43% Durum Sourdough Bread

I have been challenged by some awesome bakers from The Fresh Loaf to make in the Community Bake of this month a durum sourdough bread.
The idea came perfectly as I had some durum flour left at the bottom of a bag. I do not know since when I have that flour but the only thing I remember is that last time I tried it was a complete failure. I do not even remember what went wrong back then but the feeling of not touching that flour again stayed with me. Well, a challenge is a challenge, so I prepared myself psychologically to bake something with that flour.
With my first test, I wanted to play on safe ground and went for a 65% hydration. But in my hands, the dough was extremely stiff. Did I forget that durum flour is very absorbent? I certainly did. So the next test (which is this one) I raised the hydration to 70%. I recognise that I felt that there was room for even more hydration but as I liked the result I stopped the tests here. For sure, one day I'll try to push the limits even more.
This particular bread has really something special in it. It has a sweet flavour, a more yellowish colour.

Its particularity comes from the durum wheat. Durum wheat is a spring hard wheat. Its name comes from "durum" that in Latin means hard. 
Durum wheat is coarsely ground into semolina. Semolina is generally used for pasta or couscous. Further, when semolina is re-milled, it becomes durum flour (semola rimacinata) which is more appropriate for bread baking. 
This flour is high in proteins (~12%) but with a weak and less extensible gluten. Its yellowish colour is due to extra carotenoid pigments.

With this second bake, I emptied the bag of durum flour. If initially I just wanted to get rid of it, now I feel that I need to purchase more. I have in mind to try even more types of bread with durum flour in the future. It is just irresistible.
But for the moment, let's enjoy these ones:


  • 350g sourdough starter at 100% hydration
  • 545g bread flour (12.5% protein)
  • 545g durum flour (semola rimacinata)
  • 650g water
  • 22g salt

  1. [Day 1, Saturday, 13:30] Scaling. Start by measuring the ingredients. 
  2. Immediately after,  Mix flours and water. Mix only the flours with water just until well combined. Do not knead at this stage, just ensure there is no unincorporated dry flour resting in the bowl and that's it. I used water at room temperature. The room temperature while doing this recipe was around 28ºC. Leave the dough for the autolyse phase for 1 hour and a half.
  3. [Day 1, Saturday, 15:00] Sourdough starter. Add the starter over the dough and knead for 5 minutes by hand. Or you can use a standing mixer. Then, leave the dough to relax for 1 hour.
  4. [Day 1, Saturday, 16:00] Salt. Incorporate the salt and knead by hand for 5 minutes more. The dough is stiff so if it feels easier, knead on the table. Let the dough to relax for 45 minutes.
  5. [Day 1, Saturday, 16:45] Divide and Stretch and Fold. Take the dough out of the bowl, put it on the slightly wet table board and divide it in 2. Stretch and fold each piece on the board and place them in squared glass bowls. Let them sit covered for 45 minutes.
  6. [Day 1, Saturday, 17:30] Lamination. Take each piece out of the bowls and do the lamination. Let the dough rest for 45 minutes. 
  7. [Day 1, Saturday, 18:15] Coil fold 1. Start now a set of 3 coil folds performed straight in the bowls. Do the first coil fold set in each glass bowl and let them sit for 45 minutes.
  8. [Day 1, Saturday, 19:00] Coil fold 2.  Do a second set of coil folds in the glass bowls and let them sit for 45 minutes.
  9. [Day 1, Saturday, 19:45] Coil fold 3. Do a third set of coil folds for each dough and let them sit for 45 minutes. By this 3rd set, you can feel that the dough has raised and is full of bubbles.
  10. [Day 1, Saturday, 20:30] Shape the loaves on the lightly floured board. Place the dough face down into well-floured bannetons. Repeat the process for the second piece of dough. Let the covered bannetons still rest at room temperature for 30 minutes before placing them in the fridge for 12 hours. This timing doesn't have to be exact. They can stay in the fridge for more or fewer hours until you are ready to bake. Just be sure of the temperature inside your fridge to be 4ºC.
  11. [Day 2, Sunday, 9:00] Score. Before scoring you need to preheat the oven with a baking stone inside until it reaches 270ºC. This takes about 45 minutes for me. Under the stone, place some lava rocks in an old pan that will be used to create steam.
    Take the dough out from the fridge and reverse the banneton on a baking paper put on a peel. Score the bread or decorate as you wish.  Immediately after, slide the loaves into the oven.
  12. Bake in the preheated oven at 270ºC on the hot stone for 20 minutes. For steaming, pour 150g of hot water on the hot lava rocks to create steam. Close the oven door as quickly as possible to capture the steam inside. Be careful at this step as the hot steam can cause burns. 
    No ventilator should be turned on in the oven in this first phase as you need to keep the steam inside the oven. After these 20 minutes, reduce the temperature to 220ºC, turn on the ventilator of the oven to release the steam and continue to bake for 25 minutes.     
  13. [Day 2, Sunday, 9:45] Cool. The bread needs to cool for at least 2 hours until it reaches the room temperature. The cooking process continues slowly even after taking the bread out of the oven, so this is why it is important to not skip this step and to resist cutting it too early. If you can, of course...
  14. [Day 2, Sunday, 11:45] Cut. Are you ready to cut and taste it? 

And this is from another bake:


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