The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

idaveindy's blog

idaveindy's picture

The double entendre exists in French and Spanish as well; as exhibited by this playful baker:

The bakery is here:

Scroll down, click on "Voir la galerie" , then side-scroll to see photos.


idaveindy's picture

(From comments to another user.)

I too experienced what you call the bubble gum effect. I called it "gooey gluey paste".

If I may...:

There are three steps needed:

1. don't give it all the hydration at once. If you give it all the water at once, the finer particles or the bran locks up the water, and it will never leave the glue state.  However, even with the lower hydration, it will be gummy/gluey, but only temporarily so.

My WW durum (store bought, roller milled, Sher Fiber Wala) is like this:

a) if I give it 85% water up front, it becomes _permanent_ gluey paste. Nothing will then change it to workable _dough_.

b) If I give it 77% water up front, it becomes gluey paste (bubble gum), but in about 3 hours it absorbs the water and becomes workable dough, to which I can add 12% more water in 3 steps of 4% each.

2. Wait 3 to 8 hours. Durum is glassy, glass-like, aka vitreous, which slows water absorption. Its flour is not powdery like wheat, it is glass-like shards. Tiny shards, but not a "powder" like red or white wheat. 

3.  Add the final water slowly, in 2 or 3 steps, or it will enter permanent glue state again.  Add, wait, add, wait, add, wait.


I think you are possibly operating under three misunderstandings:

1. What you are sifting out might not be the bran.  The seive only knows the size of the particles, not where they come from. What if the larger particles are the hard glass-like endosperm, and the small particles are the more easily broken down and softer bran?

Suggestion: don't sift, at least for now.  Sifting is just adding another variable.

Durum is not the same species as wheat.    same genus, different species.  NOT just a different variety/strain like red/white or hard/soft.    Therefore..... as we learn to use it, all assumptions about how the flour should behave have to be abandonded because it is not "common wheat".  It is Triticum Turgidum Durum, not Triticum Aestivum.

Therefore, don't assume  that what is retained in the seive is mostly bran, or most of the bran.   

In other words:  Durum does not and can not mill and break down like red/white wheat because it is not red/white wheat.  It is a different species of plant.

2. To get rid of the gummy gluey paste, the solution is not less water. The solution is time time time, and more water added slowly in stages.

3. Being whole grain, the flour you and I are working with needs more water than the other bakers who are using endosperm-only durum.  Our hydration will need to be in the 85% to 90% range.

Side note: semolina and semolina rimacinata does not behave like this, so the "culprit" must be the bran.  The bran is somehow interfering with how our flour hydrates, so we need to figure out a different approach to how we hydrate our whole grain durum.

Note:  bran absorbs water differently (different speed and different amount) than endosperm.  You already know this:  WW just hydrates and handles differently than white endosperm-only flour.

again, Note: Durum bran is going to behave differently than red/white wheat bran. If durum is not red/white wheat, then durum bran is likewise not red/white bran.  How is it different?  Let's abandon assumptions and explore!

(the first assumption to abandon is that what was retained in the seive is bran. So to simplify, do.... not..... sift.)

I think I figured this out with Kamut which is closer to durum than to red/white wheat. Kamut is also vitreous / glassy like durum.

I have made home-milled Kamut, but not durum.

And what made my home milled Kamut "bakeable" for me was.... soak time.


Your stone ground whole grain durum will have larger particles than my roller milled whole grain durum.  So... that initial wait time after you add the first water at  77% could be as high as 8 hours as opposed to my 3 hours for roller milled whole grain durum.


What I suggest is ___establish a hydration baselne__, like how I discovered my 77%.

Take 4 bowls. Put 100 grams unsifted durum, and 2 grams salt, in each.  Hydrate each one differently: 70%, 75%, 80%, 85%.  

Cover and let stand 8 to 12 hours.  Then... knead each sample... and see which ones are now workable dough, and which ones are still gluey paste.

The highest hydration that is workable dough is your first iteration or approximation of a baseline.

Forget, toss out, the higher hydration samples that are still gluey after the 8 hours. In my experience, something happens, where you can't "undo" the gluey nature. Again, the notion that we can "correct" the glue situation by adding flour ..... comes from our experience with red/white wheat, and durum is just not going to act like red/white wheat.  (Maybe there is a "fix", but I haven't discovered it yet.)

Now... Add 4 grams water to the lower hydration samples that became workable dough.

The samples will all likely turn to gluey paste, which happens to me.  but as before... give them time. Say 45 minutes.

The question now becomes....  how high hydration can you go and still have the "paste" revert to "workable dough" after giving it time to absorb?

so.... 77%, wait 8 hours, add 4%, wait 45 minutes, add 4%, wait 45 minutes.

But now, don't throw out anything that is still paste after 45 minutes. Just set it aside and see if it just needs more time. Your magic wait period might be 60 minutes.

My answer for roller milled flour is 30 min wait times and a max 92%.  But I can still get a good loaf at 89%, which is what I shoot for now.

Yours could be more or less, as your durum grain might have more or less native moisture.  And your time-to-absorb will be be longer than mine due to home-milling likely creating larger particles than roller-milled.


idaveindy's picture

Feb. 16, 2021.

This is my 8th bake for the durum Community Bake. The previous bake, #7, a tortilla/chapati, is at:


Submitted to the durum Community Bake at:


As a result of experimenting with 3 "mini-bakes" (38.1, 38.2, 38.3), I think my "baseline" for hydrating this whole grain durum is to soak it several hours at 77% hydration, and after the soak slowly bring it up to 89% hydration for the bulk ferment, adding the additional 12% water in two steps to avoid excess stickiness.

Going directly to 89% hydration turns the dough into a sticky paste that makes it more or less unworkable.  But hydrating it slowly, allows it to stay in the form of a workable dough.


Goals/plan:  Use 640 grams of total flour to get a 9" diameter boule, 80% whole wheat durum (Sher Fiber Wala. see: ), 20% KA bread flour, do a three stage hydration of the durum (add 77% H2O, soak, add 6%, wait, add 6%), 5% chia, 1% nutritional yeast (add after the first soak, with the first 6% water), use sourdough starter -- no commercial yeast.

I forgot to include the starter's flour and water in the calculations and ended up with 77% durum instead of 80%.  

I ended up doing a four-stage water addition, not three. And at the last minute decided to leave out the nutritional yeast.

I hadn't planned on adding oil, but during the preparation of the soaker, the dough stuck to the bowl, so I added about 1 tbsp of regular olive oil. I added one more tbsp of regular olive oil during stretch and folds.

-- Here we go:

1:20 pm - Mix 512 grams Sher Fiber Wala whole grain durum, 10.2 grams salt, 394 grams of bottled spring water. Knead until well mixed. Put in quart size zippered storage bag, put in oven, about 68 degrees F.

4:00 pm - Slowly work in 20 grams more water. Oops, need to transfer it to a gallon bag.

5:55 pm - Slowly work in 20 grams more water.  The dough is now more pliable / extensible. Put a few drops of regular olive oil in the bag, to prevent sticking.

 8:10 pm - Slowly work in 21 grams more water.  

8:20 pm - Make a separate dough of 128 g King Arthur bread flour. 84 g water, 2.5 g salt.

- Make a soaker of 32 g whole chia seed, 20 g ground flaxseed, and 86 g boiling water.

- while soaker was cooling, mixed the KABF dough into the durum dough.

- Mixed the soaker into the dough.

- added 1 tbsp olive oil.

- decided to leave out the nutritional yeast.

[ 1:20 pm - 9:10 pm. 7 hours 50 minutes - non-fermenting soak/hydration, with salt, of the WW durum.]

 - Finally remembered the starter. Should have mixed it into the KABF dough, and soaker.  Mixed 51 g starter (my home-brewed from old red wheat) into the main dough.

9:14 pm - finished mixing / kneading.

Dough weight at beginning of bulk ferment: 1292 grams.


Formula stats / percentages:

Total flour: 512 + 128 + 25 (starter) = 665.

Total Water, not counting soaker: 394 + 61 + 84 + 25 (starter) = 564.

Grand Total water: 394 + 61 + 84 + 86 (soaker)+ 25 (starter) = 650.

% hydration not counting soaker:  564 / 665 = 84.8%.

Grand total hydration, including soaker: 650 / ( 665 + 52 ) = 650 / 717 = 90.6%.

% pre-fermented flour: 25 / 665 = 3.7%.

% whole grain: 512 / 665 = 77%.


10:04 pm - stretch and fold.  Added one more tbsp regular olive oil at some point -- for a total of 2 tbsp oil.

10:55 pm - stretch and fold.

Left in cold oven, about 68 F.


Feb. 17, 2021.

[ 9:10 pm - 5:45 am.  8 hours, 35 minutes bulk ferment, cool room temp ~68 F. ]

5:45 am - fold, shape,  put in lined and dusted banneton and back in cold oven.

7:50 am - put banneton in fridge. Start oven warm up to *495 / 470 F.

[ 5:45 am - 8:50 am. 3 hours, 5 minutes final proof. ]

8:50 am- bake covered, 475 / 450 F. 15 minutes.

9:05 am -  bake covered, 450 / 425 F. 15 minutes.

9:20 am -  bake uncovered, 425 / 400 F. 25 minutes. 

 9:45 am - done, looks nice, internal temp 209.3 F.

11:35 am - Not satisfied with how it "thumps" at center of bottom of loaf, so I put it in pre-heated 375 / 350 F oven for 10 minutes. Tested again. Baked for another 3 minutes -- 13 minutes total. It now sounds good when thumped on bottom at center.


* First temp is the oven thermostat setting, second temp is a thermometer reading. Oven appears 25 degrees off, if my thermometer is correct.


idaveindy's picture

Feb. 15, 2021.

This is bake #7 in the durum Community Bake.  Previous bakes, #4, 5, and 6 are at:

  • Whole grain durum flour, Sher Fiber Wala from Brar Mills, 100%.
  • 77% water, room temp 70 F.
  • 2% salt. (store-bought tortillas usually have more salt than this)

Mix and then knead a few minutes until mostly smooth.

Let rest at least 60 minutes. Durum takes a while to absorb water.

Knead for a few more seconds.

Separate/weigh-out a 62 gram piece of dough. 

I use a center-bulge wooden rolling pin. Straight cylinder rolling pins tend to make square dough pieces when I used them. 

I put a few drops of grapeseed oil on the rolling pin and spread it around on the pin, so it won't stick to the dough. And it imparts just the right amount of oil to the dough.

I roll the dough and rotate it 90 degrees, doing that 4 times, then flip and repeat, until it makes a rough circle 8" in diameter.

I cook on a Lodge cast iron 9.25" diameter griddle.  If you don't oil the rolling pin, spread 2 or 3 drops of oil on the griddle and spread it with a paper towel.

The griddle is pre-heated at setting 3 or 3.5 out of 10 on my electric stove-top burner.

I cook the first side only 30 seconds, to set it, then flip. Then I cook the second side until it is has the right amount of brown spots,  pressing down with a spatula all around so it cooks evenly, because it will inflate. Then I flip it back to the first side, and finish cooking it, again pressing all around with a metal spatula.

If you don't eat it immediately, put it in a "tortillera" container, or wrap in aluminum foil, or let cool a few seconds and put it in a sealable plastic bag. This is so the inner moisture migrates out and softens the surface.  

You should not cook it until the skin is crispy, but it will dry out if you don't enclose it in something. In a few minutes, the tortilla/chapati will be soft and flexible.


Submitted to the durum Community Bake here:

The paper plate in the photos is 9" in diameter.



Next bake, #8 for the durum Community Bake is at:

idaveindy's picture

Feb. 14, 2021.

Woo hoo! Progress!  

This post consists of bakes # 4, 5, and 6 of the durum Community Bake. Previous bake, # 3, is at:

I finally, in bake 38.3,  made a mostly-WW durum mini-loaf (75% Fiber Wala, 25% KABF) that is worthy of sharing with others, bake 38.3.

This particular loaf was too small to share, about 220 grams dough weight, so it will be eaten up in an hour or two.

I did three things at once, so I'm not sure which were crucial/critical. 

  • two stage hydration.
  • 25% KABF.
  • 1% nutritional yeast.

First off, this Fiber Wala durum flour needs about 89% hydration. But, it you autolyse/soak it with that much, or even 85%, you get a super-sticky paste that is near impossible to work with.


Okay, backing up to the beginning of this three bake series.... 38.1

Feb. 11/12:  So in mini-bake 38.1 (100 grams flour), I hydrated it at 77%, and it was not sticky. This was with 2% salt in the soak. I soaked it over night, and it was still not sticky the next day. Then I slowly added water, 3 grams at a time, 5 times, resulting in +15% or 92% total.  Got a good crumb. Sorry, didn't take pics.


Feb. 12/13: Mini-bake 38.2, 100 grams Fiber Wala, no salt, 85% hydration up front. It was too sticky up front, so I put a little oil in the baggie that I stored it in. Next day, even stickier. Added 2% salt and still sticky, it did not firm up. Still a "paste" more than a dough.

Added 4% more water, for a total of 89%. Baked it after only a little fermentation. Sort of a decent crumb, showing that hydration was good, but poor fermentation, because I was in a hurry.


So here is my deduction/assumption:  The bran in this WW durum absorbs water faster than the endosperm of durum. And at a certain percentage, somewhere between 77 and 85%, the bran turns excessively sticky (low/no-bran durum never get this sticky) and then... it's as if the bran never releases the excess water.  As if the endosperm can never "take back" the excess water that the bran gobbled up.


Feb. 13/14: Mini-bake 38.3, pics below. This time used one of my "combo" recipes that I sometimes use for pizza dough, usually with regular WW, but now testing with durum.

75% Fiber Wala, 25% King Arthur bread flour, 2.5% whole dry chia, 2.5% ground flax, .33% instant dry yeast, 7.5% of 100% hydration starter, 1% nutritional yeast.

The procedure this time was to hydrate the Fiber Wala at 77% and after the soak, bring it up to 89%.

The soak here had everything up front, flour, water, salt, chia, flax, IDY, starter, nutritional yeast.

I think I gave it about 30 minutes rest at room temp. Then overnight in the fridge.

I assumed the KABF portion wanted 70% hydration. So keeping that fixed, the 77% to 89% hydration was calculated just on the Fiber Wala portion.  Example:

  • 120 gr FW @ 77% = 92.4 gr.
  • 40  gr KABF@ 70% = 28 gr.
  • (160 gr total flour).
  • 120 gr FW @ 12% = 14.4 gr

So for the 160 grams of flour, I used 92.4 + 28 = 120 grams water for the soak.

Then the next day, added 14.4 grams water after the soak.

The14.4 grams of water at once did make it sticky, but not as bad as when 85% or 89% had been added at once on prior bakes.

Admittedly, this assumes the KABF "stands pat" at 70%, not giving up, nor taking away water from the durum.

So, the next bake, #39, or "mini bake" 38.4, will have an overnight soak at 77%, but the added 12% will be done in two stages: +6%, an hour or so rest, then another 6%.

Whether it is absolutely needed or not, the 25% KABF and the 1% nutritional yeast will have to be played with, to determine how much they factor in.

But for 75% whole grain, this was a superb crumb. Very worthy of showing off to friends and neighbors.

My next goal, is to push/tweak this to 90% Fiber Wala. 


Submitted to the durum Community Bake here:


Note: there is another user who recently posted a bake with whole grain durum in Greece, or at least with Greek flour. They complained about the excess stickyness and paste like nature of the dough.  This two-stage (or three stage, doing two separate additions of water after the overnight soak) hydration process should be good news.




Next bake, # 7 for the durum community bake, a tortilla/chapati, is at:

idaveindy's picture

Feb. 9 - 10, 2021.

This is my 3rd bake for the Durum Community Bake. Previous blog entry, bake #2, for this CB is at:

Goals here are:

  • Increase the soak,
  • more fermentation (inoculation + time),
  • use less WW durum as a percentage -- it's just too sticky!
  • use some semolina (gritty type, and low bran) to keep the % durum high.


Link back to the CB comment for this bake:


  • 69.5% WW durum flour, Sher Fiber Wala. 532 + 51 = 583 g. 
  • 12.4% regular semolina, low/no bran, the normal gritty stuff. 76 + 7 + 21 = 104 g.
  • (81.9% total durum: WW Fiber Wala + semolina). 583 + 104 = 687 g.
  • 18.1% King Arthur bread flour. 103 + 49 in starter = 152 g.
  • Total flour = 583 + 104 + 152 = 839.
  • 72.7% hydration. (not counting chia add-in.) 532 + 49 + 29 = 610 g.
  • 5.84% pre-fermented flour. 49 / 839.  (98 g of 100% hyd. starter.)
  • 3% dry whole chia seeds.  25 g.
  • Salt 17.0 g / 839 = 2.03%
  • 2 hours, 24 minutes soak.
  • 5 hours, 16 minutes bulk ferment.
  • 11 hours, 52 minutes final-proof in fridge.
  • 55 minutes total bake. 30 min covered. 25 minutes uncovered.


Wed., Feb. 10, 2021.

9:13 am - Pre-heat oven to 490 / 465 F. (oven thermostat versus add-in thermometer.)

Baked on the 3.2 qt combo cooker lid, 9" i.d., with parchment paper and a little corn meal.

10:12 am - Bake, covered, at 475 / 450 F, 15 minutes.

10:27 am - Bake, covered, at 450 / 425 F, 15 minutes.

10:42 am - Bake, uncovered, at 425 / 400 F, 20 minutes.

11:02 am - The thump wasn't quite enough, and crust could be darker.

11:02 am - Bake, uncovered, 425 / 400 F, 5 minutes.

11:07 am - 208.8 F internal temp. Thumps okay.

11:19 am - loaf weight = 1327 g, 2.92 pounds.


Next bakes, 4, 5, and 6 are at:

idaveindy's picture

Friday Feb. 5, 2021.

This is my 2nd loaf in the Semolina/durum Community Bake. Previous loaf here:

The goals here are to use mostly whole grain durum with a portion of bread flour to get a better crumb, and  to use enough sourdough starter and instant dry yeast to bake it tonight.

Here's the link to the community bake:

and the specific comment:

One of my over-arching goals in bread-making is to use a high percentage of whole grain, and this whole grain durum fits the bill. See my previous blog post for a photo of the flour package, purchased from a Patel Brothers grocery:

 10:05 am - short soak of the WW durum to get it hydrated.

  • 560 g of whole grain durum, "Fiber Wala" from Sher Brar Mills.
  • 539 g bottled spring water.

10:45 am - mix in:

  • 40 g of 100% hydration starter, 3 days in fridge since last fed, with KABF.
  • 140 g KABF, King Arthur bread flour.
  • 1/8 tsp instant dry yeast.
  • 14.3 g salt. Salt and IDY were dispersed in the KABF prior to mixing into the main dough.
  • 28 g more water.

11:00 am - finish mixing and a little kneading. Dough weight per scale: 1304 g. 

Put in oven with light on.

Total flour = 560 WW durum + 20 in starter + 140 KABF = 720 g.

Total water = 539 + 20 in starter + 28 = 587 g. 

Hydration = 587 / 720 = 81.5 %.

% WW = 560 / 720 = 77.8 %.

%PFF = 20 / 720 = 2.78%.

11:30 am - Stretch and fold.

12:30 pm - Stretch and fold.

1:30 pm - Stretch and fold.

2:20 pm - Stretch and fold.

3:00 pm - Stretch and fold.

[ 11:00 am - 4:20 pm:  5 hours, 20 minutes bulk ferment.]

4:20 pm - final fold, shape, put in lined and dusted 9.15" I.D. banneton.

5:25 pm - put in fridge. 1 hour 5 minute room temp proof.

Pre-heated oven to 475 / 450 F.  (1st number is thermostat setting, 2nd is an oven thermometer.)

Transfered dough to lid of Lodge combo cooker, 9" inner diameter.

[ 5:25 pm - 8:04 pm:  2 hours, 39 minutes fridge proof.]

8:04 pm - bake, covered, 450 / 425 F. 22 minutes. (Intended 20 min, but was doing laundry.)

8:26 pm - bake, covered, 425 / 400 F. 8 minutes.

8:34 pm - bake, uncovered, 425 / 400 F. 20 minutes.

8:54 pm - crust was not dark enough, continue baking.

8:54 pm - bake, uncovered, 425 / 400 F. 5 minutes.

8:59 pm - Crust looks dark enough, underside thumps well, internal temperature is 209.1 F.

My next, third, Durum CB bake here:

idaveindy's picture

Feb. 3, 2021.  For the Durum Community Bake!

I've spent over a year touting durum flour (the finely ground flour, not just the gritty durum semolina) from Indian grocery stores... so I felt I had better walk-the-walk and join this Community Bake.

I haven't done actual durum flour since getting into sourdough --  but did use some durum semolina in recent bakes. One was 100% semolina, except for the bread flour in the starter,

Here's a photo from my kitchen/stove as evidence of which variety I got, Fiber Wala, from Sher Brar Mills of Canada:


Patel Brothers grocery was all out of their house brand whole grain durum, so I bought this at $12.99 for 20 pounds.

I stopped by a friend's house on the way back from the store and gave him about 4 pounds, since it will take a while to use this up.

The package calls this "whole wheat" but I'm not convinced it is 100% extraction.


  • 553 g Fiber Wala durum flour. 3 cups, not sifted, using "scoop and sweep".
  • 11.0 g salt
  • 1.0 g instant dry yeast. 1/4 tsp.
  • 470.5 g bottled spring water. 470.5 / 553 = 85% hydration.

That it easily took 85 % hydration, I take to indicate that it is high extraction, if not 100% extraction.   I had started at 69.6% hydration (385 g water) and it was too dry, so I kept adding water until it felt right.  Fortunately, I weighed the water at each addition.

Mixed, rested it a bit, kneaded it by hand for a few minutes.  There were some small lumps that disappeared during kneading. I take this to mean that the flour should have been sifted or otherwise fluffed up before mixing.

Drizzled a little regular olive oil on the dough ball, turned to coat, covered bowl with plastic wrap and put in oven to rise.

12:40 pm.  Start bulk ferment (when yeast was wetted, not at end of mix/knead). Dough ball weighed 1014 g, not counting what stuck to the bowl and my fingers.

1:32 pm - Stretch and fold. Dough is now nicely hydrated and supple. No tearing while stretching.

2:25 pm - stretch and fold.

[ 12:40 - 3:32 pm. 2 hours 52 minutes bulk ferment. ]

3:32 pm - stretch and fold. I realized this was progressing faster than I planned. So, remembering the CB talk about short or no bulk ferment, I decided to shape and start the final proof. I put it back in the oven, as opposed to the fridge, and left to do my errands.

6:04 pm - Returned and upon inspection, I realized it might have over-proofed. Took it out of oven and started pre-heat at *475 / 450 F.

[ 3:32 - 6:50 pm. 3 hours 18 minutes final proof.]

6:50 pm. Start bake. Covered, 450 / 425 F.  15 minutes.

7:05 pm. Covered, 425 / 400 F. 15 minutes.

7:20 pm. Uncovered, 425 / 400 F. 20 minutes.

7:40 pm. Interior temperature 208.5 F. Thumps well. 

(* first number is the oven's thermostat setting, second number is temp reading of a cheap oven thermometer.  The thermometer reads 25 degrees cooler in the 400+ range.



Next bake, my #2, in the Semolina/Durum Community Bake:

idaveindy's picture

Jan. 28 - 29, 2021.

I think this was my first attempt at an angled score cut. It came out good. I scored the dough after putting it on the pre-heated dutch oven (combo cooker) lid.

I accidentally hit the dough with the edge of the cover as I was putting the cover on. So that made the sloppy mark on top. Otherwise it would have been a nice square "hat." Note to self: next time, do some more scoring on the center top.

This has my usual add-ins, hot-soaked this time: whole chia seeds, ground flaxseed, poppy seeds, whole caraway seeds, quick oats, powdered milk.

The ground/toasted bread spice was not put in the soaker, or dispersed in the K.A. bread flour, but should have been -- it did not mix well with the dough.  

I increased the amount of ingredients in order to fill out the 9" inner diameter cooking surface of the lid. After cooling, I will age the loaf for another 20 (22 hours total since end of bake) in a 2-gallon zipper bag.





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