The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Durum Bread

  • Pin It
dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Durum Bread from Bread by Jeffrey Hamelman

The second edition of Hamelman's Bread includes 40 new recipes. This is the first of the new recipes I have made. Hamelman writes that this formula for “Durum Bread” is the best of a series of “test batches” he made some years ago. He does not describe it further and does not identify it as an Italian-style bread, although it does bring to mind Italian breads made with durum flour.

To me, the most remarkable features are that Hamelman's “Durum Bread” is 90% durum flour. (Bread flour is used in the liquid levain feeding.) It is a high-hydration dough at 80%. It uses both a yeasted biga and a liquid levain. Hamelman recommends a bassinage technique (“double hydration") be used for mixing.

 

Overall formula

Wt (g)

Baker's %

Durum flour

900

90

Bread flour

100

10

Water

800

80

Salt

20

2

Yeast

5

0.5

Total

1825

182.5

 

Biga

Wt (g)

Baker's %

Durum flour

300

100

Water

195

65

Yeast

0.3

0.1

Total

495.3

165.1

 

Liquid levain

Wt (g)

Baker's %

Bread flour

100

100

Water

125

125

Mature liquid culture

20

20

Total

245

 

 

Final dough

Wt (g)

Durum flour

600

Water

480

Salt

20

Yeast

5

Biga

495.3

Liquid levain

225

Total

1825.3

 

Procedures

  1. Mix the biga and ferment for 12-16 hours. It is ripe when domed and just starting to recede in the center. Note that, because of the great ability of durum flour to absorb water, this biga is firmer than the usual “firm levain.”

  2. Mix the liquid levain at the same time as the biga and let it ferment for the same time. Note: My levain ripened faster than the biga, so I refrigerated it for a couple of hours to let the biga “catch up.”

  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add all but 1/3 cup of the final dough water along with the liquid levain and mix to disperse the levain. Then, add the biga cut in 5 or 6 pieces, and mix at slow speed to dissolve it somewhat. Then add the remaining durum flour, yeast and salt. Mix at slow speed for 2 or 3 minutes to combine the ingredients then at Speed 2 for about 6 minutes to develop the gluten. Scrape the dough off the hook and make a well in the middle of it. Pour the reserved water in the well, lower the hook, and mix at low speed until the water if fully incorporated. The dough will be quite loose.

  4. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover tightly.

  5. Ferment the dough for about 2 hours with stretch and folds at 40 and 80 minutes.

  6. Divide the dough into two equal pieces and pre-shape them as balls. Let them rest, covered, for 20 minutes or so to relax the gluten.

  7. Shape the pieces as boules or bâtards and place in bannetons or en couche. Proof, covered, for about 1 hour.

  8. Pre-heat the oven to 500ºF for 1 hour with baking stone and steaming apparatus in place.

  9. Turn down the oven to 450ºF. Transfer the loaves to a peel, score the loaves, steam the oven and transfer the loaves to the baking stone.

  10. After 15 minutes, remove the steaming apparatus and continue to bake for another 23 minutes or so. (After the first 15 minutes, I continued baking at 425ºF with convection for the remainder of the time.) The loaves are done when the crust is nicely browned, the loaves sound hollow when thumped on the bottom and the internal temperature is over 205ºF.

  11. Transfer the loaves to a cooling rack and cool for 1-2 hours before slicing.

 

The loaves had a somewhat crisp, chewy crust. The crumb was less open than I expected, but I think this may be characteristic of bread made with mostly durum flour. Maybe it has to do with the quality of gluten in this flour.

The flavor of the bread was distinctive. I don't know how to describe it, but it was like that of the other breads I have made with durum flour. I was thinking it was not a flavor I especially like, until I tried it dipped in olive oil with a little balsamic vinegar. That was spectacular! It was a magical combination of flavors that was delightful. It made me wonder about using this bread in other characteristic Italian ways – as garlic bread or toasted and eaten with a hearty ribollito soup.

I gave one of the loaves to a friend who grew up in a village near Rome. I am awaiting her assessment with the greatest interest.

David 

Submitted to YeastSpotting

Subscribe to RSS - Durum Bread