The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Italian Bread

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isand66's picture
isand66

Earlier in the week I attempted to make a bread using a raspberry dessert wine and I didn't take my own advice and used too much wine in the bake.  It did not develop properly and the final bread ended up gummy and is now food for my compost pile.

For my next bake I wanted a more simple bread and after watching an episode of Lidia Bastianich's TV show on Italian cooking I had a craving for a nice hearty Italian Durum Semolina type bread that you can dip in sauce or olive oil.

I recently made bread with Kamut which has a similar color and nutty flavor like Durum wheat and I wanted to combine the two together along with some organic Bread Flour I just received from KAF to add enough gluten to pull it all together.  Kamut wheat does not have a strong gluten structure so it's important to combine it with a flour that has a higher protein level.

I have to say that this dough came together as a nice silky moist and tacky dough and was easy to work with.  The final bread had a wonderful yellow crumb which was nice and open.  The crust was just chewy enough as to be ideal and made this a joy to eat dipped in some olive oil with a little roasted red pepper.

If you make this bread I guarantee you will have a hard time stopping yourself from finishing the entire loaf in one sitting!

 

Levain Directions

Mix all the levain ingredients together for about 1 minute and cover with plastic wrap.  Let it sit at room temperature for around 7-8 hours or until the starter has doubled.  I usually do this the night before.

Either use in the main dough immediately or refrigerate for up to 1 day before using.

Main Dough Procedure

Mix the flours, and 375 grams of the water together in your mixer or by hand until it just starts to come together, maybe about 1 minute.  Let it rest in your work bowl covered for 20-30 minutes.  Next add the salt, starter (cut into about 7-8 pieces), and olive oil and mix on low for a minute.  Add the rest of the water unless the dough is way too wet.   Mix on low-speed for another 4 minutes.  Remove the dough from your bowl and place it in a lightly oiled bowl or work surface and do several stretch and folds.  Let it rest covered for 10-15 minutes and then do another stretch and fold.  Let it rest another 10-15 minutes and do one additional stretch and fold.  After a total of 2 hours place your covered bowl in the refrigerator and let it rest for 12 to 24 hours.

When you are ready to bake remove the bowl from the refrigerator and let it set out at room temperature still covered for 1.5 to 2 hours.  Remove the dough and shape as desired.  I made 2 loaves using my bannetons.  Place your dough into your proofing basket(s) and cover with a moist tea towel or plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray.

The dough will take 1.5 to 2 hours depending on your room temperature.  Let the dough dictate when it is read to bake not the clock.

Around 45 minutes before ready to bake, pre-heat your oven to 500 degrees F. and prepare it for steam.  I have a heavy-duty baking pan on the bottom rack of my oven with 1 baking stone on above the pan and one on the top shelf.  I pour 1 cup of boiling water in the pan right after I place the dough in the oven.

Right before you are ready to put them in the oven, score as desired and then add 1 cup of boiling water to your steam pan or follow your own steam procedure.

After 1 minute lower the temperature to 450 degrees.  Bake for 35-50 minutes until the crust is nice and brown and the internal temperature of the bread is 205 degrees.

Take the bread out of the oven when done and let it cool on a bakers rack before for at least 2 hours before eating.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

In October, 2011, I baked a bread I called “pugliese capriccioso.” The formula was based on my best understanding derived from reading formulas in American books of what typical breads from Apulia are like. I baked another version, differing in the use of a firm starter (biga), in February, 2012. I remain unbiased by personal experience of the authentic bread, but the breads were good. Several other TFL bakers have made these breads, and all those reporting found them good as well.

More recently, I baked Hamelman's “Durum Bread,” which is 100% durum flour. I didn't like it as well as my pugliese, but my posting stimulated some interesting discussion regarding this type of bread and has prompted me to try a re-formulated pugliese capriccioso, using a higher percentage of durum flour.

My new formula uses a stiff biga made with bread flour (12.7% protein). Fifty percent of the flour is “fancy (finely milled) durum.” Forty percent of the flour is pre-fermented. Hydration is 80%

 

Total Dough Ingredients

Wt (g)

Baker's %

Bread flour

180

36

AP flour

70

14

Fine durum flour

250

50

Water

400

80

Salt

10

2

Active starter (50% hydration)

36

7

Total

946

189

 

Biga Naturale Ingredients

Wt (g)

Baker's %

Bread flour

180

100

Water

90

50

Active starter (50% hydration)

36

20

Total

306

170

  1. The day before baking, mix the biga.

  2. Ferment for 8 hours at 70ºF.

  3. Refrigerate overnight

Final Dough Ingredients

Wt (g)

AP flour

70

Fine durum flour

250

Water

310

Salt

10

Biga naturale

306

Total

946

 

Method

  1. Take the biga out of the refrigerator and let it warm up for about an hour.

  2. Mix the water and flours to a shaggy mass, cover and autolyse for 20-60 minutes.

  3. Sprinkle the salt over the dough and add the biga in chunks.

  4. Mix at Speed 1 for 1-2 minutes until the ingredients are well-mixed.

  5. Mix at Speed 2 for about 10 minutes. The dough will be quite slack. It will almost clean the sides of the bowl and form a ball on the dough hook, but a large portion of the dough will still be on the bottom of the bowl.

  6. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl with a tight-fitting cover.

  7. Ferment at 76ºF for 2 1/2 to 3 hours with a stretch and fold at 40, 80 and 120 minutes.

  8. Divide the dough into two equal pieces. Pre-shape into balls and let the dough rest for 10 minutes to relax the gluten. (This wasn't much of an issue. The dough was extremely relaxed and extensible.)

  9. Shape the pieces as tight boules and place them seam-side down in floured bannetons.

  10. Place the bannetons in a food-safe plastic bag or cover with a damp towel. Proof the boules at 85ºF until the dough springs back slowly when you poke a finger into it. (About 2 hours)

  11. 45 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 500ºF with a baking stone and steaming apparatus in place.

  12. Transfer the loaves to the baking stone, seam-side up, steam the oven and turn the temperature down to 460ºF.

  13. After 12 minutes, remove the steaming apparatus. Bake for another 14 minutes or until the loaves are done. The crust should be nicely colored. The internal temperature should be at least 205ºF.

  14. Leave the loaves on the baking stone with the oven turned off and the door ajar for another 10 minutes to dry the crust.

  15. Transfer the loaves to a cooling rack. Cool completely before slicing.

These loaves are about half the size of my previous pani pugliesi. One will be gifted to my Italian language teacher who grew up in Palermo and loves bread, I am told. I'm eager to hear her assessment of my pugliese's authenticiy.

These smaller loves have the appearance of miniature versions of the larger ones, with similar crust color and texture. The crust was firm when they were first taken out of the oven, but it softened as the breads cooled. I was hoping the folds would open some with oven spring. That's why I baked them seam-side up. They opened up a bit on one loaf. They probably would have opened more if I had under-proofed a bit.

 

Slicing revealed the crumb was moderately open – less so than the pugliesi made with 25% durum, more so than the 100% durum loaf, although that had lower hydration also. The dough had been quite yellow, but the baked crumb was less yellow.

The crust was thin and chewy. The crumb was tender and cool-feeling. The flavor was not as sweet as the previous pugliese versions, but the crust in particular had a nuttier flavor. This bread was more enjoyable eaten with other foods than alone, in my opinion. I am curious how the flavor will develop over the next couple days.

David

Submitted to YeastSpotting

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Durum Bread from Bread by Jeffrey Hamelman

The second edition of Hamelman's Bread includes 40 new recipes. This is the first of the new recipes I have made. Hamelman writes that this formula for “Durum Bread” is the best of a series of “test batches” he made some years ago. He does not describe it further and does not identify it as an Italian-style bread, although it does bring to mind Italian breads made with durum flour.

To me, the most remarkable features are that Hamelman's “Durum Bread” is 90% durum flour. (Bread flour is used in the liquid levain feeding.) It is a high-hydration dough at 80%. It uses both a yeasted biga and a liquid levain. Hamelman recommends a bassinage technique (“double hydration") be used for mixing.

 

Overall formula

Wt (g)

Baker's %

Durum flour

900

90

Bread flour

100

10

Water

800

80

Salt

20

2

Yeast

5

0.5

Total

1825

182.5

 

Biga

Wt (g)

Baker's %

Durum flour

300

100

Water

195

65

Yeast

0.3

0.1

Total

495.3

165.1

 

Liquid levain

Wt (g)

Baker's %

Bread flour

100

100

Water

125

125

Mature liquid culture

20

20

Total

245

 

 

Final dough

Wt (g)

Durum flour

600

Water

480

Salt

20

Yeast

5

Biga

495.3

Liquid levain

225

Total

1825.3

 

Procedures

  1. Mix the biga and ferment for 12-16 hours. It is ripe when domed and just starting to recede in the center. Note that, because of the great ability of durum flour to absorb water, this biga is firmer than the usual “firm levain.”

  2. Mix the liquid levain at the same time as the biga and let it ferment for the same time. Note: My levain ripened faster than the biga, so I refrigerated it for a couple of hours to let the biga “catch up.”

  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add all but 1/3 cup of the final dough water along with the liquid levain and mix to disperse the levain. Then, add the biga cut in 5 or 6 pieces, and mix at slow speed to dissolve it somewhat. Then add the remaining durum flour, yeast and salt. Mix at slow speed for 2 or 3 minutes to combine the ingredients then at Speed 2 for about 6 minutes to develop the gluten. Scrape the dough off the hook and make a well in the middle of it. Pour the reserved water in the well, lower the hook, and mix at low speed until the water if fully incorporated. The dough will be quite loose.

  4. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover tightly.

  5. Ferment the dough for about 2 hours with stretch and folds at 40 and 80 minutes.

  6. Divide the dough into two equal pieces and pre-shape them as balls. Let them rest, covered, for 20 minutes or so to relax the gluten.

  7. Shape the pieces as boules or bâtards and place in bannetons or en couche. Proof, covered, for about 1 hour.

  8. Pre-heat the oven to 500ºF for 1 hour with baking stone and steaming apparatus in place.

  9. Turn down the oven to 450ºF. Transfer the loaves to a peel, score the loaves, steam the oven and transfer the loaves to the baking stone.

  10. After 15 minutes, remove the steaming apparatus and continue to bake for another 23 minutes or so. (After the first 15 minutes, I continued baking at 425ºF with convection for the remainder of the time.) The loaves are done when the crust is nicely browned, the loaves sound hollow when thumped on the bottom and the internal temperature is over 205ºF.

  11. Transfer the loaves to a cooling rack and cool for 1-2 hours before slicing.

 

The loaves had a somewhat crisp, chewy crust. The crumb was less open than I expected, but I think this may be characteristic of bread made with mostly durum flour. Maybe it has to do with the quality of gluten in this flour.

The flavor of the bread was distinctive. I don't know how to describe it, but it was like that of the other breads I have made with durum flour. I was thinking it was not a flavor I especially like, until I tried it dipped in olive oil with a little balsamic vinegar. That was spectacular! It was a magical combination of flavors that was delightful. It made me wonder about using this bread in other characteristic Italian ways – as garlic bread or toasted and eaten with a hearty ribollito soup.

I gave one of the loaves to a friend who grew up in a village near Rome. I am awaiting her assessment with the greatest interest.

David 

Submitted to YeastSpotting

isand66's picture
isand66

I wanted to make a bread to bring into my new office and my wife had just cooked some bacon for our grilled cheese with bacon sandwiches so naturally I needed to use the left-overs in a bread.  I started out with the Italian Country Bread from Peter Reinhart's BBA book and changed most of the ingredients while adding a few additional as well.

I used my AP starter instead of a biga and I added some maple syrup instead of sugar.  The combination of flours I used along with some cracked wheat and wheat germ turned this into a great rustic bread with a nice chewy crust and open crumb.

My only regret is I didn't double the recipe so I had an extra loaf for myself.  The new office crowd devoured it and commented that I was welcome to bring in additional bread whenever I visited.

Ingredients

453 grams 65% Hydration Starter Refreshed

84 grams First Clear Flour

84 grams Sir Lancelot High Gluten Flour (KAF)

84 grams Durum Flour

28 grams European Style Flour (KAF)

28 grams Potato Flour

24 grams Wheat Germ

16 grams Cracked Wheat

18 grams Olive Oil

18 grams Maple Syrup

226 grams Water at room temperature

11 grams Sea Salt or Table Salt

36 grams Chopped Cooked Bacon (feel free to add more if desired)

Directions

Using your stand mixer or by hand, mix the flours and cracked wheat and wheat germ together with the water and maple syrup for 1 minute just until it starts to come together.  Let the dough autolyse for 20 minutes to an hour.  This will let the flour absorb the water.

Next, add the starter by breaking it up into pieces and mix along with the salt for 3 minutes.  After 3 minutes add the bacon to incorporate it into the dough and mix for 1 more minute.  You should end up with a slightly sticky ball of dough that has started to become smooth.

Remove dough to your lightly floured work surface and need for 1 minute and form a ball.

Leave uncovered for 10 minutes.

Do a stretch and fold and form into a ball again and cover with a clean moist cloth or oiled plastic wrap.

After another 10 minutes do another stretch and fold and put into a lightly oiled bowl that has enough room so the dough can double overnight.

Leave the covered dough in your bowl at room temperature for 2 hours and then put it in your refrigerator overnight or up to 2 days.

When ready to bake the bread, take the bowl out of your refrigerator and let it rest at room temperature for 2 hours.  After 2 hours shape the dough as desired being careful not to handle the dough too roughly so you don't de-gas it.  Place it in your bowl, banneton or shape into baguettes.

Let it sit at room temperature for 2 hours covered with oiled plastic wrap or a wet cloth.

Pre-heat oven with baking stone (I use one on bottom and one on top shelf of my oven), to 500 degrees F.

Slash loaves as desired and place empty pan in bottom shelf of oven.

Pour 1 cup of very hot water into pan and place loaves into oven.

Lower oven to 450 Degrees and bake for 25 - 35 minutes until bread is golden brown and internal temperature reaches 200 degrees.

Let cool on cooling rack for at least 2 hours and enjoy!

I think I have a ghost in my house...or a hungry cat!
Crust and Crumb came out very tasty

 

abovethelau's picture

Help! My bread is too flat!

November 1, 2011 - 10:30am -- abovethelau

Hi Everyone,

I was hoping someone would be able to help me with a constant problem I have been having.  I am relatively new to baking bread (I have been baking breads for about 6 to 8 months) but have always had success with every bread I have tried, whether artisan or simple, to a point.  The problem I keep running into is really wide bread.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Last week's successful experiment making an “Italian” bread with bulk retardation has made me want to try other types of bread using that technique and other Italian-style breads.

I've been thinking about making a Pugliese bread ever since I first read about it in Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice. Have you noticed that some thoughts take longer than others to get translated into action? Well, this one has taken about 4 years. In the interim, I have accumulated a sizable number of other bread books, and several have formulas for Pugliese. Consulting these, I find amazing variation, particularly in the flours used. Some use part or even entirely Durum. Some use partly whole wheat. What they have in common is 1) Use of a biga, 2) Relatively high hydration. Most recipes specify shaping as a round loaf with no scoring. The lone exception is The Il Fornaio Baking Book which shapes and scores Pugliese like a French bâtard. None of the formulas in the books I consulted use a sourdough biga.

The formula I ended up using is my own notion of a good rustic bread baked as a large round loaf, with a nod to Puglia. I suppose I could call it “Pugliese Capriccioso.”

 

Ingredients

Wt (g)

Baker's %

AP flour

375

75

Fine durum flour

125

25

Water

360

74

Salt

10

2

Active starter (100% hydration)

100

20

Total

970

196

Note: For greater authenticity, one would use a firm starter. If you do, the water in the final dough should be increased and the flour decreased to keep the hydration the same in the formula.

Method

  1. Refresh your sourdough starter 8-12 hours before mixing the dough.

  2. In a large mixing bowl, disperse the active starter in the water.

  3. Add the flours and mix to a shaggy mass.

  4. Cover the bowl tightly and let it rest (autolyse) for 20-60 minutes. (Note: There is no harm in autolysing for longer, but do not decrease the time to less than 20 minutes. I often go out and run errands for an hour or more during the autolyse.)

  5. Add the salt to the dough and mix it in thoroughly.

  6. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled, clean bowl and cover tightly.

  7. After 30 minutes, do a “stretch and fold in the bowl” for 15-20 strokes. Repeat 3 more times at 30 minute intervals.

  8. When the dough has expanded by 75% or so (about 30 minutes more), transfer it to a floured bench.

  9. Pre-shape into a ball and let the dough rest for 20 minutes to relax the gluten.

  10. Shape the dough as a boule and place it seam-side down in a floured banneton.

  11. Place the banneton in a food-safe plastic bag or cover with a damp towel. Proof the boule until the dough springs back slowly when you poke a finger into it.

  12. 45 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 490ºF with a baking stone and steaming apparatus in place.

  13. Transfer the loaf to the baking stone, seam-side up, steam the oven and turn the temperature down to 460ºF.

  14. After 15 minutes, remove the steaming apparatus. Bake for another 30 minutes or until the loaf is done. The crust should be nicely colored. The internal temperature should be at least 205ºF.

  15. Leave the loaf on the baking stone with the oven turned off and the door ajar for another 10 minutes to dry the crust.

  16. Transfer the loaf to a cooling rack. Cool completely before slicing.

 

Pugliese Capriccioso crumb

The crust was crunchy, and the crumb was quite chewy. The flavor was remarkably sweet, especially given that there was no sweetener in the formula. The nutty flavor of the durum flour came through and was even more present than in the breads I've baked with a higher percentage of durum. There was little sourdough tang, although that might increase by tomorrow.

This is a bread I will be making again. I think it could stand an increase in hydration, maybe even up to 78% or so.

I also made a high-extraction miche today. This followed my formula and procedures for the San Joaquin Sourdough. The only changes were 1) I used Central Milling's “Type 85 Unmalted” organic flour for the final dough, 2) I added 5 g of diastatic malt powder to the mix, 3) rather than pre-shaping and resting for 60 minutes, after cold retardation, I let the dough ferment at room temperature until almost doubled, then pre-shaped and rested for 20 minutes, and 4) I made one large boule with the entire dough.

 

The crust was quite crunchy with a sweet, caramelized sugar flavor. The flavor of the crumb was sweet and earthy with moderate sourness. It was quite delicious 3 hours out of the oven, and I think it will have a long shelf life and make wonderful toast.

This is another bread I expect to be making again.

 

I enjoyed a slice of each with our dinner of Proscuitto with melon and Fedelini with roasted San Marzano tomatoes, garlic, bread crumbs and fresh basel.

David

 Submitted to YeastSpotting

 

 

 

 

 

 

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