The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Suggestions for using Whole Durum flour?

varda's picture
varda

Suggestions for using Whole Durum flour?

I recently bought a large bag of Atta Durum flour.   I didn't really need a 20 lb bag in my closet - already have too many small bags there - but there it is.   I have been making semolina this and semolina that and don't really want to make that all the time, so I am looking for suggestions on how to combine this flour with others in a nice way.   For instance, does it play well with whole wheat flour, rye?    Or is that just weird.    Looking for suggestions....   Thanks.

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi varda,

well you could make lots of chappatis!?

I think Khalid is a big fan of this flour.   He seems to use it successfully as a wholemeal component in his lovely breads.

Best wishes

Andy

varda's picture
varda

Andy,  I'll take a look through Khalid's posts for ideas.    Thanks for the pointer.   -Varda

copyu's picture
copyu

but this flour will work pretty well in combination with other flours.

I would treat it *almost* as a  regular 'wholemeal' flour, though, in your favorite formula...you'll still need to add some white bread flour to make a good 'holey' loaf, for sure, if you want to stick to the more familiar methods. You could increase the ratio of your durum atta a little bit in your favorite WW bread recipe with no problems...the bread will be brownish/greyish in color, most likely. Atta flour is often white in the package, but 'colors up' a fair bit once it's hydrated.

Enjoy!

copyu

varda's picture
varda

You have given me complete license - exactly what I was looking for.    Actually in what I've baked so far, the baked bread crumb color was a standard semolina yellow, which I found a bit surprising.   I did a visual inspection of this flour vs 3 smaller sacks of semolina in my closet by pouring out little piles on a plate.   Two of the semolinas were a sandy consistency, the third was much finer but still sandy (advertised as semolina and durum flour) and the atta just looked like a light airy almost white flour - no sand at all.   So I guess it's been milled pretty fine even with all the bran.     Thanks for your help!  -Varda

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Varda,

What a nice thing to have - it is quite hard to source durum flour here. However I can understand you would want to ring the changes!  

It seems to be fine to mix durum flour with whole wheat and other flours. Apparently durum flour is grown in Sweden and Jan Hedh uses it in a lot of his mixed grain formulae. I don't know if is the same grind but it should be fine. Here is one example of a durum flour, whole wheat mix:

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/19216/sourdough-wholemeal-lemon-bread-adaptation-jan-hedh-formula

Wishing you happy exploring! Daisy_A

varda's picture
varda

Daisy_A, Yes, I didn't think I was going to find durum either, but I went to a huge new Asian store (mostly Korean) and they had a small Indian selection with this flour.  I ran around looking for a smaller bag but no dice and I couldn't resist.   Thanks so much for pointing me to that lemon bread.   I'll give it a try.  -Varda

jcking's picture
jcking

For those who don't know. The difference between Durum Flour and Atta Durum is; Atta generally refers to a whole wheat-flour made from hard Durum wheat. King Arthur in now offering Chakki Atta in their recent catalog.

Jim

varda's picture
varda

Is the distinct you are making the "whole" or the "hard"?   I assume that Atta would not be considered "fine" durum because it's whole grain, but were you saying something else?   Thanks. 

jcking's picture
jcking

Simple speaking; Atta is less refined containing more of the bran (outer layer of the wheat kernel) than what is normally called Durum. With the additional bran it can still be ground to a fine grade. Durum wheat in general is considered a hard, high protein, type of flour. Being a stronger flour, longer mixing and or more stretch and folds may be required to develop strength. In addition, with the extra bran in the Atta additional water may be needed. If you're using the Atta with other flours, depending on percent, adjustments may be quite small or unnecessary. Let the dough tell you what it needs. My above post was only meant to point out there is a difference between the two. Hope I didn't confuse anyone.

Voracious Reader,

Jim

varda's picture
varda

Thanks for clarifying.   Read on!  -Varda

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Jim,

Yes, I believe atta is milled from durum wheat, and is approx. 95% extraction.   You are right that the grain is hard, and that is a major reason why the dough requires geneorus mixing.   Another is on account of the high protein level.

However, to clarify, durum flour is not generally considered to be a "strong" flour.   The use of the term "strong" reflects the level of potential gluten which can be developed from the proteins in any suitable bread flour.   The gluten forming potential in durum flour is not that high, even though the grain is hard, and there is plenty of protein to be found.

It's quite an important clarification to be making.

All good wishes

Andy

jcking's picture
jcking

Andy,

If you could; Durum flour interests me. Is there a difference between the Durum grown in the northern US/Canada and that grown in Italy and other countries?

Jim

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Jim,

I'm by no means an expert on durum, as I'm UK based, and it is very rarely grown over here [one specialist grower to my knowledge]

However Canada and Northern US produce stronger wheats on account of the cold Winters and short but hot and dry Summers.   The most famous Italian Durum flours are grown in the South of Italy, so clearly hot weather has a bearing here.   I am assured by nicodvb [TFL poster, based in Bologna] that the durum flour grown in the North of Italy is of very much inferior quality to that produced in the South.

I suspect, when it comes down to it, the South Italy varieties will be very much more traditional grains which have had minimal genetic tampering.   Durum grown in the North of Italy and over in US/Canada will be done so on an industrial scale producing flour with far less character.

I have to emphasize that this is just my incline.   If other people know more, I'm happy to hear it, but I do not wish to be taken for task for expressing these thoughts.

Do you agree with what I was saying about the difference between "strength" and protein content?

All good wishes

Andy

jcking's picture
jcking

Hi Andy

Thanks for the added information. My implication may have been only to say that the Atta may be stronger in a different sense because of the added bran, not necessarily stronger as a bread flour. Probably a poor choice of words. I'm certainly not an expert and can only relate what I've read. It would be interesting to know where the Atta Varda has, was grown. The Durum I've been playing with is US/Canadian. I'll be ordering some Chakki Atta from KA for a comparison. When I did a search on the WWW for flour from an Indian supplier in the US, there were about 5 different versions of what appeared to be of an Atta stlye. Maybe someone on the TFL could add some info.

Thanks for your input, my thirst for bread knowledge almost exceeds my fondness for a good loaf.

Warm regards,

Jim

copyu's picture
copyu

I'm no expert on durum wheat, either, but it seems Australia has been over-looked in this discussion. The best Italian durum grows in its native 'Mediterranean' climate and southern Oz is the place where you can find that in abundance...the hot, dry, summers and the cool, wet winters appear to be the secret. (South Africa would also be a good place to grow the crop, no doubt...)

Italy buys at least 50% of its annual durum wheat requirements from Australia, which is considered by their millers to be of the best quality and highest value, both for pasta and bread. Australia had out-stripped Canada quite some time ago in the Italian market. The balance may be from domestic production and from Canadian wheat-fields, but North Africa (also with a TRUE 'Mediterranean' climate)  is much closer, geographically. I don't know if they have a surplus for export, however...About 97% of the total durum wheat shipped to Italy every year is grown in the states of New South Wales (56%) and South Australia (41%). The other wheat-growing states provide the 3% balance of the exports.

I knew the family that started the "San Remo" pasta factory in Adelaide, South Australia. Their greatest 'claim to fame' was to be the only known company that exported pasta to Italy! [Talk about 'sending coals to Newcastle'!] This best-selling product (for many years, anyway) was made from 100% Australian durum wheat, of course!

Cheers, sir,

copyu

 

 

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi copyu,

thanks for posting such useful data.

I was already aware of the importance of Australian wheat to Italy; also I make reference below to Hovis buying Austraslian wheat for use British bread grists.

An interesting and true story:   Andrew Whitley visiting local mills and bakeries in Tuscany some years ago now.   He asks his hosts if he can get into the fields where the wheat is grown which is used for the flour and breads he has just been shown.   Answer comes back that the wheat is actually sourced from all over the world and that, just as you say, much  of it is coming from Australia.

Additionally, I'm sure I remember John Lister from Shipton Mill passing on information about his "00" flour when first launched, stating that the wheat was sourced from Australia too.

Really good to hear from you

Best wishes

Andy 

copyu's picture
copyu

...and apologies to Varda for almost 'hijacking' her post. [Sorry, Varda! You know what men are like...]

Andy, Khalid, Jim...your input to this thread has been so informative and inspirational to me and I hope it has been useful to Varda, the original poster. I expect Varda will come up with a mind-blowing 'miche' or similar and publish her results here.

I'll be waiting to see what she produces and will be happy to follow her lead...I might do some 'atta' experiments of my own, as well and will get back to you...I'm thinking of Odinraider's Pain de Campagne. (Substitute some of the the spelt or WW with atta...use atta instead of spelt in the levain, and use the little spelt flour I have left in the main dough, for example..)

Sincere thanks and best wishes to all,

copyu

copyu's picture
copyu

Pre-ferment:

50g ripe, recently fed 100% hydration starter

150g water

50g whole wheat flour

50g bread flour

50g rye flour

50g spelt flour

Mix well and let develop, between 7 to 12 hours

Bread dough:

350g starter (50g left over for next starter)

13g salt

250g water

50g rye flour

50g whole wheat flour

150g spelt flour

250g bread flour

Mix well, do your normal dough mixing operation. I let it go about 10 minutes in my mixer on medium, then one minute on high. The dough should be soft, loose, and tacky.

Let it ferment for about 3½ to 4 hours, then heat the oven to 450°F. Shape the dough however you want—I think a boule would work best. I like an oblong, because it is easier to slice. Proof it for 1½ hours. I proof it either on parchment or on linen, only because I have no banneton. That would work best. Anyway, bake it for 50-55 minutes, until it is nice and dark. Let it cool completely before slicing. Oh, and guess what!—this is baked without steam!

Thanks to Odinraider for the original formula

copyu

varda's picture
varda

If not, I might be severely irritated.   Here is my latest experiment just out of the oven:  50% bread flour, 17% atta durum, 17% stone ground whole wheat, 18% rye, 68% hydration, 18% prefermented flour from 68% hydration starter, 1.8% salt.   I have been running around like mad today and fit this in as can be, so I doubt it is mind-blowing, but at least it looks like bread.  

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

:)

varda's picture
varda

an ooooh pretty from you is worth .... well not sure what to insert here but thank you.  -Varda

copyu's picture
copyu

just HAS to taste great!

copyu

varda's picture
varda

Hey copyu.   Thanks for the compliment.   The bread had a lot of flavor and you could tell that it wasn't just a whole-wheat loaf - there was a little something different about it and the texture was interesting - the adjective that comes to mind is "meaty", not sure why.  I think it benefited from benign neglect.   I did the steps whenever I was able instead of on a schedule, just making sure I gave it a total long time from mix to oven - around 6 hours.   I treated this pretty much like a regular pain au levain and didn't either increase water or reduce fermentation due to the durum and I think that approach works at this low a percentage.   So you can just add durum to a mix of flours instead of using it just for semolina style breads.   But more tinkering is required.   -Varda

jcking's picture
jcking

Lookin' Good!

Jim

copyu's picture
copyu

the first time was amazing, following his ingredients, but I had to 'screw up' the timing really badly due to work commitments. I was worried about it, but the fridge came to my rescue...that formula was so amazingly good and versatile while the procedural descriptions were 'spot-on', despite my timing adjustments. The aroma through the house was unbelievable as it was baking...I gave the credit to the spelt flour, which I hadn't used before, but I know (from experience) that this formula is amenable to minor variations in flour percentages and it's pretty flexible as to timing. The taste was also "umai", which is what you described.

The Japanese use the word 'oishii' a lot when they put something nice into their mouths; then they translate it into English (quite wrongly, in my opinion, as 'delicious'). For example, native speakers of English, in the same position, would just say; "That tastes really good! or "Tastes great!"  

Have you heard of "umami" as a 'flavor'? [The adjective 'umai' usually means 'very good tasting ' or 'rich taste' in English.] Many western people, even the 'scientific crew', now accept it as the next 'flavor' or 'taste sensation' that humans can sense, apart from sour, bitter, sweet, salty...it's sometimes translated as a 'meaty' taste...perfectly-cooked steaks and other meats, high-quality sauces, rich soup stocks, some beers and so on, are often described as "umai" in Japan...it's now one step above 'oishii' and it sounds as if you've discovered that 'fifth taste'.  

Congratulations, Varda!

copyu

varda's picture
varda

Wow.  Discovering the fifth taste.   And all because my name is Varda and I'm a flouraholic.   Fascinating that in English the word is something horribly prosaic like "meaty" and in Japanese it denotes the pinnacle of flavor.   I'll have to try the odinraider bread you posted.    I have been making a pain au levain with bread flour, whole wheat, rye and spelt and even a small amount of spelt seems to adds a subtle layer of flavor and even better makes the crumb shine.   -Varda

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Jim,

Regarding most wheatflour used for raised bread: the grain is traded on the open market.   Milling companies are likely to source their grain throughout the world.   The quantities we are talking about are absolutely huge.   That is why the cost of this grain [and food in general] is going up so much.   Those lovely people [or, crooks, depending on your take!] gambling on futures/stocks/shares/financial markets [call it what you will] are basically betting on prices that grain for milling wheat will be sold for.   They know it is in relatively short supply, and that world demand is increasing.   The result is prices go up, as they predict, so they just keep on going up.   And I don't know anybody who can see the prices being reversed in the short term.

There are few places left where bread is made from genuinely local wheats.   That said, domestic industrially grown bread wheat in the UK forms an increasing part of the grist used to make our [in]famous Chorleywood Bread Process cotton wool and the not dissimilar supermarket loaves produced in an equally speedy fashion using enzymes as an alternative to high speed mixing to reduce the dough.   I imagine this to be the case throughout the industrialised world.   However, the grain is still part of world trade, so the prices remain high, just that transport costs are reduced, and there is no tariff imposed on the miller for using non EU wheat.   I would imagine the opposite will be the case for US/Canada, where a tariff will be in place for using EU wheat, but I may be wrong here.

Anyway, what I'm thinking is that durum atta will largely be home produced, but bought on the open market.   Atta flour is a significant part of the milling activity over here in the UK too.   Rank Hovis produce a lot of Atta Chappati flour to satisfy demand from the Asian populations of our biggest cities.   They source grain from Canada, Khazakstan, Australia, France and Germany largely, as well as the home grown wheat.

Traditional wheat varieties are simply not part of this network.   But sourcing these grains becomes ever harder as their availability is still effectively controlled by Government.   This is down to an "approved" list of wheat varieties enforced in Europe suposedly for food safety reasons.   Thus, strains developed for yield and diesease resistance are the only ones that appear on the list.   Complicated area this, but I suggest the only beneficiaries are the likes of ConAgra and the "big-wig" scientists paid a fortune to arse about with our food.

Best wishes

Andy

jcking's picture
jcking

Top of the day Andy,

While the man on the street with his nose to grindstone, and children at his heels, plugs along unaware of the shadows at his back. I guess we'll just have to cherish what we have while we still have it.

Thanks for the info,

Jim

Mebake's picture
Mebake

Thanks, Andy for referring to My posts. I have purchased Wheat Kernels (40Kg sack) from a local wholesale food outlet, that happens to source Wheat from Pakistan. I had no alternatives but the Australian White wheat which i found to be sweet but insipid.

Varda, As to the Atta Flour, I have milled the Pakistan Grown Wheat and it  perfectly suits Rotis, Chapatis and Naans. It can be used instead of Wholewheat, but for Artisan Hearth Breads or Panned Wholewheat Loaves, it doesn't perform as well as other higher protein Flours. A proof of this can be found here.

 For best results, you either mix it with Bread White flour, or make Flat breads out of it.

Khalid

 

 

varda's picture
varda

Khalid,   I did read through your posts and I see that you have backed up in the process by milling your own - not just buying a big sack of flour.   I am experimenting with the notion that a bit of atta added into the flour mix will enhance flavor without creating an obviously yellow semolina style bread.   Yesterday, I baked my first attempt with bread flour, whole wheat, rye, and durum.   It was not bad at all.   It got eaten quickly (my older son is home) so that gave me a chance to try again.   Today I made some adjustments based on yesterday's results and I'm making a pain au levain with 50% bread flour, 18% rye, 17% whole wheat, and 17% durum with 68% hydration.   I'm very hopeful but then I always am about my latest bread.   Thanks for commenting.  -Varda

jcking's picture
jcking

Varda,

If the time is available, could a Durum sourdough starter be in your future?

Jim

varda's picture
varda

Jim,  I hadn't considered that.   I try to keep exactly one baseline starter and then just modify it as needed for particular breads.   Have you read or tried something interesting with durum starters?  -Varda

jcking's picture
jcking

Do I have to think of everything? {:-))  Yes I've been playing with one for a while now beginning with the Sterile Sourdough X experiment. If you're up for the read use the search box to see " Sourdough Water", "Sterile Sourdough X", "Altamura Tantrum Loaf", and "Altamura Volcano Loaf."  (sorry I haven't figured out the link thing) Based on Dan Leaders "Local Breads", using 100% Durum.

Jim

Ju-Ju-Beads's picture
Ju-Ju-Beads

Hi, Varda

I've just seen your post.  I've been baking with durum flour for years and really love the flavor it adds to bread.  I do find that even though it is higher protein than most other flours it is also rather delicate, and can be overworked.  It develops it's gluten very quickly, with little effort, so too much kneading turns it rope-y--something it took me several years to understand.  My bread was often tight and dense.

  These days I usually add durum to my dough at the last since the bread flour actually needs more kneading to develop it's gluten structure.  It is also helpful to allow the durum to autolyse as well as the bread flour.  I mix liquids and bread flour, autolyse, knead till it's almost developed, and then add the durum and autolyse again before finishing with a fairly short kneading.  Durum also seems to absorb a little more liquid than standard bread flour--a function of it's high protein contant, perhaps?  Most often I use 13 oz bread flour, 1-1/2 oz. wheat germ, and 5 oz durum at a 70% hydration (I think: should honey count as a true liquid? I count 2 Tbsp honey as 1 oz liquid) and am really happy with my bread.  

I have not tried milling my own.  A grain mill is in my fuyure, but I don't have one yet.  Probably won't need any wheat germ then, huh?

Ju-Ju

 

 

varda's picture
varda

Hi Ju-Ju,  Interesting observations.   I have been somewhat perplexed about exactly what durum flour wants / needs in terms of dough development, water, and fermentation.   But I don't generally knead.   I mix things up for a minute or two, then stretch and fold at intervals.   I wonder how to incorporate what you are saying into that.    -Varda

Ju-Ju-Beads's picture
Ju-Ju-Beads

I, too, do less kneeding these days.  I start with a very wet dough--almost a batter.  I usually do knead the bread flour for 3-4 minutes with my mixer on lowest speed before adding the durum flour and mixing just to wet it.  After a good rest I'll knead it all together for a minute or so.  THEN I move it to my stretching/folding/rising bowl.  I guess I haven't completely gone to the stretch and fold--I use it to reduce kneading but not in place of it.  I wonder why?  

I think the durum doesn't like too much working or too many rises.  I often have to fold down my dough several times while it's cooling to refrigerator temp. when I rest it overnight and I've sometimes noticed the dough loses some of it's silkiness by morning.  I don't do it often enough to corrolate whether that really affects texture or not.  The time I really noticed poor  texture after that loss of silkiness (don't really know how else to say it) was when baking 14 loaves for our church sale.  Which raised the question, Did it really dislike being retarded or did I do a poor job because I was doing so much at once?  I seem to remember having had similar problems before when I'd retarded dough overnight, but so many variables could have been responsible.  I don't really keep a sourdough starter, but I sometimes save part of my dough for a later baking, and I prefer to save some before I add the durum flour.

Durum's lovely and very tasty stuff, but rather tempermental.  It's strong and powerful, but is impatient.  The best I can say is this: give it plenty to drink, avoid overworking it or asking it to slow down, and it's a real powerhouse, creating a super high loft besides adding a creamy color and rich taste. 

Ju-Ju

jcking's picture
jcking

When using a Durum starter; I build, refrig overnight, and finish building the next day. I find when using 100% Durum it does okay with the mix in the mixer (2 to 3 mins), and use very little mixer kneading (1 to 2 mins) and many stretch and folds. To get the sour I like, I use old bread (about a handful.)

Jim

varda's picture
varda

thanks for added detail.   If you look at the comment above, where I posted a picture of a 17% durum loaf, here I proceeded pretty much as I would have with any pain au levain - in other words same hydration, just as long proofing, just as many stretch and folds and so forth.   I am wondering if at this relatively low percentage the durum doesn't act up enough to warrant a change in strategy but as you get to higher percentages it would, similar to rye, where there is a definite crossover where you have to use rye techniques when the percentage gets high enough (around 40%?)   Anyhow, I appreciate your insights and I'll keep them in mind.  -Varda

jcking's picture
jcking

Decided on pizza today. I've been using Reinhart's sourdough version for the last 6 months and as a tribute to all things Durum, and what to do with it, I'm doing a Durum starter based version. I'm also going to try it on the outdoor grill. Never done that before. Will post results and pics.

Jim

varda's picture
varda

Jim, Franko recently posted about an all durum pizza-like entity (which uses no starter.)   You might want to try that one too.   Look forward to seeing what you come up with.   -Varda

jcking's picture
jcking

I saw frankos' post and it's near the top of  my long list of things to try next. Looks quite yummy and I'd like to incorporate some meat (me carnivore) into, rather than onto a dough.

Jim

Franko's picture
Franko

Hi Jim,

 At the risk of hijacking Varda's thread, (my apologies Varda) have you found that durum flour makes an incredibly fast acting starter? This has been my experience over the last month or so of playing around with it. I've started refrigerating it between builds and that has made it a lot more controllable, but I'm still finding that it goes from ripe to over-ripe very quickly. The other thing I've done is rather than use durum flour for building the starter , I've started using semolina flour instead, which slows it down as well. I assume the larger granules of grain take longer for the yeast to digest. Primarily it's a scheduling problem for me with trying to get my schedule and the starters to mesh so that I can use it at peak. I'd be interested to hear what your experiences with durum starter have been.

Franko

jcking's picture
jcking

Yes, from what I understand there's more available sugar in Durum. When I refresh it, side by side with my white starter, it's almost twice as fast to double. I keep it in the fridge, after the double, for up to five days before a new refresh. So far I've only used it in 100% Durum breads and like it. Today, picture to follow, I made pizza with the Durum starter on the outdoor gas grill; stay tuned. I hope we're not thread jacking Varda, she's got some Durum to play with. And she loves all us "Walkin' Talkin' Bread Machines."

Jim

jcking's picture
jcking

OMG, my first shot at pizza on the gas grill. I bake a pretty good pizza (lots of practice) in my inside gas oven at 550°F. This one on the outside gas grill was over the top. The outdoor grill thermo registered almost 600°F, yet it had to be higher because this one only took 6 mins as opposed to the indoor 8 mins and the outdoor one's crust was much better. The bottom is a little dark and could have been done around 5 mins. The taste was as good as it gets. The Durum gave an added hint of sweet to the dough but the crust was unbelievable. I'd like to do a comparison with my white starter, yet this was so tasty I might not bother. {:-)

Jim

varda's picture
varda

Could you perhaps do a new post about it - your formula, methods, details about your durum starter,  so it doesn't get lost at the end of this long post?  

jcking's picture
jcking

Will do. May take a couple of days, busy 3 day weekend.

Jim