Pugliese is not the easiest of breads to make, but is one of the tastiest with wonderful crumb and crust. The recipe below calls for durum flour, but I substituted what I had on hand, which is Soft Wheat Flour Tipo “00”. This is a high hydration dough which means it is very hard to handle. It is very soft and very sticky and you don’t want to add extra flour to make it easier to handle as you will reduce the hydration.
Typically pugliese is made in round loaves, but I made one round and one batard, as those are the Dutch Ovens I have. Anyway, if you are up to it, and have some time, give this a try. It is one of the best breads I have ever made.
Pugliese, high hydration Italian loaf
This is approx 82% (the recipe 3 X’s is approx 84%) total hydration dough. The recipe comes from Rose Levy Beranbaum ‘the bread bible’
- 225 g – All purpose flour
- 3/16th tsp – 0.6 g instant yeast
- 177 g – water, at room temperature (70F to 90F)
• 213 g – All Purpose flour
• 213 g – Duram Flour – or Soft Wheat Flour Tipo “00”
• 1 ½ tsp – 4.8 g Instant Yeast
• 15 g – salt
• 354 g – water, at room temperature (70F to 90F) about 12 oz
6 hours or up to 3 days ahead, make the biga. Use the “Ultimate Flavor” method (let the biga to ferment for 12-24 hours at 55-65 deg, then store in the fridge.)
- Combine all the biga ingredients in a large bowl and stir the mixture until smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl…3 to 5 minutes. Should be sticky or tacky enough to cling to your fingers. Cover the bowl, with oiled plastic or lid and set aside until tripled and filled with bubbles..about 6 hours. Stir it down and use it, or refrigerate it up to 3 days.
- In a large bowl, dissolve the biga in the water… a few little undissolved pieces are ok.
- Whisk together flours, yeast. Add salt and whisk again.
- Add the flour mixture to the biga and water and mix until wet and combined.
- Autolyse (self digest) for approx 50 minutes
- Stretch and fold 3 times.
- Repeat stretch and fold 3 or 4 times -30 minutes apart,
- After dough forms good gluten strands, (I cut the dough in half here as I didn’t have a proofing container big enough to proof this large a recipe,) form a ball, and cover, letting it rise in a (ideally 75F to 80F) until tripled…about 2 hours.
- Preheat oven and Dutch ovens to 500F.
- 1 hour before baking pour the dough out of the bowl onto lightly floured surface…cut it in half.. and with very few gentle motions pull it over itself into a rough ball. Gently pick it up and drop it seam side up into the floured banneton. Sprinkle top lightly with flour, and cover with oiled plastic wrap. Allow to rise until it has increased by about 1 ½ times, up to 1 ½ hours. It will just start to push up the plastic. Dust with a little flour and score the top with 3 or 4 large slashes.
- Bake with steam turning down the oven after the first five minutes and then continue baking with steam for 12 minutes total at 450F or adjusting your ovens temperature to bake the loaves for approx another 20 minutes, until deep golden brown….leave loaves in off oven with door ajar for 5 to 10 minutes