The Fresh Loaf

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idaveindy's blog

idaveindy's picture

May 1, 2021.

This was an experiment to see if a 1000 g 93% WW dough could be baked in my low profile toaster oven.

I used a 10.25" diameter Lodge cast iron pan with two short handles.

I took out the toaster oven's rack, and used a smaller 7" diameter Lodge cast iron serving griddle/plate as a stand-off to hold the 10.25" pan off/above the heating elements' shields.

I baked it for 11 minutes at 450 F, and 23  min at 400 F, with bottom heat. Then 7 minutes at 400 F with bottom and top heat to brown the top.

The bottom was burned, and the rest slightly undercooked/wet. I did not bake off enough water,

I had rushed things, and it was underfermented too.  It was edible, but not pleasant.

The geese on the canal in Broad Ripple liked it.

idaveindy's picture

First loaf-bread bake with Patel's house brand 100% WW stone ground durum. For a picture of the bag, see here:

It was $7.99 for a 20-pound bag, $.40/pound.  Ingredient list is just "durum whole wheat."  No enrichments.

I've done tortillas, pizza crust (didn't let it autolyse/soak enough), and noodles, but this was the first loaf bread with this flour.

I learned from using the Sher Fiber Wala (from Brar Mills) 100% whole grain roller-milled flour, that WW durum takes a while to absorb the water -- and now even more so with the grittier stone ground flour.

Patel brand stone ground WW durum is not as gritty as semolina. Semolina has bigger particle sizes than this: and semolina is only about .8% ash, whereas whole grain durum is about 1.6% ash.

So I planned a long autolyse/soak, with salt, but no yeast/levain. It ended up being 4 hours and 50 minutes before I added instant dry yeast. This was at room temp, about 72 F.

I started out with 520 grams of the stone-ground WW durum, 2% salt, and 70% water.

After 2 hours I slowly added more water, 2% at a time, kneaded it in, until I got to 88% hydration.

I could still feel some mild grittiness, so more autolyse could have worked.

Then I added the 1/4 tsp instant dry yeast, folded it in, and added 1% more water for a total of 89%.

Bulk ferment (first rise)  was about 3.5 hours. I did a few stretch and folds. 

At some point during bulk ferment, the grittiness was gone.

I folded it and put it in a lined and dusted 8" inner-diameter banneton for final proof.

Final proof was about 1 hour, sitting a few inches above the stove-top while oven preheated. Noticeable dough expansion.

Preheated oven and Lodge 3.2 qt combo cooker to 465 F.

Oiled deep pot part of combo cooker and sprinkled in some semolina.

Put a round piece of parchment paper over the dough in the banneton. Inverted the Lodge pot over the banneton and filpped them both over. Then removed banneton.

Scored dough with a bare razor blade.

Baked covered at 450 F for 10 minutes.

Baked covered at 425 F for 10 minutes.

Baked covered at 400 F for 10 minutes.

Uncovered. Only mild oven spring and expansion of the score. Crust was already kind of dark.

Baked uncovered at 400 F for 10 minutes.

Internal temp 209.5 F.  Thump sound on underside was good.  Heft indicated if was not overly dense.


You can tell from the look of the crust that the dough was wet.  I let it cool one hour, before putting in a sealed plastic bag. 

By the next morning, the crust had softened up beautifully.  There is a slightly sweet burnt taste to the crust. And the crumb is kind of bland tasting, but is very soft.

This is a wonderful dipping bread, or to flavor with toppings. 

I'll have to think what kind of bread spices or flavoring to make the crumb taste better next time, or whether to leave it bland, or to mix with other flour.

This should be a good pizza crust flour if you have time for a long autolyse/soak.


idaveindy's picture

April 9, 2021.

This was a SOT-SOT* bake, with nothing measured except stevia, Sucralose, guar gum, and baking powder.  They came out really good, so I wish I had measured.


My rules of thumb for muffins:  1. use about 1 tsp baking powder per cup of dry ingredients. 2. Hydrate to a thick batter, that spreads out some, but not completely flat on top. 

  • Blanched almond flour.
  • shredded coconut.
  • durum semolina, the gritty stuff.
  • Bob's Red Mill stone ground whole wheat flour.
  • Fiber Wala whole grain durum flour (fine, not gritty) from Brar Mills.
  • King Arthur bread flour.
  • Yellow corn meal, the gritty stuff.
  • Quick oats (not instant.)
  • Whole dry chia seeds.
  • ground flax seeds, dry, not soaked.
  • pre-roasted sunflower seeds, salted, not soaked.
  • dry poppy seeds.
  • whole anise seeds.
  • whole fennel seeds.
  • brown raw dry sesame seeds.
  • pumpkin pie spice.
  • ground cinnamon.
  • ground ginger.
  • salt.
  • Jaggery (Raw brown sugar from India.)
  • 1 tbsp stevia for baking, equiv in sweetness  to 1 tbsp white sugar.
  • 2 packets Sucralose, equiv in sweetness to 4 tsp white sugar.
  • 2 tsp Rumsford baking powder, no aluminum.
  • 1/4 tsp guar gum.
  • approx 1 tsp coarse ground psyllium, from India.
  • Powdered skim milk dissolved in water.
  • water.
  • MCT oil from coconuts. It was on sale for a ridiculously low price, equivalent to regular coconut oil, so I took advantage of the sale.
  • grapeseed oil.

After mixing the dry ingredients, I added water/milk to get to the consistency that I'm used to, then let it rest so the ingredients could soak up the water. 

I let it rest about 30 minutes, then added more water, stirred, then added oil. Then I think I let it rest more to absorb what was added.

I believe it important to add water before adding oil to let the grains and seeds hydrate a little.

Baked in paper muffin cups in a muffin tin, in a toaster oven.  Preheated to 400 degrees F, and baked at 400 F about 12 minutes with bottom-heat only, then about 10 minutes with both bottom and top heat until tops were browned.



*Some of this, some of that.

idaveindy's picture

March 31 - April 1, 2021.

(Paper plate is 9" in diameter.)

  1. 198 g Bob's Red Mill stone ground whole wheat.  37.8% of 523 g.
  2. 198 g whole grain durum "Fiber Wala" from Sher Brar Mills.  37.8%
  3. 303 g bottled spring water
  4. approx 50 mg vitamin C. 50mg/523g=95 ppm.
  5. soaked approx 6 hours.
  6. 60 g Durum flour from Golden Temple, white/red bag. This has some bran, but is not whole grain.  11.5%.
  7. 50 g King Arthur Bread flour. 9.6%
  8. 73 g bottled spring water.
  9. 10.5 g salt. 2%.
  10. 5 g nutritional yeast. .96%
  11. 35 g cold starter, 100% hydration, 2 days since fed. 3.3% PFF.
  12. 198+198+60+50+17= 523 total flour
  13. 303+73+17= 393 H2O. 
  14. 393/523=75.1% hydration.
  15. 25 g whole dry chia seeds. 4.8%.
  16. ferment 9 hours, in oven with light on.
  17. fold/shape/banneton, 6 hours in fridge.
  18. flip from banneton into Lodge combo cooker.
  19. bake covered, *475/450, 15 min.
  20. bake covered, 450/425, 15 min.
  21. bake uncovered, 425/400, 15 min.

 *First number is oven setting, second number is actual temperature, Fahrenheit.


idaveindy's picture

March 20, 2021.


idaveindy's picture

March 16, 2021.

I didn't get around to taking pictures of the loaf. But I wanted to share the baking set-up.  This was the first time that I've used an inverted bowl to steam.

I used a 15" Lodge cast iron skillet. 15" is the outer diameter at the upper rim. It has a 12-1/4" inside diameter at the inside bottom.  I bought it new on Amazon when it was on sale for $40, including shipping.

The Lodge 15" skillet fits in my American 30" outer-width oven. Inside oven width is about 23".

I used a 14-7/8" diameter cordierite pizza stone to shade the skillet from the radiant heat of the lower electric heating element.  I use this same pizza stone with my Lodge 3.2 quart combo cooker. I always put it on a rack one position lower than the baking vessel, so the baking vessel is not sitting on the stone.

The banneton is 11-7/8" outside diameter at the rim, and 11-1/4" inside diameter at the rim. Bannetons are listed by outside diameter on Amazon, so figure that the inner diameter is  5/8" or about .6" less than outer diameter.

The steel bowl is 12-3/8" outside diameter at the rim, and 11-3/4" inside diameter at the rim.  So it sits on the sloped sides of the skillet, just barely above the flat inner bottom.  The bowl surface is shiny/polished (not the dull "burnish" if that's the word) inside and out. I likely purchased it at Big Lots or an Indian grocery store. 

My dough did not fill the inner diameter of the banneton. So comparing the dimensions, I figured if the dough did not spread too much, it would not touch the sides of the steel bowl.

As usual, I didn't get  the vertical loft that I wanted but the # style scoring opened well, and the crumb was decent.

The dough mass weighed 2040 grams, 4.497 pounds,  right before putting it in the banneton. It picked up some rice and bread flour from the banneton, and I sprinkled some durum semolina onto what would be the bottom of the loaf. Though it lost moisture during final proofing.

The loaf weighed 1847 grams, 4.140 pounds, about 1/2 hour after baking. 

It was my biggest loaf so far. I now wish I had photographed it.

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 "tortilla keeper" 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:


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