening that, as far as I have found, is not available in the U.S. It is called Lievisol (pictured about ¾ down the page of his post), and though I could not find a lot of information about it, it appears to be a blend of wheat flour, a malted flour and either instant or active dry yeast. I began my trials by simply adding a little barley malt and a small amount of instant yeast (IDY) to the dough mix along with my 100% extra fancy durum starter.

Initial results were very encouraging. My first bake followed his formula as closely as I could, using 1.5g IDY and 11g malted barley flour as a replacement for the Lievisol and an overall hydration of 68.5%. The levain was 100% hydration and 43% of the flour was prefermented. The loaves turned out ok, but they were quite overbaked and a bit underproofed. I repeated the bake, correcting for these things and here are some photos of the loaves.


The malt seems to have little effect other than to darken the crust, at least in my trials, so I have eliminated it.  However, the addition of the IDY seems to give exactly the boost to the dough that I had not been getting with the levain alone. The flavor was more tangy than I expected, perhaps because of the long proof times. The crumb on this loaf is nice but much more uniform than the loaves found in Italy.

I baked a few more batches, playing around with overall hydration, pre-fermented flour %-age and bake times and temperatures. I even tried to do the traditional folded shape of Pane di Altamura, but it was not a real success as the two halves of the loaf didn’t really integrate into a single loaf. Some of the results below.

  

I did have some shaping issues, the large groups of holes were probably due to over flouring the bench during shaping. However, the taste was improving, the uniformity of the crumb is a bit more like artisan bread and the crust is blistery and crackly.  At this point, after some 5 tweaks, I have baked this last version a few times with really good results.

This version has an overall hydration of 73% with 36% PFF. [6]



The main things that I have learned so far:
-Durum needs a long proofing time to develop flavors.
-Temperatures in excess of around 72˚F tend to make the dough sticky and unmanageable for me.
-Using a couche for final proof helps a lot. And don’t try to proof dough directly on parchment.

For the purists out there (and I consider myself among that group), bakers yeast is not traditionally added to Pane di Altamura. So my next batch of trials will be an attempt to eliminate it.  I have also not mastered the folded over shape, and I still consider it a challenge for the new year. However, the results so far, thick,brittle and nicely honeyed crust, open crumb and good flavor suggest this is the right direction.

-Brad

Comments

inumeridiieri's picture
inumeridiieri

Well done is little...honored to have you inspired

http://it.tinypic.com/player.php?v=2rfsuuh&s=8#.WHKr12favaU

Mi shape :-) It's the same for Altamura e Matera only Altamura is not scored.

Gaetano

 

breadforfun's picture
breadforfun

Thank you for your kind words. That is a really helpful video. Others that I have seen previously show the shaping very quickly and so it is difficult to see what they are doing. I will definitely try this method next time.

One other question is that videos of large production factories for Pane di Altamura show the final shaping immediately before placing into the oven. In this method is it done before the final proof?

Brad

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

successes to me!  !00% durum bread isn't one of my favorites for flavor but it is a good  one to master for all kinds of other reasons - especially the beautiful color of the crust and crumb..  Good luck with the ongoing recipe experiments and folding.

Happy baking in 2017

breadforfun's picture
breadforfun

Thanks DBM.

Durum is certainly more subtle than sprouted or ancient wheat flours, but it has a different and lighter flavor. This bread toasted is truly wonderful.  There's something in the way it gets browned...but I can't put my finger on it exactly.

-Brad

Ru007's picture
Ru007

Your loaves all look great, that crumb is incredible.

I've also been working on a particular formula for a couple of weeks now. Your persistence and results are really encouraging.

Well done :)

Ru

breadforfun's picture
breadforfun

Keep at it, Ru. It took me two-plus years and a lot of Extra Fancy Durum flour to get here. Maybe if it shaves a few weeks off your efforts then TFL will have come through for you.

-Brad

Ru007's picture
Ru007

I really love making bread, the idea of spending two years perfecting a recipe isn't so bad to me :) 

Thanks Brad

Ru

PalwithnoovenP's picture
PalwithnoovenP

Crust and crumb are perfect! I have not yet tasted durum but the warm yellow crumb is so inviting!

breadforfun's picture
breadforfun

Hi Pal. Durum was not an easy grain to master, for me at least. It over ferments pretty easily, and once it starts it seems to degrade more rapidly than other wheat grains. And you are right, the yellow crumb is part of its allure.

-Brad

RoundhayBaker's picture
RoundhayBaker

...site it is. Many thanks.

breadforfun's picture
breadforfun

Roundhay, when I first started baking some 7 or 8 years ago, I was pointed to TFL while searching, like so many members. The first years were a real opportunity for me to learn from others that had lots more baking experience. I try to do the same when I can.

-Brad

alfanso's picture
alfanso

Hi Brad,

About as traditional looking Altamuras as mine were, which means the locals there wouldn't know what to make of the shaping.  But we do this stuff the way we want to because, well because, we take something and then make it a bit our own.  I love the shaping, scoring, seriously dark and thick and crackly crust too.  To go along with that yellow creamy looking crumb.

Whether it is right or not, when I make my version of an 'Italian semolina' I let the durum flour autolyse all by itself for 30 minutes before ever adding the bread flour, which then gets an additional 30 minutes of autolyse.  In my mind, maybe from something I read when we were all playing around with this bread last Spring, I just had the feeling that the durum needed some additional time all by it's lonesome self to be saturated.  Maybe ties back to the high protein/low gluten that has me thinking that way.  It surely seems to work for me.

great post!  Makes me want to get in there again.  But for me, the 100% pure durum needed a flavor boost, so next time I'll add my rye levain and subtract out the durum levain/biga.

alan

breadforfun's picture
breadforfun

Hi Alan,

The shaping of breads is certainly one thing that personalizes it. In a bakery (gee, when was the last time I saw the inside of one of those ;-) ? ) bakers might use a particular shape to identify a specific bread. I have fallen into the same pattern - my sourdough with khorasan will generally be a boule, but if I use spelt instead I'll make a batard; Hamelman's multi-grain levain is a log because I tend to slice it; I make a pain de campagne into a fendu shape; etc.

Sometimes shapes affect the flavor - we make baguettes because we like the greater ratio of crust to crumb.The shape of Pane di Altamura is one that I had not seen before visiting there and have never seen since. That is a part of what makes it unique.  If I can duplicate the Altamura shape it will inform me of the effect that particular shape imparts to the bread.  That is my (admittedly over-thought) reasoning for having that goal.

By the way, if you do revisit the durum loaf, your rye levain should bring some nuttier notes to the bread.  Please share the results!

-Brad

RoundhayBaker's picture
RoundhayBaker

...I was wondering if you have made any progress in working out how to shape an u sckuanète? I can see two different methods in the videos you've posted links to before. Any tips would be much appreciated.

There is also a pre-shape, and as you say, the Italian bakers state it is for twenty minutes-but the loaves look highly proved in that short time. Having visited the region, get any clues as to how hot their proving environment is?

Finally, in an earlier post, you have a photo showing the crumb of the original. It looks very soft and tearable. Is that so? If so, are you aiming for that here, or are you adapting it to a higher hydration, more open crumb?

breadforfun's picture
breadforfun

Maybe just a little obsessed.  I haven't had a chance to bake another loaf yet, but hope to later this week and I'll post the results when I do. Did you take a look at the video posted by Gaetano (first reply to the original post)? His method seems a bit more directed towards a home baker compared to the videos I have posted in the past, which are from large producers.

I agree with you that the loaves in the commercial videos look much more proofed than I have ever achieved in 20 minutes. Unfortunately I don't have any insight into the baking methods used in Altamura. When I visited I could not speak a word of Italian and could not make myself understood.  I have been studying Italian the past year or so and I hope to be much more prepared next time I go to have that conversation.

Obviously, the mouth feel of the bread is very hard to convey in a photo. The crumb was not really that soft, but more like a medium-chewy naturally leavened wheat loaf. In the photo the loaf was, in fact, torn open because I did not have a knife to slice it.  That said, my recollection is that it is still more open than I have achieved so far. I suppose I should tear open one of mine for a direct comparison. The crust was very thick and crispy initially, as you would expect from a WFO. The very large loaf - I believe it was over one kg - remained moist enough to eat over several days without going stale. There was also a depth of nutty flavor that is proving very difficult to reproduce. If it is due to the local flour or to the WFO I will have little chance of getting there. Or maybe I am just romanticizing.

There is another possible factor that is difficult to control: water hardness and mineral content. On his blog Mike Wilson (@mwilson on TFL) talks a bit about the effect of water hardness on doughs from durum wheat. I know that my water in SF is especially soft, so possibly adding back some minerals will help a more highly hydrated dough maintain its shape over a longer proof. Yet another avenue to explore.

-Brad

P.S. The breads on your website look great. Thanks for publishing your version of the Pompeii miche here on TFL - I missed it at the time but plan to try it now!

RoundhayBaker's picture
RoundhayBaker

..mineral content. Like you, my water is soft (but only slightly) and Altamura is in limestone terrain so it's very likely theirs is quite hard.

Thanks for the info. on the crumb. I can now see how I misinterpreted the photo. And thanks also for pointing out the existence of Staffoflife. I'd never come across it before. Fascinating. And very useful. So, in theory, with softer water we should benefit from a lower P/L ratio, making our job a little easier.

Luckily, I can now get hold of Sfarinato di Gran Duro (a rimacinata from just next door in Basilicata) so I'll be having a go because I have very fond memories of the only time I've eaten pane di Altamura. I'm looking forward to attempting the u sckuanète shape & I'm fascinated by those linen wraps used by the bakers in the Alice Tv video. I can see how useful they are. Good trick and worth trying out (although I suspect you need a super-hot WFO to set that towering shape quickly-and maybe that's where the high P/L from hard water comes in useful too).  I'll also check out Gaetano's video.

Apulian bread is fascinating, I've heard that there are huge 5-7kg loaves further north in the region. I won't be attempting those.

Thanks for the kind words about the site and I hope you have success with the Pompeii miche.

 

breadforfun's picture
breadforfun

If you haven't yet seen it, the regulations that spell out the requirements for a bread to receive the D.O.P. designation include (among other things):

The water must comply with the following requirements:

— colourless and free of taste and smell,
— temperature of between 12 and 15 °C,
— ph of between 7 and 8,5,

— total hardness of between 14,5 and 15,5 GF,
— calcium content (Ca++) of between 46 and 55 mg/l,

— alkalinity (CaCO3) of between 130 and 160 mg/l,

— no nitrous ions present,
— sodium content of less than 5 to 6 mg/l,
— potassium content of between 1,5 and 2,5 mg/l,
— faecal coliforms-enterococci-spores 0 nct/100 ml.

No doubt it was written to comply with the available water in the designated area.

Please keep us up to date on your progress as well.

-Brad

RoundhayBaker's picture
RoundhayBaker

...It would, of course, be illegal to duplicate a DOP bread. Thank goodness for soft water. :P

RoundhayBaker's picture
RoundhayBaker

...I'm away from the ovens: the hardness (calcium and magnesium ions) falls in the higher range that's considered optimal for baking (but only just inside the limit). The pH is high and will inhibit yeast development, therefore more is required if you use Altamura water. I'm admittedly rusty at this, but I'm not familiar with alkalinity expressed as GF (oh, those quirky Italians) - I used to have to measure it in molar concentrations - however, since alkalinity relates directly to acidity, it's already been covered. And I'm mighty relieved that the e.coli count has to be zero. :)

So, the water has plenty of minerals beneficial to yeast but not in toxic amounts, and yeast activity is inhibited by its low acidity. It depends upon how soft/low pH your water is, but if, like mine, its moderate you should find fermenting this dough less challenging than it is for the bakers of Altamura. I just need to master the rest of the process, beginning with an old dough starter etc. it's going to take a while. It always does.

breadforfun's picture
breadforfun

I am not familiar with GF either, so that is an unknown at this point. I think alkalinity is measured by the concentration of calcium carbonate (CaCOsub3), which, if I remember my general chemistry (from many decades ago) is a buffer. Without a significant buffering, the pH will change towards acid if the water is aerated due to COsub2 absorption from the air. I often encountered this phenomenon during my many years of semiconductor processing.

In San Francisco, the local water reports indicate that the pH is 9.0, Ca++ is 11 mg/L (same as ppm) and what they call hardness as measured as CaCOsub3 is 42ppm. I was thinking of mixing my water with a higher Ca++ containing bottled water, such as Evian to increase the calcium carbonate concentration just to see what will happen. With a CaCOsub3 content of around 300, using about 40% Evian plus 60% tap water would get me in the right calcium range. I hope to get to it very soon!

Good luck with your trials, and BTW, if the water police come after you, I got your back ;-)

-Brad