My recent loaf of bread with my milled kamut, I increased my levain to 50% in the final mix with a firm starter, which made for a lighter crumb, delicious and deep flavors. Depending on times, hydration and feeding schedule of levains , this was my happy result with kamut!
Since using both durum and kamut, I find very little noticeable differences so decided recently to to merge the two in baking some Sicilian semolina and a pane di Matera. I used the kamut as the fermentation in the form of a pasta madre, with 50% hydration. The Senatore Cappelli I used is heritage durum and it's pricey, so I combined it with some kamut. What I got were two very tasty specimens, with different crumb structure, but with beautiful sunny yellow color.
"La Fanette" is a bread I've made with and without success. This time I made what Thierry Delabre calls his "hobby levain," a firm starter at 50% hydration, all kamut rather then wheat. The spelt I used was whole grain, no white sifted or milled white spelt. The finished product was so perfect and the flavors from whole grains made this a pleasure in texture and taste.
The best part of the manufacturing this bread is the end pieces that are cut in the non shaping style, and you get the "bakers" little bun for first dibs.
Since first attempting Roland Feuillas's infamous Fanette Bread, I wasn't satisfied with the end product. I've seen others baking it successfully; Thierry Delabre, who has coached me, as well as some other fantastic French bakers. It made me wonder if it's a terroir thing - as if something wrong with American flour, whether hydration or something else.
Then Sam Fromartz tried it with flour he shipped direct from France. But Sam wasn't getting his perfect loaf, either even after attempting a lower hydration of 75-percent in his first loaves. This bread demands somewhere between 75-90-percent hydrated dough.
Below are photos of what some recent attempts. Next up is Roland's Pain Nature, wheat with some spelt, wheat and levain.
Kamut is the trademarked name for Khorasan, which is an area known both as a province of Iran and a historical region that encompassed mileage from Turkey to Afghanistan. Kamut, on the other hand, is a grain, from the Middle East "known for its nutty flavor." Since we're wandering in focus, I'll take the liberty to momentarily dive into food science, all to say Kamut is a hybrid of "Triticum durum" and "Triticum polonicum." Enough trivia to end 2010? Good.
Below is a photo of a Kamut-sunflower bread I recently baked. Below that is the formula I used. I started with a recipe on the German site, Ährensache Bakery, then asked Susan of Wild Yeast to help me tweak it. General hints for baking with Kamut brand grain are the following: use more water and allow longer resting time. As I have already passed Susan's formula around, kudos to my pal. She did all the work! Javier Marca and Geraint Roberts have taken up the challenge. So did I.
Start with a miniscule amount of starter in the levain build, which can be a bit of a freak. Javier was amazed at the push of this flour, even after I warned him. The energy from so little source of sourdough is amazing. He perservered and made some lovely loaves! My first impressions were it's a rustic bread, with slightly durum characteristics. Sort of like pasta-milled durum. It also has a grassy aroma.
Though pleased with the outcome, I'm still not sure it was the perfect loaf. But it gave me ideas, like using kamut to substitute for a loaf like Amy Scherber's semolina fennel and raisin. Actually, I think this flour would lend itself to many Southern Italian breads, especially with grano duro bigas. Rise to the challenge, my friends. Here's hoping 2011 will be a Kamut kind of year - potent, global, and rich with flavor. And good for the belly.