The Fresh Loaf

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40% Whole Durum Boule

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varda's picture
varda

40% Whole Durum Boule

Sometimes you have to back up to move forward.   I have tried to make 100% whole durum bread a couple times and couldn't achieve a good density or crumb structure even if I was happy with other things.    I found myself decidedly confused by the durum - did it want a long ferment so that the dough could develop without a lot of manipulation, or did it need a short ferment because it develops much faster than regular wheat doughs?    I decided to back up in the percent of durum and then move forward stepwise to see what I could learn.   So last night and today, I made a sourdough boule with 40% whole durum flour.    Even though I was only at 40% I tried to use the gentle methods that durum seems to need, so I mixed everything by hand, stretched and folded in the bowl with my hands, and generally did whatever I could not to frighten the durum.    I also retarded overnight for convenience sake.    Hydration is 68%.   Prefermented flour is 23%.   I used my regular wheat with 5% rye starter.   Here are some pictures of the result:

Next up:  60% whole durum boule. 

Comments

weavershouse's picture
weavershouse

Very nice Varda, looks perfect.

weavershouse

varda's picture
varda

so much.   -Varda

wassisname's picture
wassisname

Looks like you picked the right method, that crumb looks absolutely fantastic!  Beautiful loaf, Varda, I look forward to the 60% version.

Marcus

varda's picture
varda

harder from here, so I can certainly use the encouragement.   Thanks for your remarks.  -Varda  

joyfulbaker's picture
joyfulbaker

Would love to know about the taste!

Joyful

varda's picture
varda

Compared to the 100% durum this is very mild, but still a lot of flavor.   If you baked with this high a percentage of whole wheat you would have a pretty hearty bread, but this isn't like that, even though the durum is whole grain.    So it's like eating a white sourdough but packed with a lot more flavor.   -Varda

lumos's picture
lumos

Beautiful bread, Varda! The crumb really looks yummy! 

Using durum in breadmaking is a completely unknown territory for me, the only experience being using Dove's Farm pasta flour which contains some durum flour, acording to the packet (though it doesn't say how much).  But one day....one day, maybe.....

varda's picture
varda

Lumos,   I have always loved durum bread but until recently could only find semolina which has some bread uses, but only as an add in.   I came upon a store near me that carries Atta which is a whole grain durum flour, typically used for Indian breads like chappatis,  and bought a twenty pound bag.   Since then it has been durum this and durum that.   Hopefully the store will stay in business because I'm around half way through it.   Thanks for your comments.  -Varda

lumos's picture
lumos

I only started posting regularly recently, but your posts were something I've been always looking forward to reading,  and they've always been inspirational and very enjoyable. So thank you very much for sharing loads of knowledge and ideas.....and sorry for borrowing (=stealing) your recipes/ideas secretly without a word of gratitude for years....

You know what... I'm so glad I uttered my total lack of experience in durum flour bread.  Just like you, the only 'semolina' product I can find locally is those good'ol semolina with coarse grainy texture.  I've read semolina in UK is often made from soft wheat, not from durum wheat like in US, so it's probably not really suitable to breadmaking. So I've been contemplating for along time if I should mail-order proper semolina flour from some italian food online shop、mainly because I really want to make Altamula-type bread myself someday.

But Atta flour is something I can get quite easily  locally, even some supermarkets started selling it these days, so maybe I can try using it. Can you treat it just as you do with WW flour?  My Indian friend taught me how to make chappati (she used medium Atta flour), but when I made it myself at home with my ordinary WW bread four, it was much 'breadier' than the ones made with Atta.  So I've been wondering if Atta flour is much weaker in gluten than WW bread flour. 

Best,

lumos

 

varda's picture
varda

Hi Lumos,  Thanks so much for your kind remarks.   As for Atta, I'm still trying to figure out what you can do with it.   I have added a relatively small amount to a Pain au Levain (less than 20% of flour) and found that it adds a lot of flavor without changing the basic character of the dough.   As I mentioned in another comment - equivalent amounts of whole wheat would make a very hearty bread rather than a refined one.   With durum you can maintain a fairly fine textured bread even at high percentages.  When you get higher than 20%, you have to handle with care.  Durum has a lot of gluten but it is fragile and doesn't like rough handling.   I've been gravitating toward doing everything by very gentle hand when I make breads with high percent durum flour.   In that respect it is not like whole wheat which is pretty robust and can handle being knocked around in a mixer and stretched and folded to within an inch of its life.   So I would find durum recipes and try atta in them.   Hamelman has a few that are very good if you have Bread.   Franko posted on a Semolina Filone from Maggie Glezer's book and then I posted a sourdough adaptation to the formula using Atta flour.   So those are some places to start.   Good luck.  -Varda

lumos's picture
lumos

Yes, I have Hamelman's Bread and also Maggie Glezer's book, too. 

Hmmm.....from the chapatta making,  I guessed atta flour is weaker than WW flour, I was wondering if durum from Indian wheat was weaker than that of Italian wheat, too,  but if you have experienced delicate dough with durum flourif an expert like you have to be very careful in handling, it may be better for someone like me to improve my skill before embarking on atta bread.....

Thank you very much for taking a time to explain me so kindly. Really appreciated

Kind regards,

lumos

Syd's picture
Syd

Very nice boule, Varda.  Shaping, crust, crumb and oven spring are all spot on.  Your loaves are looking better and better.  Now, I know Franko is going to step in here and tell you that 100% durum is a completely different beast from 40% durum, and from my very limited experience with the flour, I know that it is, too.  But maybe you are going the right route, increasing the percentage of durum gradually:  familiarising yourself, incrementally, with the beast, as it were. :)  I daresay you are going to pull a perfect 100% durum loaf out of the oven in the near future. :)

All the best,

Syd

varda's picture
varda

Thanks for your comments Syd.   They are much appreciated.   Well I agree with (your channeling of) Franko.   100% is a whole different ball game.   And maybe I'll just get quieter and quieter or change the subject to yeast water as I get closer to that number.  -Varda

Franko's picture
Franko

Hi Varda,

I echo Syd's opinion that you're taking the right track here on familiarizing yourself with durum flour gradually.It's a smart strategy, and one I've should have taken myself. 100% is a slightly different thing, and I'm sorry if I've come across to you or Syd as being  rigid about this aspect, cause I'm not.. by a long shot. What I'd really like to see is for you create a workable formula for a an Altamura 'type' bread using Atta flour. I'm fairly sure it can be done, and you're at the forefront of making it a reality. 

You've made a great bread with this one Varda. It looks delicious, has a beautiful translucent crumb and a crust that looks like it sang it's heart out.

Best Wishes,

Franko

Syd's picture
Syd

"and I'm sorry if I've come across to you or Syd as being  rigid about this aspect, cause I'm not.. by a long shot. "

Not at all, Franko! It is a good point that you made and I only meant it in the best of possible ways as a cautionary note to Varda. I agree 100%, it is very different from a dough made even with a small addition of regular wheat flour. You are the last person I would regard as rigid. :)
All the best,
Syd

varda's picture
varda

Hi Franko,   Thanks for your words of encouragement.   I'll see how far I can get with the ATTAmura.   But don't count on me.   Baking bread is my escape from the problems of ordinary life rather than my vocation so I hack around and have fun with it and if it gets too hard... We'll see how it goes.  -Varda

JC1957's picture
JC1957

Very nice looking loaf.

varda's picture
varda

Thanks so much!  -Varda

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

like this, Varda. Really, I can't imagine it any better!!

It really seems I have to find some durum atta, I'm beginning to feel some "pressure" and you know that I can't resist the temptation to do your breads (yesterday one again your 20% rye).

varda's picture
varda

Hi Nico,  But is all Atta alike?    If you get it in Italy will it be the same as here?   Anyhow, yes get it and let me know how it goes, and how to work with this devilish grain.  Thanks for your comments.  -Varda

joyfulbaker's picture
joyfulbaker

Thank you, Varda, for reporting the flavor.  I too found that, when I used patent durum flour in the past (which I got from NYBakers in San Diego) in the Hamelman s'dough "semolina" recipe, the flavor was delicious as well.  However, I recently made a "semolina" bread (same Hamelman recipe w/s'dough) with another type of "durum" flour (purchased at Whole Foods--maybe it was "atta"), it was a dud.  Little flavor; just threw away the last chunk of it (which I never do!).  I just bought two more bags of the patent durum from NY Bakers!  Don't know exactly what Whole Foods is selling; maybe someone else does.

Joyful

varda's picture
varda

Hi Joyful,   I haven't tried either one so can't comment on the durum you've used.   I'm using Golden Temple Atta which I bought from a local (and huge) Asian grocery in their Indian section.   But certainly the wheat is not Indian - it is labeled imported from Canada so I think it's a good bet that the durum is grown there.   It is also labeled 100% whole grain.  I am guessing that all Atta means is whole grain durum and that there is probably a lot of variation within that category.  Good luck with your baking.   -Varda

freerk's picture
freerk

Hey Varda,

What a beautiful loaf, and what superior slashing!

I never knew there is such a thing as "whole grain durum". Now I have to go and find it over here as well!

I feel the same about durum; great taste, but it is utterly confusing and frustrating at times, due to the different definitions in different cultures. I started out using durum (extra fancy/patent/double milled, or whatever they call it) getting a few K from a baker here in Amsterdam, to make Meggie Glezer's Filone (one of my favorites). That was a reliable albeit somewhat expensive option. On top of that I came back for more too often, so that finely milled durum-source dried up after a while.

Hunting for other, cheaper, sources I bought many a bag of flour, thinking it was the durum I was looking for, only to find out after opening it, that I bought another bag of... semolina, even if it said "extra fine".

Am I correct when I say that durum that is called "patent" or "extra fancy" or "double milled" is, at least in my experience, a fine white flour without any yellow in it? The flour I got from the baker was definitely not yellow and performed wonderfully in the filone (and gave the taste that I like so much).

By now I've found an alternative source that works as well, but not as wonderful as those first few times with durum. It is a yellowish flour (although much less so than semolina) that, when baked, loses its yellowness and goes off white.

Reading about your Atta flour I suddenly remembered that I have a bag of (Punjab) Atta, that I also bought hoping it would work well in filone. I never got around to trying it, though. I couldn't resist opening the bag just now, and now I'm all excited because what is in there is white, very fine flour! :-) I'm going to give it a spin and see if it performs as well as I'm hoping now!

Can't wait for the higher %!

 

Happy baking!

Freerk

 

 

varda's picture
varda

Freerk,   Thanks for your comments.   I don't know about extra fancy since I've never had the pleasure to use it but the Atta flour I'm using has an off white color and bakes to pale yellowish gray.  I hope your Filone comes out nicely and that you will post on it.    -Varda

freerk's picture
freerk

Sounds more or less like what I have in my possession.

There is only one way to find out if it works so I'll be baking my filone with Atta this weekend!

I'll report my findings!

Good luck raising the durum-bar!

Freerk

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Varda,

a beautiful loaf, the crumb is wonderfully translucent.

Atta flour is now very popular in the UK, with large milling companies rushing to supply to the Asian food market.

I understand the traditional Atta grown in the Indian sub-continent was durum, milled to wholemeal.   The versions now available in the UK are usually wholemeal, but lower extraction rates are also available.   It is still sourced from durum wheat only, I believe.   However, the durum will be from a number of different countries, as grain is now a commodity traded on the open market, and the companies producing the flour are huge.   You are probably right to suggest the flour you used comes from wholly Canadian grain.   The tariffs on grain traded between US/Canada and EU tend to mean British millers will avoid using Canadian grain unless they really have to.   It probably works the other way round too.

Just a point to make: durum is not high in gluten, to my knowledge.   It is a hard grain, very high in protein.   The quality of the gluten is generally poor, that is for sure.

Very best wishes

Andy

varda's picture
varda

Andy,  Thanks for your comments on my bread and clarifications re Atta.   As for the low vs high gluten for durum:   I was basing my remarks not on my own knowledge but on Franko's quoting Suas in a comment in his first Altamura post: 

In Ab&P P-151 regarding changes to the baking process using durum or semolina flour up to 100%, Suas says that "the higher level of protein requires more hydration and that the higher number of gluten chains require longer mixing time to properly develop gluten structure".

I interpreted the "higher number of gluten chains" to indicate high gluten which is perhaps incorrect.   It's all the same to me high or low - it is still hard to work with and has me tearing out my hair - but I certainly don't want to spread misinformation.   -Varda

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Varda,

Yes, I think I get where Michel Suas is coming from.

The key is to be aware of quality over quantity, and I gather from your last sentence above, that you are fully aware of this.

My interpretation of Suas' remark about longer mixing is that it may well take longer to develop the gluten network.   However a number of TFL posters have noted that the development needs to be achieved through gentle mixing in order not to adversely affect the dough development.   That clearly indicates low quality of gluten.

My argument has always been that quality over quantity is more important, and thus the figure for protein as quoted on the side of flour bags can only ever be seen as a rather simplistic guide to the actual gluten strength of the flour inside. 

Best wishes

Andy

Franko's picture
Franko

@ Varda and Andy,

The durum/gluten question is also touched on in Hamelman's 'Bread' pg 35-36 where he writes " that while durum flour has a higher percentage of protein than either winter or spring wheat, the protein is by no means all usable in the formation of the gluten matrix. Hamelman emphasizes the mixing, fermentation, preferments, folding, as particularly important in the production of breads made with durum flour. On pg 245 (side-note) he writes that the quality of durum is is not as good as spring or winter wheat and that durum flour mixes be slightly undermixed and then to make folds on the bench to increase strength.

Franko

 

 

ananda's picture
ananda

Thanks Franko,

I always go to that book first, and it was Mr Hamelman's comments I had in mind when I posted before.

I believe you would agree with everything he writes about durum flour after all your experimentation with the Altamura project: am I right?

Many thanks for posting the reference for others to check up.

All good wishes

Andy

ps. It is interesting to contrast what Hamelman and Suas write, as there is a clear difference of approach here from these 2 great bakers; don't you think?

jcking's picture
jcking

Hi Andy,

Semolina (Durum Flour) the preferred choice for pasta, has the strength needed to make noodles. Interesting.

Jim

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Jim,

Yes, this is true, but noodles have certain characteristics which make them very different from bread.   The hydration is lower, and there is little energy imparted to try to develop the dough.   The liquid used contains plenty of egg, which in itself adds to the way the dough performs.   I'm sure the high protein of durum is essential for good pasta making.   But good quality gluten is therefore not what is needed for good pasta.   Binding qualities, for sure, but elasticity and extensibility are what I equate to gluten, and that is not so important for pasta.   In the UK we use the term "Strong" to indicate good gluten quality.   With pasta the type of strength you draw attention to seems to me to be slightly different to the strength required for good bread.   Would you agree with this?

Best wishes

Andy  

jcking's picture
jcking

Yes Andy I agree,

Thanks for the information on noodles. Now I'm seeing the role eggs play in dough, Quite interesting how dough can be manipulated to have plastic and elastic properties.

May the goddess Isis watch over us as we turn wheat into bread,

Jim

Franko's picture
Franko

@Andy,

Regarding Suas and Hamelman's different approach, I wonder if what they're both saying is essentially the same but with Suas having a larger batch size in mind than Hamelman. Hamelman lists S&F's as a procedure recommendation for handling durum dough and which I see as impractical to do in a batch size exceeding 30-40K. Suas approach of longer mixing time to develop the gluten sounds like it might be done with that twin screw mixer you mentioned a while back, or something similar.Low speed , very gentle mixing over a longer period should accomplish the same thing as S&F's on the bench. Mark http://www.thefreshloaf.com/user/mcs  from Back Home Bakery mentioned in one of his posts that he uses the hook to do S&F's on some of his doughs during bulk fermentation. He just keeps the dough in the bowl and has the hook do a couple of laps around the bowl to achieve a S&F. I've yet to try it but coming from Mark I have no doubt it's effective.

I totally agree with all of Hamelman's points having seen them for myself in my own durum doughs, however Suas does put more emphasis on the importance of having a fairly acidic dough to help develop strength with the poor quality gluten of durum. Being able to reference both of these masters during a project has been a fantastic learning tool.

Best Wishes,

Franko

ananda's picture
ananda

That sounds right, Franko.

Artofex mixers...love 'em!!!

Very good of you to provide such clarification; nice one

Best wishes

Andy

lumos's picture
lumos

Hmmm.....Very interesting and educational discussion. 

....durum is not high in gluten, to my knowledge. It is a hard grain, very high in protein. The quality of the gluten is generally poor, that is for sure.

A true light-bulb moment! Thank you, guys! :)

...from one enlightened audience 

jcking's picture
jcking

Andy, Franko, Nico?

Am I seeing a correlation here of a rye SD starter to form a high percentage rye loaf; and a durum SD starter to develop a high percentage durum loaf? As in the SD starters helping to firm up the loaf.

Rumor has it the Beach Boys song "I get around" is dedicated to wild yeast; Jim

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

for a durum loaf. Durum wheat flour is already very  delicate on it own, thus if you add to the mix the feverish action of rye's enzymes the chances of a well developed bread will decrease.

jcking's picture
jcking

Didn't mean to imply a mixing of the two. Just similarities in function.

Jim

Franko's picture
Franko

Hi Jim,

Once again referring to Suas in AB&P pg 151, he states that "The use of a preferment is advised in order to maximize the reinforcement of the gluten network. Because of higher acidity levels, sourdough physically optimizes the strength of rye dough and makes it more tolerant to fermentation." Suas adds that "some commercial yeast should be added as well to speed up gas production and shorten fermentation time. "  I think this last point really depends on the strength of the your preferment as far as home baking goes. I believe Suas has intended this to apply more to a commercial operation making large batches.  So yes, I believe you are seeing a parallel between the two grains benefiting from a more acidic environment during ferment.

Franko