The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Altamura Bread with Atta Flour

varda's picture
varda

Altamura Bread with Atta Flour

Franko's projects have a way of capturing my imagination.   His Altamura bread did that in spades.   Then to top it off when Sylvia showed her Altamura loaf sitting on her WFO floor, I couldn't resist.    Today I followed Franko's formula http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/24172/first-success-altamura-project to the tee.   The only problem was I didn't have the Giusto fancy durum flour - just my Golden Temple Atta.   I took Franko's advice and did the 4 Stretch and Folds in the bowl.   I wouldn't call them regular in the bowl stretch and folds though, since I used my hands and just gently manipulated the dough.   I had watched the clip of the Italian housewife (in the comments of Franko's post) handling the dough, and I tried to channel her, even though there is a big gap between us.   I also did all the mixing and initial kneading by hand.   The dough is very easy to handle and not sticky so this was fine.   It is the first time since forever that I haven't mixed in my Kitchen Aid. 

I hadn't really thought about baking with fire in, door open when I built my oven but it worked fine for one loaf.  

 

I didn't get quite as much oven spring as I would have hoped for, so I think there's plenty of room for improvement.   But I'm pretty happy with this bread.   Of course, my title is a misnomer.   This isn't Altamura bread since it's made with Atta - whole grain durum flour, most likely sourced from just about every country but Italy.   Maybe next time.

Comments

Syd's picture
Syd

Nice shaping there, Varda.  I know from my very limited experience with durum that it is a difficult flour to work with.  I see from the darkening around the top of the door of your oven that you are getting quite a lot of use out of it.  Nice baking.

Syd

varda's picture
varda

Hi Syd,  This formula is 100% durum which I think is difficult to get a feel for.   I tried this formula before and got a door stop.   The hard part seems to be getting decent dough development.   Atta is whole grain, and so is going to create a different texture bread than an extra fancy durum which I'm assuming has a lower bran content among other things, so it seems like the formula should be adjusted in some way.   Thanks for your comments. 

holds99's picture
holds99

Varda,

Crust and crumb look very nice, and lovely photos.  I'm going to have to take a shot at Franko's Altamura formula.  Looks like you've got the oven working well.  Nice job!

Howard

varda's picture
varda

Yes do try it.   The durum gives it a wonderful rich flavor.   My husband thought I had added sugar or molasses but no, just flour and water like usual.  -Varda

breadsong's picture
breadsong

Hi Varda. Thanks for your lovely reminder of Franko's Altamura bread.
Another very nice bake from your WFO - such a colorful crust, and I think you did a really good job shaping the loaf. 
:^) from breadsong

varda's picture
varda

Hi Breadsong,  I'm just plugging away here.   The shaping is a very simple matter.   Gently press out (hardly pressing at all so as not to frighten the durum) and then fold over.   Thanks for your comments.  -Varda

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Lovely color on the crust and the crumb does look like it has a warm, rich color to add a molasses flavor.  Nice shaping and it looks so cozy baking in amongest the hot coals.

Sylvia 

varda's picture
varda

to use my oven will do.   Thanks for your comments.  -Varda

Franko's picture
Franko

Hi Varda,

Oooh, your very close to having an Altamura type loaf made from Atta flour, well done, and great shaping as well! This must taste so good being being done in a WFO. The only thing I could mention in terms of "room for improvement", and which I'm sure your well aware of , is either a stronger preferment, or a longer bulk ferment at a 70-75F temp to get the most open crumb possible. 100% Durum isn't likely to give you a big, holey, crumb but it does have the ability to create a good structure. Therein lies the difficulty you referred to in Syd's post, and that I experienced during my project,

I was planning on trying it myself sometime in the next few bakes, but I can see you're at the forefront of this branch from the original project, and I'm happy to follow your lead in this. Wouldn't it be great to come up with a formula for a reliable  'Atta Altamura' that most NA TFL'rs could make and enjoy without having to find or pay for X Fancy durum flour. Why this stuff is so unavailable I'm sure has a lot to do with pasta production, but that's the dictate of the market so far, unfortunately.

I have to think that Atta will ferment even quicker than X Fancy, given the bran available in the flour so that might be something to consider on your next bake. I know that the one time I used Atta for making sour, it peaked between the last feeding, just before lights out, and the next morning, which for me is about 6-7 hours. It seems to be in the rye flour (on light steroids) timetable as far as fermentation cycles go , so that might be something to consider on the next bake.

This was one of those esoteric projects I really didn't think anyone would be interested in, but it's a real kick to know that it caught your interest . Looking forward to your next bake of the 'Atta Altamura' Varda.

Cheers,

Franko

 

       

varda's picture
varda

Franko,  A couple things about this bake:  First of all, the preferment with semolina starter base and added durum seemed to be fine.   I find that it has an almost rotten odor which is when I know it's done.   Not a nice beery odor like my regular starter.   I did the 2.5 hour BF with 4 S&F.   The dough was supple and got almost puffy between S&F so I though I was on the right track.   When it was time to first round, and then shape, I wondered if the dough was already overproofed as I left a handprint in it every time I touched it.   As a result, I cut the final proof short, to around 40 minutes - not sure if this was right or not.   Then I baked next to a small fire on a hot oven floor with door open.   Here I wonder if I had the same problem you would have if you baked without steam in a home oven which is the crust hardens too soon and so you don't get full expansion.   I know my wood oven environment is bound to be completely different from the WFOs used for the real thing.   I would be tempted next time, to just bake as usual - that is remove fire and close door at least for the first part of the bake.   I'm already pretty far from authentic as it is.   I thought that perhaps Atta would be much thirstier than X fancy and that would be a modification to make.   I did put a little extra water in the mix (a few grams) by accident but the dough was nicely workable and didn't seem to be too dry.   It may be as simple as getting a better feel for when the dough is fermented (should I have cut short the BF by half an hour?)    In any case, I'm not the expert on this.   But I will try again.   Thanks for your comments.  They're very helpful.  -Varda

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

Varda, I see you've been captured in this race of the 100% durum wheat bread. Well, given the color I guess you could call it Attamura:-)

Durum is the kind of flour that I really don't like handling, even though I like a lot bread made with it. Out of all the loaves that I made I can count very few successes. It overprooves soooo easily, it's an extremely delicate flour! Moreover I noticed that this kind of bread dries very very fast: after 2 days it's a stone.

I'm curious regarding your atta flour: is it wholemeal or partly so?

Sweetness is very common among wholemeal durum flours, a touch of it in every white loaf would be a rich addition.

I'm sure your next one will be more open, but this one must be very tasty.

  Nico

varda's picture
varda

Hi Nico,   The label says 100% whole durum wheat, so that's what I'm going by.   You can't see the bran, and it is pretty powdery but I guess that's a function of the milling.    I agree it's easier and more pleasant to just add a bit of durum flour to other things, but on the other hand, where's the challenge in that:-)  ?  Thanks for your remarks.  -Varda

Oh I meant to add - here is a shot of the crumb indoors - out of the very bright sunlight - you can see the yellow color here:

jcking's picture
jcking

Hi Varda,

I've switched from the fancy Durum to the Atta. Because it's a dollar cheaper, per bag, from KA flour. I find it easier to work with, less sweet and not as yellow. I can surely relate to Nico's experience with the fancy. Yet compared to the fancy it's still a quick fermenter and proofer. In Beranbaum's book she says the Durum has more available sugars than a AP/Bread flour. This makes sense as to the speed at which it runs.

Jim

lumos's picture
lumos

 Moreover I noticed that this kind of bread dries very very fast: after 2 days it's a stone.

I only noticed this post today, but this solved my recent mystery. I bought Altamula bread (already sliced in a pack) a couple of times from my supermarket since Juergen reported about it. He found the one he bought was bit dry and stale, so did I with mine, too,  both times, even though the second one was bought only a few hours after it's delivered.  I've been wondering if that's the characteristic of this kind of bread or whether either the supermarket or the manufacture had any quality control issue.

So maybe durum wheat doesn't retain moisture as well as other bread flour?  If that's so, it makes sense it's suitable for pasta making perhaps....

lumos

varda's picture
varda

Hi Jim, So if durum is a quick fermenter then you can't let it run too long or it will overferment before baking.   But the gluten is fragile, and needs to be handled with care so it needs gentle handling and a long ferment to develop enough strength.   Not sure how to thread this needle.    But are you saying that Atta is a faster fermenter than X fancy?    And I wonder how the Golden Temple Atta compares with the stuff King Arthur is selling.   Any idea?    Thanks.   -Varda

Winnish's picture
Winnish

Wow Varda - you're a bread expert!

I'm speechless, which doesn't happen often - (as my other half can assure you)

varda's picture
varda

mistaking enthusiasm for expertise, but I appreciate the compliment.   Happy baking!  -Varda