The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Late to the Altamura Party!

mwilson's picture
mwilson

Late to the Altamura Party!

Since my post regarding dough rheology and the difficulties with durum wheat I have been tinkering...

I purchased 10 kilos of semola rimacinata from Italy and created a new starter spawned from my regular white lievito madre.

Procedure:

DAY1. 2200 - Refreshed and fermented for 8 hours at 28C
DAY2. 0600 - Transferred the now slightly sticky dough, wrapped and tied in cloth and left to ferment for 27 hours at 12C
DAY3. 0900 - Removed dough needed to make a loaf and reserved a piece for refreshment.

Dough:

2% sea salt
20% starter
70% water
100% flour

From mixed dough to bake was 5 hours. 

The crumb is very soft and fluffy as it should be, see video below. Crust cracked. The texture is there, I just need to work on the flavour.. 

 

Comments

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

30% half sprouted whole wheat and the rest even split between whole;  rye, barley and spelt - so it is a 100% whole grain bread with about half being sprouted.  I'm shaping it in an Altamura style though because it is fun to shape them.  

Yours looks great all the way around and very springy!  I prefer the higher 70%  hydration too - 60% is just too low for me for a bread like this.  The flavor will be hard to change using one flour without changing something else that is very good already.  Yours looks like a pretty tiny loaf compared to the ones I have seen on the Italian videos.

Good luck with the changes and happy baking Michael

mwilson's picture
mwilson

With all that sprouted wheat it's going to ferment fast. Careful you don't proof too long.

Ha, yeah it is a very small loaf. 100% flour = 225g flour! Since I'm currently experimenting I didn't wan to use too much of this expensive flour until I've nailed down the process.

Even at 70% hydration this dough was stiff to begin with, highlighting the problem with durum's resistant gluten.

Cheers Dab, a few more tweaks and I'm there!

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I certainly wish I know what the target flavor of pane di altamura was. I found mine rather uninteresting until it was dipped in olive oil. I don't know if I'll get to Altamura in this lifetime.

At any rate, you sure nailed the appearance! Congratulations! The crust is spectacular! What was your baking procedure for that loaf?

David

mwilson's picture
mwilson

Thanks David.

Today I tasted my bread and it was much more flavourful. Durum has other problems.. It typically has a high falling number, which I think is the root cause of a lack of flavour. This bread relies on a very-well fermented starter to deliver the right flavour and texture, my starter was fermented for 35 hours and still think my dough could have been more extensible!

Pane di Altamura is flavourful, it is just us that are struggling to best express durum wheat.

Thanks for your kind words. I am lucky enough to not have a problem in understanding how to shape this bread.

Knowing this bread is baked without steam I opted for vapour. I preheated my fan oven to it's max temp of 230C and slid the dough straight on to my stone and at the same time I placed a tray filled with boiling water onto the bottom of the oven and turned my fan off for the first ten minutes. I finished the bake at full temp until done, ~35 mins.

Cheers,
Michael

 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Are you recommended a long, cool starter fermentation, a fuller fermentation or both for better flavor? If I am misunderstanding how you think you can get the best flavor from the durum flour, please straighten me out.

My dough had surprising little extensibility. I had the impression, from making breads with 20% to 50% durum flour, that durum dough had more extensibility that American AP flour (although AP flours differ a lot in that regard). I confess to some confusion about where to go next with my attempts. 

David

mwilson's picture
mwilson

Did you read my post here. Compared to common wheat the gluten in durum is comprised differently leading to doughs that have high resistance and poor extensibility.

With pane di Altamura most of the fermentation is done in the starter. I can suppose this is due to durum's low stability.

As well as being the leavening agent a starter, due to it's chemical composition will also impact the behaviour of gluten. There are process that occur during fermentation that will both strengthen and a weaken the dough. I believe we need to ferment the starter to it's max before we attempt refreshments and subsequent leavening. Prolonged fermentation will promote the weakening effect which is desirable to counter durum's inherent toughness. In effect we want the starter to be a reducing agent.

I'm currently maxing out my starter, it's wrapped and tied and fermenting at 12C. Once the package starts to lose pressure I'll know it's done and ready for a refreshment. This will take a number of days!

As for flavour, durum's fermentation is deceptively fast. This is because it has a higher percentage of free sugars compared to good quality common wheat due to high starch damage especially if it is re-milled. With increased fermentation we can expect to find a deeper yellow coloured crumb, improved extensibility and better flavour.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

We had family visiting when you posted that material, and I wasn't around TFL much for a couple weeks. Thanks for the link. I have read it now.  More later.

David

alfanso's picture
alfanso

I love the depth of color, thickness and the crackling on the crust.  I concur about the uninteresting flavor of the bread to my palate, considering how much I love other semolina based loaves.  But what appeals to me and my taste does not a classic make!  I'm surprised that it is so "squishy"in the video considering the thickness and color of the crust, although maybe that's just the underside with give.

alan

mwilson's picture
mwilson

Alan, Thanks man.

I still believe durum wheat has flavour. It just needs the skill and know how to bring it's true character to the palate. I have achieved the soft crumb indicative of this bread, I just need to get that flavour!

I purposely demonstrated the "squishy" crumb to highlight how this crumb should be. Sure the underside gives more but even this firm crust is able to move and compress the crumb.

Cheers,
Michael

breadforfun's picture
breadforfun

Hi Michael,

You did a nice job on the loaf.  The crumb looks very good, too. 

As one who has experienced the "authentic" Pane di Altamura, I can make some observations that may give insights to everyone trying to reproduce this bread. In Altamura, appearance-wise, the crusts are not distinctly blistered as we tend to aim for with our naturally-leavened breads.  Also, as indicated in the regulations, they don't use steam during the initial bake, which means the crusts are not shiny and typically do not have the crackled surface.  Once the loaf is cut (or more often torn) open, the thickness of the crust stands out - the honey color extends into the crumb quite a ways; I think the regs say a minimum of 3 mm.  As for taste, I recall it being slightly sweet and nutty, but with a very subtle sour note.  Some of the flavor in the crust comes from the wood-fired traditional ovens used by the smaller bakers.  I'm not sure if the large-scale bakers use wood, as gas-fired is listed as an option.  We didn't have olive oil, but it was totally enjoyable when accompanied by local cheeses. As I understand it, the bread was developed for longevity.  Shepherds would have a loaf for a week or more while away from home tending their flocks, and it had to last without going bad. My original post (from 18 months or so ago) has a photo of a loaf we bought and consumed while there. I hope this is useful.

-Brad

mwilson's picture
mwilson

Hi Brad,

Firstly let me apologise, as I haven't responded to your comment on my thread. It's still on my list of things to do...

I certainly welcome your experience of this bread and I agree the crust shouldn't be glossy or blistered but it should be cracked and friable. The flavour is indeed mild but I know that I can obtain more with a few tweaks..

I don't have a wood fired oven so I tried to create a baking environment that was similar by using vapour.

I'm less focused on replicating pane di Altamura and more interested in baking the best loaf durum can provide with respect to the traditions of southern Italy.

Thanks for your support in this endeavour.

I hope to take a trip to Altamura soon...

regards,
Michael

breadforfun's picture
breadforfun

No apologies necessary!  I did just read your answer and left a comment.

I certainly agree that flavor should be the number one goal when making bread.  Your idea that most of the flavor in Altamura comes from the levain is intriguing and one I hadn't considered.  I've got a few more experiments going right now and hope to post next week.

-Brad