Finally, something different – an unfamiliar flour and herbs to mix up the bread making. I wasn’t sure what durum was so I did several internet searches until I had a better understanding – plus I had to search pretty hard to find exactly what I was looking for to order. Durum flour was tricky to find. What is durum flour? The word “durum” is from the Latin durus which means hard, hardship, harsh, stern. It’s the hardest of all wheats and is typically used in making pasta (durum semolina) and in some breads like this one. There’s a lot more to know about wheat variants and how wheat is processed, but this post is already delayed longer than I intended so I’ll save that for another post.

After tons of online searching, I settled on an online store called Breadtopia to purchase the durum flour I needed. The prices were reasonable and they mill the flour for you fresh when you order. I also bought a proofing basket (aka brotform) and a bread lame for scoring. I also bought a couche which is a linen canvas fabric used when making baguettes; you place the loaves on the couche while proofing to help hold the shape of the bread and to develop a nice skin (think crunch). I haven’t used it yet, but I’m sure it will come in handy at some point. (I laugh at the word couche though. I’m sure I’m not pronouncing it correctly.)

I opened the flour not quite sure what to expect. The flour was light yellow in color. I could see why it’s used in pasta. I weighed each ingredient and prepared my space. I prefer to have everything ready to go before I start doing anything especially with baking because often timing is critical in many baked goods. I used fresh rosemary from my garden plus some dried rosemary to make the required weight. Just a recommendation — get a scale and weigh ingredients. It’s just more precise. I’m not sure what took me so long to start weighing ingredients, but I’m sold now. Plus in my day job as a data analyst/report writer, I have to be pretty thorough. I’m just used to it. Baking is like writing SELECT queries. Methodical. Exact language is required or else your query fails. I swear it’s similar.

After my prepping the dough (KitchenAid stand mixer for the win), I let the dough do its first rise. It doubled nicely. After that, I followed the usual steps – preshape, rest, final shape, final rise, score, and bake. Pictures below.

Durum flour

Dough after dough hook kneading

Proofing basket (brotform) and shaped for final rise

Bread lame (without blade)

Scored and placed in oven

After the bake

Look at the inside! Perfect

The bread was hearty and lovely fresh from the oven and was awesome with butter and also dipped in olive oil, balsamic glaze, salt, and pepper. I had a friend over while I made the bread and she actually loved it. She wasn’t so sure because it’s not the type of bread she’d normally eat but after trying it she was impressed. I was able to get four loaves (my friend and I ate half of one). I experimented with the scoring and I think they came out pretty nice. A solid B effort which was not bad seeing as how I’m a novice to the whole thing.

I brought a loaf plus half of another one to my daughter’s dance class and the little boy from last week was there. He walked right up to me and asked me if I had bread. His dad, who was not there the week before and whom I’d never met, looked embarrassed. No need! Tommy is great. I just adore him and not because he loves my bread. I really admire how open he is, not afraid to try things. Honestly I didn’t think he’d like it because rosemary is such a strong flavor but he kept coming back for more (dad still mortified). All the other parents told me it was great, including the dance instructor, so as you can imagine I was floating on cloud nine. I felt like a baking super hero! Next time I’m wearing a cape and an apron! Tommy told me he decided after much thought that instead of a chef that he wanted to be a food critic because he was so good at it. I heart him. I sent him home with the rest of the loaf but told him he had to share with his mom and sister.

I gave a loaf to a neighbor and saved a loaf for my husband to try the next day. I decided to slice the remaining bread and make bruschetta. I toasted the bread and then cut up cherry tomatoes and avocados which I tossed with avocado oil, salt, garlic powder, pepper, dried and basil. I then drizzled a balsamic glaze on top.

Tomato and avocado bruschetta

Totally yummy and a great use of the day old bread. This recipe is a keeper. So easy. Next time I’ll use a mixture of herbs and see what happens.

Next recipe – soft roll dough. This will be a recipe that actually uses fats and egg wash. I’m looking forward to soft, delicious dinner rolls.