The Fresh Loaf

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Another Altamura

Salilah's picture

Another Altamura

Well, what a cute loaf!

Using the recipe from Franko
which builds on others - I thought I'dgive it a go.   I'd tried a version with some white flour added - but not this time...

Building the Preferment:

I used the white wheat starter I have, and couldn't measure out a small enough quantity, so ended up with
30g starter (wheat, 100%)
50g durum flour
50g water

This was in the kitchen for around 6 hours I reckon?  Bubbly and light at the end

Main Dough:

135g preferment (yes, high, I wanted to use all I had)
135g water
252g durum flour
(after autolyse, 5.6g salt)

Autolyse for around 30mins - I find the durum flour really soaks up the water!  A few S&F over the next 3 hours - fairly thorough after adding the salt, and less later.  Into the fridge overnight in a plastic container

Today - out of the fridge but still in the container for around 90 mins (driving from Cambridge to London!).  Shaped here (roughly) and covered - it didn't rise much, but I was concerned as it had had a long bulk fermentation.  About 90mins from shaping into oven

Baking: 250C for first 10 mins under a metal cloche (equals steam) then 10m at 220C, 10m at 200C, 10m at around 140C, then 10m with oven switched off (it is a small loaf!)


A very cute little loaf - I could improve my shaping, as although I did follow instructions, it is not quite right. 

However - after about 20m out of the oven (singing for at least 10m) I had to eat - really yummy!  One of the few I have felt are really successful - I could easily eat the rest of the loaf now!  Sweet taste, lovely golden crust, I'd prefer more of an open crumb but definitely worth repeating...

Very pleased - I will make this again (need to buy more flour) - a cute little lunchtime loaf!



Franko's picture

Hi Salilah,

I'm  pleased you found some inspiration from my post on the Altamura bread  to do your own bake of this bread, and that you're enjoying the results. Thank you for including a link to my post in yours, it's greatly appreciated.

It's a nice looking loaf you've made, and I'm sure the first of more to come. I was tempted to try an overnight retard as you've done with this loaf, but I decided it was too far off point, the goal I'd set for myself of trying to make it as authentic as I could. If you haven't tried it toasted yet, definitely give this a try. It's my favourite way to eat it, with either sweet or savory fillings/toppings. French toast was made with it last weekend and was probably the best I've ever had. Durum flour breads seem to have a natural affinity for egg, even more so than many standard wheat flour breads. Delicious!

Best Wishes,


Salilah's picture

Hi Franko

Good point re the authenticity - I did a rough shaping a la Daniel Leader Altamura - but otherwise I adapted to my usual style of S&F rather than mix / knead, and I like the overnight retard as otherwise I'm trying to shape or bake after dinner, which after a glass of wine (or few) is not a good idea!

I'll definitely do again, and see some of the differences - I will try without the cover, as I think that's what gave mine a shine, which is not authentic <grin>

thanks again for the inspiration!



Syd's picture

I can see it has had an overnight retard from all the lovely little blisters on the crust.  That and its rich dark colour.  I am wondering if the overnight retard, coupled with the high percentage of starter in the final dough, didn't exhaust all the food and leave little for a final rise, thus giving you a tighter crumb.  However, I also know from my very limited experience with durum, that it is not possible to achieve as open a crumb as you can with regular wheat flour.  The gluten is not good enough.  Nevertheless, a very cute little loaf. :)


Salilah's picture

Thanks Syd!  Cute was the one word to describe it I thought!

I think the blisters and dark colour also benefited from the metal "couche" for semi-steaming - as long as my loaves are small enough, I try covering them with a good-sized metal mixing bowl to steam on the granite stone - seems to work better for me than trays of water (though sometimes I have had the loaf stick when it was too big for the cover!)

I'll try I think with reduced starter next time, but keep the retard, and see what happens - it's my second time with durum, and the first was a mix of durum and wheat which tasted very nice but was underproofed a bit (from what I remember)

It's all fun experimenting!!

best wishes


ananda's picture

Very nice loaf, Sali.

But I think you might be better omitting the retard rather than reducing the amount of leaven.

Best wishes


Salilah's picture

OK yes thanks - it would probably be better!  I need to improve my timing overall - far too often, I finish the various S&F just around dinner time which isn't good planning

(either that, or give up the glass of wine!)