The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

First SD with Mostly Refined Flour: Pane Tipo Altamura

Elsie_iu's picture

First SD with Mostly Refined Flour: Pane Tipo Altamura

Ok…this is not 100% Semola di grano duro since there is 4.76% whole rye/whole wheat flour in the starter. Though I think it is close enough, no?



Pane Tipo Altamura


Dough flour:

300g     100%       Semola di grano duro (re-milled semolina)


For leaven:

30g       10%       Starter (mine is half whole rye half whole wheat)

30g       10%       Semola di grano duro from dough flour

30g       10%       Water


For dough:

270g       90%        Semola di grano duro from dough flour

206g     68.7%       Water

90g         30%        Leaven

5g         1.67%       Salt



315g      100%       Total flour

251g     79.7%       Total hydration


Combine all leaven ingredients and let sit until doubled, around 3 hours.

Roughly combine the flour and water under dough ingredients, autolyze for 1 hour. Knead in the salt and starter, let the dough rest for 15 minutes. Construct a set of stretch and fold at the 30 and 60 minutes marks. Ferment for 1.5 hours longer.

Preshape the dough then let it rest for 15 minutes. Shape the dough and put in into a banneton. Retard for 8 hours.

Remove the dough from the fridge to warm up for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven at 250°C/482°F.

Score and spritz the dough then bake at 250°C/482°F with steam for 15 minutes then without steam for 20 minutes more or until the internal temperature reaches a minimum of 203°F. Let cool for at least 2 hours before slicing.


This bake was inspired by quite a few bakers (David, Breadsong and Brad). Tom introduced Pane Tipo Altamura to me as he brought it up in our conversation. I was curious about the taste of 100% durum bread and was intrigued by its golden crumb so I gave it a try.



I have likely over-proofed the dough so the scoring doesn’t really show. However, the crust developed quite a lot of blisters, which is pretty shocking to me. It makes me shiver after staring at them for too long…not that I am complaining.



The dough felt quite stiff so the crumb isn’t too open as I have expected. The bread has a bit of chew despite its moistness. It is subtly sweet with very little sourness.



Have a bright week!



Our Crumb's picture
Our Crumb

Now you've got me re-thinking my disappointments with durum.

Nice loaf, Elsie!

And yes, the week got a bit brighter here in the USA yesterday.


Elsie_iu's picture

but unlike whole durum flour, this refined version seems not to impart the same dry texture to bread. I however, do think it is thirstier than refined wheat flour. Don't take my word for it though: I have zero experience in making white SD bread :)

I wouldn't be baking this if you hadn't introduced Pane Tipo Altamura to me. That means some of the credit should go to you too, in addition to the others who I took reference from. 

Thanks for the compliment, Tom! Glad you have enjoyed sunnier weather!


Our Crumb's picture
Our Crumb's the politics that's finally showing a break in the clouds.  Sunny weather is plentiful here in California, at least this time of year.

Yes, that's our challenge with fine durum.  Everything we bake, both bread and pastries, is made with a minimum of 50% home-milled whole grains, durum included (for pizza, pasta).  When I brought home that bag of Semola di Grano Duro Rimacinata, I suddenly realized This stuff is essentially white durum flour.  What am I going to do with that?  I hadn't come up with anything until I saw your bake that reminded me of the best Altamura loaves I've seen and craved on Fresh Loaf, from Varda, Franco, Golgi70/Josh, David Snyder and others I'm forgetting.  So I'm ready to try substituting some of the 40-50% AP in our bread with this "white" durum.  Should be interesting.

Also inspired by you: I toasted, ground and fine-milled some popcorn the other day, mixed it with some untoasted, milled white wheat and dent corn and made Pan Meino (aka, Pan de Mej), a traditional N Italian sweet for Ognissanti - All Saint's Day (1 Nov).  Delicious.  Will post at some point.

Now you have to repeat that Altamura, but get more authentic by shaping it in the traditional "monk's cap"! :-)

Thanks Elsie!



Elsie_iu's picture

I'm probably not a very perceptive person...

Speaking of durum pasta, I often feel very puzzled about the colour of commercial whole durum dried pasta. All of the brands I've encountered produce 100% whole durum wheat pasta that's brown in colour. However, those of us who work with freshly milled durum flour know that it is in fact golden yellow/ light golden brown in colour... Does you homemade pasta with whole durum come out yellow too? I'm wondering if it has something to do with freshly ground flour or it's about variation among grain sources. 

Although I'm sure their taste is completely different, the appearance of Pan Meino reminds me of a Chinese pastry, 光酥餅, or some translate it to Chinese shortbread (not very appropriate in my opinion). I'm glad my bake can be an inspiration for a proficient baker like you :) 

I shied away from shaping the Altamura the traditional way since it wouldn't get the support from a banneton that way. This also means that I couldn't retard the dough given the little room I have in the fridge. Free-form loaves take up far more spaces than loaves placed in the banneton...Hopefully I'll go for the authentic look some day though.

Please share your bake result with "white" durum in addition to your recipe of Pan Meino. I'm certain many of us would be interested in it!

Filomatic's picture

Nice bake for sure.

Elsie_iu's picture

It surely tastes good for bread with so much refined flour. 

DesigningWoman's picture

it's gorgeous! 

Colors in crust and crumb, blisters, lacy innards. Really tip -top!

Enjoy it!


Elsie_iu's picture

I'm starting to understand why refined flour was invented in the first place: it's so much easier to work with than whole grain flour! Mastering it is one thing but getting ok-looking crumb and crust is another, which is fuss-free in general.

Not sure if it's "tip-top" but thanks for the kind words, Carole!

not.a.crumb.left's picture

and I totally fall for that yellow colour of the Semola Durum...

I use it normally in the region of 15-20% and you inspired me to go all the way with it another time!

Do you find that the crust it quite crunchy especially when toasted?

Another one for my list to follow.... Kat

Elsie_iu's picture

The yellow crumb is the most attractive feature this bread has in my opinion :)

Working with semola shouldn't be much different than working with white flour, I guess. I'm sure you'd have no problem swapping all white flour for semola! 

Indeed the crust is crunchier than most bread when fresh or toasted, with the exception of that with cheese. The blisters add another layer of texture so it feels like eating puffed crackers when biting into them... 

Glad you like the bread, Kat!


dabrownman's picture

Durum semolina at 80% hydration is the Altamura way.  A hot oven, a light touch and no more than 90% proof is the way to an open crumb with great spring and bloom.  You are already 90% of the way there.  The 3 B's are nearly there.  So where is the food!  Bread is one thing, all well and good, but it is naked without the food:-)   

Nice blister baking Elsie!

Elsie_iu's picture

but since you're so impatient, I'll give you a peek :)

Italian seafood stew with toasted pane tipo altamura

I let the dough proof for longer than I would for 100% whole grain dough yet I was unsure how far it should go... The dough wasn't very proofy at 2 hours bulk so I left it to ferment for longer: mistake no. 1. It didn't rise a lot after the retard, therefore it was allowed to warm up on the bench for another 30 minutes: mistake no. 2... I was shocked that it puffed up quite a lot, which was more than I wanted, after the room temperature warm-up.

I'll be conducting an experiment with sprouted grains on the weekend. I hope it'll be a success!

pul's picture

Lovely bake with a nice crumb and pretty color. I also lack some practice with semolina, so i guess it is a good thing to try it again

Elsie_iu's picture

Semola is definitely a good choice for those who prefer sweet SD to tangy one. It has a milder "grain" taste yet it's not as bland as refined wheat flour.

I'm sure you'll do just fine including more semolina/semola in you formula since it's a pretty forgiving flour in my opinion. Happy baking!

Abe's picture
Abe (not verified)

Looks delicious. Durum flour totally lacks any tang and can over ferment quickly. Everything about your bake is typical of this grain.

To really bring out the best with this bread, toast it and eat with olive oil.

Bon Appetit.

Elsie_iu's picture

since I can't eat it straight out of the freezer :) It's how I defrost it in under 3 minutes. I seldom eat bread with olive oil though as other 100% whole grain bread I baked is flavourful enough to be served plain. However, pane tipo altamura is on the mild side when it comes to flavour so dipping it in olive oil is a really nice idea. 

Thanks for the suggestion and compliment, Abe!

isand66's picture

I'm sure you know I love durum flour as well.  Love the color on this one and I'm sure the slight over-proof didn't effect the flavor too much.  That stew looks amazing by the way!

Happy Baking.


Elsie_iu's picture

It was really good! How could it be otherwise when an entire bottle of clam juice and half a cup of wine wine went into it? I don't like to dip bread in soup since it makes the bread soggy but a lot of people seem to enjoy it that way... I ate them by their own anyway :) That way I could better appreciate both of them.

Yes I know you love durum. Your frequent use of it was actually one of the reasons why I decided to try it. It has similar taste with kamut in my opinion but I prefer kamut since it gives a springier bread texture. Whole durum flour can make bread a tad dry sometimes... It's not the case for semola but whole durum is at least 10 times more flavourful. And don't let me start on the topic of freshly milled sprouted durum. Though when you include the price factor, durum definitely wins out!

Thanks for the compliment. Now I've to start brainstorming on Thanksgiving bread after seeing how creative yours was (even if we don't celebrate it in HK)!