Durum Bread

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Dough Yield: About


    loaves at 1.5 lb each

Appears in


By Jeffrey Hamelman

Published 2004

  • About

Several Years Ago I Made Some Test Batches in the King Arthur Flour Bakery using varying percentages of durum flour, of which I am quite fond. My favorite result was the bread presented here. This Durum Bread differs considerably from the preceding Semolina Bread, in part because there are no sesame seeds, and also because of the high percentage of durum flour used here. Durum Bread has a lovely golden crumb and an agreeable flavor. The acidity is very modest, as only 10 percent of the overall flour is used in the liquid levain. The biga contributes additional (more subtle) pre-fermented flavors. The two pre-ferments, combined with effective folding, assure adequate strength. This bread is particularly tasty dipped in good quality olive oil.

Pre-Fermented Flour: 40%


Overall Formula

U.S. Metric Home Baker’s %
Durum Flour 18 lb 9 kg 1 lb, 12.8 oz 90 %
Bread Flour 2 lb 1 kg 3.2 oz 10 %
Water 16 lb 8 kg 1 lb, 9.6 oz 80 %
Salt .4 lb .2 kg .6 oz 2 %
Yeast .14 lb, fresh .07 kg, fresh .1 oz, instant dry .7%
Total Yield 36.54 lb 18.27 kg 3 lb, 10.3 oz 182.7 %


Durum Flour 6 lb 3 kg 9.6 oz (2⅛ cups) 100 %
Water 3.9 lb 1.95 kg 6.2 oz (¾ cups) 65 %
Yeast .006 lb, fresh .003 kg, fresh Small Pinch, instant dry .1%
Total 9.91 lb 4.953 kg 15.8 oz

Liquid-Levain Build

Bread Flour 2 lb 1 kg 3.2 oz 100 %
Water 2.5 lb 1.25 kg 4 oz 125 %
Mature Culture (Liquid) .4 lb .2 kg .6 oz 20 %
Total 4.9 lb 2.45 kg 7.8 oz

Final Dough

Durum Flour 12 lb 6 kg 1 lb, 3.2 oz ( cups)
Water 9.6 lb 4.8 kg 15.4 oz (2 cups)
Salt .4 lb .2 kg .6 oz (1 T)
Yeast .134 lb, fresh .067 kg, fresh .1 oz, instant dry (1 tsp)
Biga 9.91 lb 4.953 kg 15.8 oz (all of above)
Liquid Levain 4.5 lb 2.25 kg 7.2 oz (all less 1 T, 1 tsp)
Total 36.54 lb 18.27 kg 3 lb, 10.3 oz


  1. Biga: Disperse the yeast in the water, add the flour, and mix until just smooth. The biga should be dense, but add a few drops of water if it is so stiff that it can’t “breathe.” Cover the bowl with plastic and leave for 12 to 16 hours at about 70°F. When ripe, the biga will be domed and just beginning to recede in the center.
  2. Liquid Levain: Mix the liquid levain at the same time as the biga. Let stand in a covered container for the same time and at the same temperature as the biga.
  3. Mixing: Remove a portion of the liquid levain. Add all the ingredients to the mixing bowl. In a spiral mixer, mix on first speed for 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to second speed and mix for about 2 minutes. The dough will be loose, and there will be only a modest amount of gluten development. This dough can also be mxed using the bassinage technique (see the sidebar). Desired dough temperature: 75°F.
  4. Bulk Fermentation: 2 hours.
  5. Folding: Fold the dough twice, at 40-minute intervals. Fold with care and skill, as it is the folds that will bring added strength to the dough.
  6. Dividing and Shaping: Divide the dough into 1.5-pound pieces (or larger, as desired). Preshape into rounds. When sufficiently relaxed, shape into round, oval, or stick-shaped loaves. Cover the loaves to prevent a crust from forming during the final fermentation.
  7. Final Fermentation: About 1 hour at 76°F.
  8. Baking: Place the risen loaves on the loading conveyor or peel. Slash as desired. Presteam the oven, load the bread, and steam again. Bake in a 450°F oven. Round loaves scaled at 1.5 pounds will bake in approximately 38 minutes.