A few weeks back I went looking to find a source for Fancy or Extra Fancy Durum flour here in B.C. or Western Canada but drew a complete blank with all my usual local retailers. Durum Atta flour for chapatti and other Indian baking is readily available but the x-fancy is nowhere to be found...at least for now. Fortunately breadsong http://www.thefreshloaf.com/user/breadsong was able to give me a hand and put me in touch with one of her contacts at Giusto's in San Francisco who was quite happy to fill my 1 bag order. The shipping cost was fairly steep, but now at least I had 25lbs of beautiful, finely milled durum flour that I could use while I try to source something a little closer to home. One of the several breads that I wanted the flour for is a recipe from Maggie Glezer's 'Artisan Baking' called Tom Cat's Semolina Filone. David Snyder as well as many others on this forum have posted on it, but it was David's post of his bake of this bread that really inspired me to give it a try. Link to David’s post below:
I won't go into a step by step of the procedure since David has already covered that thoroughly in his post, with our methods and experiences with the dough being almost identical. The one notable difference being that I didn't find I needed to add any extra flour because of the dough being “gloppy” during the initial mixing. This may be because I was using a blend of Canadian AP and Bread flour, likely with a higher gluten content than the KA-AP that David used.
This is a really nice dough to work with and an easy mix by hand for the quantities given in Glezer's formula. After a 3 hour bulk ferment the dough is soft, supple, and very extensible with it's 33% prefermented flour from the poolish allowing for easy molding. Very similar to a baguette dough I thought, and something I'll try molding this dough as in future mixes. There will certainly be future mixes since this is a great tasting bread in all respects. I love toasted sesame seeds, so any bread covered in them is going to taste wonderful to me, but the crumb and crust just on their own work perfectly together, creating a good crunch from the crust with, to borrow one of David's terms, a nutty flavour. I didn't notice the nut flavour so much in the crumb as he did, rather I found a very slight acidity highlighting the mixed grain flavours. I know that several folks on this forum have noted the lack of flavour that durum flour has but whatever contribution it makes overall to this formula surely must be positive. The texture of the crumb is almost feathery soft but has good chew somehow as well, which surprised me. Again, possibly a factor of the flour combination used in this mix, and not something I'd want to change in future mixes. This bread being a natural for open faced sandwiches with fresh tomato and cheese or dry salami and pepperoncini with a little EVOO drizzled over, that's exactly what I had for a very enjoyable lunch this afternoon.