I'm beginning to tame the durum beast
I hate durum wheat. One moment it seems it doesn't want to stop absorbing water and few seconds later you find in your hands an unmanageable paste.
I've been trying to bake a decent durum wheat loaf for several months, and after countless failed attempts finally I obtained (twice in a row!) something satisfying.
Rather than using preferments (that always made matters worse for me) I prepared a straight dough with this ingredients:
-500 gr semola rimacinata (13% proteins.... if the seller is to be trusted)
-400 gr water
-10 gr salt
-20 gr butter
-20 gr of rye starter from the fridge (133% hydratation).
I used the bread machine to knead the dough, starting with 350 gr of water (with the starter dissolved within) and adding the remaining liquid in tablespoons.
Reading a description of the disciplinar of "pane di Altamura" I decided to follow the instructions (only in part, of course, or I wouldn't be myself :-) ) and rather than using a no-knead method I kneaded extensively for 30+ minutes.
After the first fermentation I gave two sets of double folds and proofed for 2 more hours, than I scored the dough 1cm deep and finally baked the bread. This one was baked at 185°C, the former one (maybe a bit taller) at 230°C, in both cases starting from cold oven.
I'm satisfied both by the soft crumb and by the intense taste.
The more I deal with durum wheat flour the more I'm convinced that you have to overknead it to make it develop the little and poor gluten it has.
Another specimen tamed, with a different recipe based on the disciplinar for Altamura bread. 70% hydratation with 20% additional biga and 1% dead yeast (it supposed to release the anti-oxidant glutathione, not expected in the dusciplinar).
The consistence of the crumb and the taste of the bread are exactly like that of Pane di Matera, the less know twin brother of Pane di Altamura.