Durum wheat semolina’s flour is widely used in Southern Italy to make pasta, pizza, focaccia, biscuits, sweets and of course, bread. Puglia in particular has the reputation of being the ‘Granary of Italy’ and its durum wheat bread par excellence is Altamura Bread.
Compared to soft wheat, durum wheat flour has a greater capacity to absorb water. It has an amber-yellow colour and its texture is also reminiscent of desert sand.
Also it has a high protein and also gluten content, as well as fibre, antioxidants and minerals and a low glycaemic index.
Makes a 600 g loaf, Preparation 20 mins + rising 6 hrs, Cooking 35-40 mins
- 400 g durum wheat semolina flour, sifted
- 200 g Italian ‘0’ wheat flour or Plain Flour/AP Flour, sifted
- 400 ml lukewarm water + 40 ml lukewarm water
- 5 g fresh brewer’s yeast or 2,5 g of dried yeast, to dissolve in lukewarm water
- 1 teaspoon honey or caster sugar to dissolve along with yeast
- 1 tablespoon EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 12 g fine salt (about 2 teaspoons)
Crumble and dissolve the brewer’s yeast in half a glass of lukewarm water together with the teaspoon of honey or sugar, stir and wait for it to bubble.
Tip: leave the dissolved yeast with the honey or sugar for about 10 minutes in order to allow the yeast to activate and thus achieve a faster rise.
Combine the sifted flours in a bowl, add the glass of water with the yeast dissolved in it, the tablespoon of oil, stir with a wooden spoon, then add the water little by little, always stirring with a wooden spoon, then start to knead for 5 minutes. Once the mix is smooth and compact, add the salt and knead vigorously for further 10 minutes. Make a smooth, soft dough ball.
Cover the dough with a cloth and keep it for 3 hours in a warm and protected place, such as the oven (turned off) but with the light on. Take the dough a couple of times during the 3 hours and fold it, then put it back to rest until it doubles in volume.
Once it has risen, place the dough on a floured work table and with your hands pinch it and turn it on itself to form a homogeneous ball. Dust it with a little white flour, place it on a baking tray lined with lightly oiled paper, give it the shape of your choice, make small incisions with a knife on the top or on the side and sprinkle a little more flour on top.
Leave it to rise again in the switched-off oven for 3 hours, covered with a cloth, then take it out and preheat the oven to 220°.
Bake the first 10 minutes in a static oven to 220° C / 425 F / Gas 7, then lower the temperature to 200° C / 400 F / Gas 6 and bake further for approx 20 mins or until it forms a golden crust.
Take it out of the oven and place it on a wire rack to remove the moisture, then cut into slices.
How do I store it?
Keep it in a paper bag for food or freeze it by cutting it into slices beforehand.