Pane tipo di Altamura from "Local Breads"
Franko's recent blog about his project to bake Pane tipo di Altamura (Pane di Altamura...my ongoing project) reminded me that this bread had gotten lost on my “to bake list.” I have baked a number of breads with semolina and a couple with durum (finely milled durum flour) my favorite of which has been Tom Cat's Semolina Filone from Maggie Glezer's "Artisan Breads". However, I've never before baked an 100% durum bread. My reading about the Pane di Altamura and Franko's blog inspired me to attempt this bread, finally.
I have three books with formula's for Pane tipo di Altamura: Carol Field's “The Italian Baker,” Franko Galli's “The Il Fornaio Baking Book” and Daniel Leader's “Local Breads.” The first two use a yeasted biga and additional commercial yeast. They also use a mix of bread flour and semolina. Leader's formula uses a biga started with yoghurt and semolina flour. Leader's formula also differs from the other two in specifying a higher dough hydration. Based on my bias in favor of wild yeast and my past positive experiences with breads from Leader's book, I based my formula on his.
I deviated from Leader's formula and method in a number of ways which I will describe. I converted my stock starter to a durum biga and did not use yoghurt. The major compromise was that I only fed my starter once with durum flour. I had planned on three refreshments before the final mix, but the weather forecast is for temperatures over 105ºF for the rest of the weekend. Since it is only expected to get to a chilly 98ºF today, it seemed prudent to bump up the baking schedule and try to avoid using the oven when it's 105 or 107ºF. So, what's described is what I actually did, with notes indicating significant deviations from Leader.
Active sourdough starter
Fancy durum flour
Disperse the starter in the water. Add the flour and mix thoroughly.
Ferment at room temperature for 12-14 hours.
1. Ideally, one would add one or two additional builds to convert the biga to 100% durum.
2. Leader's formula for the final dough calls for 200 g of semolina biga, but his formula for the biga produces only 177 g. If you follow Leader's formula, you need to build more biga than this.
Fancy durum flour
Leader's formula calls for 200 g of biga. I was only able to use 170 g. Given the very warm kitchen temperature today, using less starter is probably reasonable.
Accounting for the flour and water in the biga, the final dough hydration is actually 71%.
Leader specifies 3% salt in his formula without indicating why this bread has more salt than the usual 2%. Note that, if you calculate the baker's percentage of salt accounting for the flour in the biga, 15 g is actually 2.6% of the total flour
Mix the final refreshment of the biga 8-12 hours before the final dough mix and ferment it at room temperature.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, disperse the biga in the water. Add the flour and mix with the paddle for 1 minute.
Cover the bowl and autolyse for 20 minutes. (Note: Leader does not call for an autolyse, and, as far as I can tell, this is not used in Altamura.)
Add the salt, and mix with the dough hook at Speed 3 for 5 minutes. The dough should be smooth and pass the window pane test. (Note: Leader says to mix at Speed 4 for 10-12 minutes. However, my dough was very smooth and passed the window pane test after 5 minutes at Speed 3. Perhaps this was a benefit of the autolyse.)
Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled 2 qt container.
Ferment with the bowl tightly covered for 3-4 hours or until the dough has doubled in volume. Stretch and fold in the bowl at 30 and 60 minutes. (Note: Leader does not call for the S&F's.)
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured board. Shape into a boule.
Dust the boule with semolina flour and place it in the center of a clean, dry kitchen towel dusted with semolina. Bring the corners of the towel to the center and tie them, “to make a snug bundle.” (Note: Leader describes this procedure being used in the Altamura bakery he visited and by the village women who brought their own dough to the bakery for baking. However, the videos I've seen of Altamura bakeries in action show the loaves being proofed en couche.)
Proof the loaf at room temperature until it “balloons inside the kitchen towel” - 1-1/2 to 2 hours. The loaf is ready to bake when an indentation made by poking a finger into it springs back slowly. (Note: My loaf was proofed for 90 minutes in a 78ºF kitchen. The surface of the loaf was quite dry at the end of proofing. I imagine this contributes to the famously chaotic blooming of the folded loaf during baking.)
About an hour before baking, preheat the oven to 500ºF with a baking stone and steaming apparatus in place.
Transfer the loaf to a lightly floured board.
Stretch the loaf into a rectangle about 6 x 16 inches, with a narrow side nearest you. Fold the near edge all the way up to meet the top edge, and seal the seam. Now, bring the folded near edge 3/4 of the way up towards the far edge, and seal the seam all the way around so the lip of the far part of the loaf is flattened. The loaf should now be shaped as a half-circle. (Note: An alternative, shape, which is also traditional, called a “priest's hat” is made by cutting a very deep cross into the boule with a bench knife and pulling the corners well apart. The opening is then dusted with semolina flour to keep it from sealing during oven spring.)
Transfer the loaf to a peel dusted with semolina flour and dust the surface of the loaf with flour.
Turn the oven temperature down to 400ºF. Transfer the loaf to the baking stone . Steam the oven lightly.
Bake for 40 to 50 minutes until the loaf is “mahogany-colored all over and golden where it splits open.” (I removed my steaming pan after 15 minutes and switched to convection bake at 375ºF for the remainder of the bake.)
Transfer the loaf to a cooling rack and cool for at least 1 hour before slicing.
Initial mix before autolyse
Dough mixed, ready for bulk fermentation
Pre-shaped boule, ready for proofing
Proofed and ready for the final shaping
Dough stretched out. First step in final shaping.
Shaped loaf, ready to bake
Pane tipo di Altamura
Pane tipo di Altamura crumb
Pane tipo di Altamura crumb close-upThe aroma and flavor of the bread are most remarkable for a prominent sourdough tang. The flavor otherwise is very nice, but I cannot identify distinctive flavors I would associate with durum, as opposed to other wheat flours. The crust is chewy over the fat part of the loaf but quite crisp over the flatter part.
Submitted to YeastSpotting