Durum bread

I remember doing this bread once with semolina. It was such a failure that I simple didn't want to make a photo of it: flat and not so much raised. Of course, when I was thinking of semolina I thought is about the normal semolina, and this was the cause of my failure. It took me a while to understand the difference between the 2, (there is a nice article to explain the difference between the 2 in this article) but the result was clearly seen in the 2 bakes. The previous one was flat, with practically no shape and the only strength and elasticity of the bread came from those 100g of normal flour from the preferment. Of course was far to be enough.
After long searches I finally found the durum flour and order it. My mind went straight to this recipe and I wanted to redo it. Bellow is the recipe and above is the result in the photo.
I baked this bread over the weekend and it was a hot weekend (~30ºC). In the end, I felt my bread to be a bit over proofed but I couldn't do too much because I needed to wait for the oven to heat. For next time I'll either reduce the quantity of yeast in the final dough, or the time for the bulk fermentation. Instead, if the outside temperature is lower, like 21ºC, I will not change a thing!

I need to make a note about the dough. As you can read in the article about the difference between semolina and durum flour, the latter has a high gluten level. Mine was indicated to be 14-15.5% which is a lot! The dough was very elastic, a pleasure to work with it. But it was also extremely sticky... resembling more to the rye flour when you work with it.

As for the taste... oh My God... it is a fine bread, there is nothing to do with crunchy grains of semolina. You have to be a "connaisseur" to know that inside it is durum flour. Taste is like ... from the country side... just incredible !

In the end, when I have done the photo, it took me just one moment not to look at my hero food and that moment was used by my daughter to steal the morsel of bread from my table. As the crust was soft, she put her little teeth in it and made a nice bite. It can be seen in the piece on the left of the photo. So what better quality checker than my own daughter?

Here it comes the recipe:


  • 300g durum flour
  • 195g water
  • 1g fresh yeast
  • 100g bread flour
  • 125g water
  • 20g liquid sourdough
Final dough:
  • 600g durum flour
  • 480g water
  • 20g salt
  • 7g fresh yeast
  • the above biga
  • the above preferment

Directions and my schedule:
  1. 10:00PM (the day before) Mix the biga and immediately after, the preferment.
  2. 8:45 AM mix all ingredients, including biga and the preferment for 15 minutes using a standing mixer.
  3. 9:00 AM, do the bulk fermentation for 2h at room temperature ~ 22ºC (it can be longer if the temperature in the room is lower). Do also 2 stretch and folds at 45 min interval. I did this at 9:40 and 10:20.
  4. 11:00 take the dough out of the bowl and shape 3 oblong loaves. Put the shaped dough in floured bannetons and cover them with a towel.
  5. 11:30 start the final fermentation for 1h.
  6. 11:45 turn on the oven at 260ºC to preheat the baking stone and a pan with lava stones under it. 
  7. 12:30 Slide loaves into the oven on the hot baking stone. Pour 150ml of water on the lava stones in the pan under to create steam.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes at 260ºC and then reduce at 230ºC and continue to bake for 30 minutes. The bread is ready at 13:15.

This recipe was adapted from Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes - Jeffrey Hamelman, page 175.


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