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    Pugliese Bread from Italy

    Pugliese bread is a rustic bread from the south of Italy. The basic recipe is from Carol Field’s “The Italian Baker,” one of my favorite bread books. It is a fairly wet dough, 72.5% hydration, and is just about impossible to make without a mixer, although I know at least one person who would probably dispute this. I have made several changes in the recipe, for the better, I trust.

    Increased the biga from 200 to 400 grams and adjusted the water to keep the hydration at 72.5%
    Added an autolyse period after the ingredients are roughly mixed.
    Withheld the salt until after the autolyse period.
    Split the dough into two portions after kneading.
    The recipe says “Do not knock down or fold.” I followed this instruction with one portion of the dough, but folded the other with a drop-hook fold after the first and second hours.
    The bread is supposed to be a large wheel or round.
    As noted below, if you want larger holes in the finished bread, be very gentle with the folds.

    Ingredients

    Biga

    Ingred Ounces Grams
    Bread Flour 8 7/8 250
    Water 5 1/4 150
    Dry Yeast 1/2 tsp 2

    Dough

    Ingred Ounces Grams
    Biga 14 1/8 400
    Warm Water 2 5/8 75
    Bread Flour 35 1000
    Water 24 680
    Salt 1 Tbsp+ 24
    Yeast 1 1/4 tsp 6 ml

    Method

    1. Make biga at 60%. Let stand overnight on the counter.
    2. Put the 75 grams of water and the yeast in a large mixer bowl and cut up the biga and add it to the bowl.
    3. Mix with the paddle for a minute or two.
    4. Add all the water and half the flour and mix for a minute or two.
    5. Switch to the dough hook, add the rest of the flour and mix for a minute or two, until the dough begins to come together.
    6. Cover the bowl and let the dough rest for 25 minutes.
    7. Add the salt and knead with the dough hook for 7-10 minutes. The dough will not clear the sides of the bowl, so you may have to turn the dough over once or twice to ensure complete mixing.
    8. Divide the dough into two portions, about 1080 grams / 38 ounces each.
    9. Leave one portion in the mixer bowl and place the other in a tight-fitting container.
    10. Leave the portion in the container to ferment for 3 hours.
    11. Cover the portion in the mixer bowl with plastic wrap.
    12. Do a drop-hook fold after one and after two hours on the portion in the mixer bowl.
    13. Put a goodly amount of flour on the work surface and, working with one dough at a time, pour the dough onto the work surface, sprinkle the top with flour and pat the dough flat.
    14. Roll the dough up. Pat it flat again and roll it up again. Do this three times. The dough should degas and become springy and smooth.
    15. Draw the sides of the dough down under the dough and seal the dough very tightly. Dust the top of the dough with flour and set it on parchment paper or a baking sheet heavily dusted with cornmeal.
    16. Repeat with the other dough.
    17. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour.
    18. 30 minutes before baking, heat the oven to 450 F / 230 C and place tiles or baking stones in the oven.
    19. 10 minutes before baking, dimple the tops of the doughs with your fingers. This will reduce the tendency to rise into basketballs upon baking.
    20. Slide the doughs into the oven, either onto the tiles or stones or by placing the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 25 minutes. Then turn the loaves to even out the baking.
    21. Bake a total of 45-60 minutes, depending on your oven, until the loaves are a dark brown.
    22. Let cool on racks.

    The recipe says nothing about steam in the oven.

    For larger holes in the bread, do a very gentle folding.

    I made this recipe a few days later and incorporated these changes:

    I did drop hook folds at 60 minutes and 50 minutes.
    I did a final fermentation of 40 minutes after the second fold.
    Total fermentation time is 2 hours and 30 minutes instead of the 3 hours in the recipe.
    I flattened the doughs after shaping and before final rise.
    I let the doughs rise for 50 minutes after shaping and then dimpled them heavily.
    They rose for a further 10 minutes after dimpling.

    The sequence of new pictures is after the first set. It starts with the dough going onto the
    floured counter and ends with the two new loaves on the cooling racks. These are flatter and don’t have blowouts, although they did touch during the early stages of baking so that there are small snouts on the loaves.

    Here We Go!

    Click the thumbnail to see a larger version of the picture.
    Click the large image to return to the discussion.

    Pugliese artisanal artisan Italian bread weighing flour. Pugliese artisanal artisan Italian bread ingredients. Pugliese artisanal artisan Italian bread adding biga. Pugliese artisanal artisan Italian bread cutting up biga.
    Pugliese artisanal artisan Italian bread sticky biga. Pugliese artisanal artisan Italian bread mixing the dough. Pugliese artisanal artisan Italian bread adding water. Pugliese artisanal artisan Italian bread the dough.
    Pugliese artisanal artisan Italian bread more mixing. Pugliese artisanal artisan Italian bread ready for autolyse. Pugliese artisanal artisan Italian bread adding salt. Pugliese artisanal artisan Italian bread after 2 minutes mixing.
    Pugliese artisanal artisan Italian bread progress of mixing. Pugliese artisanal artisan Italian bread dough clearing side of bowl. Pugliese artisanal artisan Italian bread two portions ready to ferment. Pugliese artisanal artisan Italian bread after first fermentation.
    Pugliese artisanal artisan Italian bread folding one portion. Pugliese artisanal artisan Italian breadready to ferment for another hour. Pugliese artisanal artisan Italian bread ready for second fold. Pugliese artisanal artisan Italian bread second fold.
    Pugliese artisanal artisan Italian bread second fold. Pugliese artisanal artisan Italian bread ready to ferment for final period. Pugliese artisanal artisan Italian bread the two portions ready to shape. Pugliese artisanal artisan Italian bread shaping unfolded dough.
    Pugliese artisanal artisan Italian bread shaping dough. Pugliese artisanal artisan Italian bread rolling up the dough. Pugliese artisanal artisan Italian bread more rolling up. Pugliese artisanal artisan Italian bread more shaping.
    Pugliese artisanal artisan Italian bread tucking the bottom. Pugliese artisanal artisan Italian bread shaped unfolded dough. Pugliese artisanal artisan Italian bread shaping unfolded dough -- lighter dough. Pugliese artisanal artisan Italian bread forming a ball.
    Pugliese artisanal artisan Italian bread the two shaped doughs. Pugliese artisanal artisan Italian bread risen, dimpled and ready to bake. Pugliese artisanal artisan Italian bread into the oven. Pugliese artisanal artisan Italian bread halfway baked.
    Pugliese artisanal artisan Italian bread bake.d Pugliese artisanal artisan Italian bread baked. Pugliese artisanal artisan Italian bread baked, bottom shot. Pugliese artisanal artisan Italian bread close-up with crackles.
    Pugliese artisanal artisan Italian bread more crsackles. Pugliese artisanal artisan Italian bread.

     

    A Second Effort a Few Days Later

     

    Pugliese artisanal artisan Italian bread fermented dough. Pugliese artisanal artisan Italian bread dough on counter. Pugliese artisanal artisan Italian bread divided. Pugliese artisanal artisan Italian bread rising on parchment paper.
    Pugliese artisanal artisan Italian bread risen. Pugliese artisanal artisan Italian bread dimpled. Pugliese artisanal artisan Italian bread into the oven. Pugliese artisanal artisan Italian bread halfway baked.
    Pugliese artisanal artisan Italian bread finished baking. Pugliese artisanal artisan Italian bread finished baking. Pugliese artisanal artisan Italian bread finished baking. Pugliese artisanal artisan Italian bread finished baking.
    Pugliese artisanal artisan Italian bread the crumb. Pugliese artisanal artisan Italian bread the crumb.




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