Durum Wheat Bread

This was my coming home, unassuming, loaf made under a strong jetlag insomnia and with a starter which suffered like me all the troubles of a long-distance flight.

Once back home, the first bread I wanted after weeks of artisan bread deprivation was a “neutral” white sourdough that could be enjoyed by all of us (my family does not share my love for hearty loaves) and which could go well with each meal of the day.

I also wanted something nourishing and healthy, so I added to my organic stone-ground white wheat a good amount (25%) of durum wheat, known to have a lower glicemic index, and also a smaller amount of whole-rye.  The resulting bread is an easy, versatile, and nourishing loaf (scroll-down for the method – anche in italiano).


You need: 400 g young liquid leaven*, 520 g water, 200 g durum wheat flour, 100 g whole-grain rye flour, 380 g bread flour, 120 g all-purpose wheat flour, 3 and 1/2 tea-spoon marine salt. Suggestion for bread lovers: get a scale.

How to: 1) combine the leaven and the water and add all the flours, already combined. Mix for 3 minutes by machine (or 6 minutes by hand). Let rest, covered, for 30 minutes (autolysis). Add the salt and mix for further 3 minutes by machine (or 6 minutes by hand). 2) Transfer in a plastic or ceramic (or glass) container and let rest covered for ca 180 minutes, folding twice at 50 and 100 minutes. 3) Shape two medium sized loaves or three small ones and place in rising baskets. Let rest at room temperature for 2 hours, sealed in plastic bags and then let rest in the fridge for a minimum of 2-3 hours IF the dough still looks underproofed. To check for this, press the dough with your finger. If the dough doesn’t push back quickly, the loaf is ready. Otherwise it is not and can rest a little longer.

*young liquid leaven: the night before preparing the final dough, take out 30 grams of mature sourdough starter and combine with 200 g water plus 200 g bread flour.

NOTE: all of the flours were organic, local, and stone-ground.


Ti servono: 400 g lievito liquido giovane*, 520 g acqua, 200 g farina di semola rimacinata, 100 g farina di segale integrale, 380 g farina di forza, 120 g farina 00, 3 e 1/2 tea-spoon sale marino.

Come fare: 1) combina il lievito liquido con l’acqua e aggiungi le farine, gia’ mischiate. Impasta con il gancio per 3 minuti a bassa velocita’ (o per 6 minuti a mano). Fai riposare, coperto, per 30 minuti (autolisi). Aggiungi il sale e impasta con il gancio per altri 3 minuti a bassa velocita’ (o per 6 minuti a mano). 2) Trasferisci in un contenitore di plastica, ceramica o vetro e fai riposare per circa 180 minuti, facendo le pieghe dopo i primi 50 e 100 minuti. 3) Forma due pani di dimensioni medie oppure tre piccoli pani e metti in cestini di lievitazione. Fai riposare a temperatura ambiente per 2 ore, chiusi in buste di plastica e, se ti sembrano ancora non lievitati a sufficienza, trasferisci in frigo e fai lievitare minimo per 2-3 ore.

*lievito liquido giovane: la notte prima di fare l’impasto finale, prendi 30 g del tuo lievito naturale usuale gia’ attivato (anche pasta madre va bene) e aggiungi  200 g d’aqua e 200 g di farina di forza.

NOTA: tutte le farine che uso sono organiche, locali, e macinate a pietra.

BAKING: Take out one loaf at a time from the fridge and let warm-up while the oven reaches 250 degrees (Celsius, 480 degrees Fahrenheit). Make sure to place also an empty baking dish in the lowest rack of the oven. Invert the loaf on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper or on a peel and then on the baking stone if you have one (I still do not own one). Throw several ice cubes in the lower part of the oven (in another baking dish) the moment you put the bread in. Lower the temperature immediately to 230 degrees (Celsius, 446 Fahrenheit) and bake for 45-65 minutes depending on the size of your loaf. You may also want to lower further the temperature during the last part of the baking.

COTTURA: Fai scaldare i pani (uno alla volta) a temperatura ambiente mentre il forno raggiunge i 250 gradi. Crea vapore con il tuo metodo preferito e abbassa la temperatura a 230 gradi non appena inseriti i pani (uno alla volta) nel forno e fai cuocere dai 45 ai 65 minuti (dipende dal forno e dalla dimensione dei pani). Durante la fase finale della cottura consiglio di abbassare ulteriormente la temperatura.

CONSIDERATIONS: To say I am glad I got myself into making this bread notwithstanding the tiredness (mine and of the starter) is a huge understatement. This bread has sustained us for a whole week and is still abundant, sliced, in the freezer. Lovely, lovely crust, soft and open crumb and a delicate taste. This will be my go-to white loaf for a while. Hope you can try it too, one of these days.

ps: if you still do not have a sourdough starter… check out my fool-proof post.

CONSIDERAZIONI: Sono contenta di aver trovato l’energia per fare questo pane anche se era il giorno dopo il mio ritorno ed eravamo tutti esausti per il jet-lag (incluso il mio lievito madre, che mi ero portata dietro). Dopo settimane in un posto dove il pane e’ un’esperienza da dimenticare eravamo tutti affamati di qualcosa di fragrante e sano. Come questo pane, che spero proverai anche tu un giorno di questi.

This goes to, questo va a, yeastspotting.

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Barbara Elisi

Hi there! I am the "soul" behind Bread & Companatico. My main interest is the preservation of bread tradition and craft, with an eye to health. I hope you are having a good time reading this blog, and please don't be shy to connect with me through comments or emails and do keep on bread-ing! :)
41 replies
  1. ninivepisces
    ninivepisces says:

    thank you for another mouth-watering bread, and for the clue with the finger-proof for sufficient dough-rest.
    Today I have a loaf of your “playing with sourdough” in the making….

    Have a nice sunday

  2. Rita cooks Italian (@ritacooksitalia)
    Rita cooks Italian (@ritacooksitalia) says:

    I love the thick brownish crust of this bread and the amazing texture, my family (my parents, I mean) does not share my love for hearty loaves, too. This would be the perfect type of bread to share with them. My Dad loves thick well cooked crust (pane di Genzano type). I’m really learning a lot about baking through your blog…thank you.

    • Barbara
      Barbara says:

      eheh mi hai sgamato. il mio amore per il pane ha origini nella mia infanzia a base di pane dei castelli (che compravamo la domenica quando si andava al lago). ho riprodotto diverse pagnotte molto simili al pane di Genzano. questa e’ piu’ piccola e di forma diversa, ma il concetto non cambia. thank you Rita for reading and possibly get some inspiration, I always get a lot of that from your lovely recipes.

  3. vickyart
    vickyart says:

    meraviglioso! semplicemente meraviglioso! bello da vedere! il buon pane necessita di lunghi tempi di lievitazione si sa, salviamo anche questa! mi piace molto! ciao cara!

  4. sandra
    sandra says:

    Maledetta te! Che pane!!!! Ora anche il lievito giovane…. io con questi lieviti ne esco pazza, mi fate girare la testa! Ci credo che avevate voglia di pane, dopo tutte quelle proteine!!!!
    Me ne mandi un paio di fette, anche tre….

    • Barbara
      Barbara says:

      a vabbeh, ma come? io ti faccio professioni di amore e tu… ma sai che ti capisco? vivessi in toscana anche io avrei qualche problemino a fare a meno della carne… tu scherzi ma a mia madre ho mandato una pagnotta intera una volta :)

  5. melithecook
    melithecook says:

    I just have to say wow! I have been experimenting with bread baking and stumbled across your blog. I saw this loaf and had to make it – I have to say, I don’t think we’ll be buying bread very often. This was one of the most delicious loaves of bread I have ever tasted – and it really has that rustic, expensive bakery texture and flavour that you wouldn’t expect from a homemade loaf. Thank you!!!

  6. Sew Fun Ho
    Sew Fun Ho says:

    Hi Barbara, please provide your recipe for “sourdough starter” in this recipe. One question – do you use all the water in your recipes always? My experience with some recipes is that the water absorption is not consistent, sometimes need all, sometimes need less and sometimes need more. What do you think?

  7. David Bryan
    David Bryan says:

    In your recipe above it mentions “whole-purpose wheat flour”. Is that the same as all-purpose wheat flour or should I use whole-wheat flour? I stumbled across your blog this morning and I’m fascinated with your flavor combinations. I can’t wait to try some this week. I just finished building a wood-fired oven and want to see if I can get the same beautiful crust that you do in your loaves.


    • Barbara
      Barbara says:

      hi David, sorry for the typo: it is all-purpose wheat, a regular AP flour (only mine is organic and stone-ground). thank you so much for your nice words, I am sure that with a wood-fired oven you will have no troubles reaching a wonderful crusty crust. please, don’t hesitate to keep me posted (and even better to send pictures) if you try out some of my bread recipes… I have always wondered how they would how come out in a proper (i.e. wood-fired) oven. cheers, Barbara


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