100% Whole Durum Boule "Attamura"
Recently I've been trying to bake a 100% Whole Durum loaf loosely following Franko's Altamura project. After a couple of attempts, I backed off and baked 40%, 60% and 80% durum loaves, trying to get a feel for working with a high percentage of durum flour. For the 40, 60. and 80% versions, I used my regular wheat starter so that at least I didn't have to worry about a whole grain starter on top of everything else. I was reasonably happy with the 40% and 60% versions and felt that I could bake them happily at any time. The 80% came out too dense - the really hard part is developing the dough without breaking the fragile gluten of the durum.
Yesterday I decided to give it another shot at 100%. I took my semolina seed starter and fed it up - then added durum in three more feedings - the third last night. There was no way I was going to leave it on the counter overnight - anything could happen while I was asleep, so I popped it in the refrigerator right after feeding, and then took it out in the morning. It only took 3.5 hours to ripen even cold from the refrigerator. So I mixed everything up by hand and proceeded with trying to develop the dough. Every half hour I rotated the bowl while using the fingers of my hand like a scoop to turn the edges into the middle, then pressed down with my palm. This seemed to me to be the happy medium between being gentle and yet still developing the dough. After two hours and the 4th scoop and press I felt there was a sudden softening of the dough which up to that time had been fairly puffy. I pressed it out into a thick disk and folded one edge on top of the other just past the middle and placed on a floured cloth, sprinkled the top with flour and covered with the end of the cloth. Then proofed for a little over an hour. Then baked as usual at 450F for 20 minutes with steam and 20 without, then 10 in the oven with the door cracked open and heat off. It got more oven spring than I expected, and while not as light as the 40 or 60% versions, nor as light as Franko's (made with more baker skill and extra fancy durum rather than whole durum) I thought it was reasonably respectable. Actually we had it for dinner with fish and sauted vegetables and it was definitely people food rather than fit for the coyotes.
This has several deviations from proper Altamura:
1. Higher percent prefermented flour because I'm just more comfortable with that
2. Whole Atta durum - that's what I have
3. No attempt to simulate WFO - I had enough balls in the air as it was
4. Higher hydration - the 80% with 62% hydration was just dry, dry, dry - it did go out for the coyotes.