The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.


dmsnyder's picture

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



AP flour



Fine durum flour









Active starter (50% hydration)







Biga Naturale Ingredients

Wt (g)

Baker's %

Bread flour






Active starter (50% hydration)






  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


Fine durum flour






Biga naturale






  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.


Submitted to YeastSpotting

Salilah's picture

In the middle of March, we had a long weekend / short week in Sicily - great fun!

Varied breads - we had two completely different Pane Nero de Castelvetrano (one from a baker in Marsala, one from a supermarket in Sciacca) and one Pugliese I think (well, it looked like it) from a baker in Sciacca

This is the pugliese - well, 3/4 of it, with the supermarket Pane Nero behind it...  It was my favourite bread - light, yellowy, great crust, I loved the shape (Chris said why didn't I do a square bread - but it won't work very well in La Cloche!)...  Excellent toasted, drizzled with olive oil and with fresh tomatoes on top (+ garlic rubbed if wanted)

This is the supermarket Pane Nero - a long oblong, I guess baked in a pan.  Sesame seeds on the top.  Chris liked this one the best - it tasted like a good wholemeal, it was brown, quite a rich complex taste but boring crumb (well, I thought so)

The crumb shot of the two breads!  I must admit I looked at the Pugliese one and thought "My pugliese looks quite a lot like that!" which was very exciting <grin>

Now I really thought I had a photo of the other bread - but I can't see it!  It was a boule shape, it wasn't a very dark crust, whitish crumb, quite a nice taste but to be honest, nothing special, and we tended to go back to our own favourites for breakfast...

So I'll leave you with another photo instead - the ruins at Selinunte

Salilah's picture

We are invited tonight to a Burns Night supper - long-running, we've been going for years!  I thought this time I should try to take some bread (though I wasn't confident enough to stop them buying bread - must be more confident!)

I recently purchased Bertinet's Crust, and Hanseata (I think) mentioned the Breton Bread, so I thought I'd give that a go, as unusually I had some fresh yeast.  As this was a new recipe, I decided to also do DSnyder's Pugliese as usually that works really well for me.  18 people so it felt like a big quantity was required - so I did around 2kg of each, which was a fun experience in itself, as I've not done these volumes before!

Ingredients - Breton Bread

Pre-fermented dough: 3.6g yeast, 3.6g salt, 180g strong white flour, 126g water - 6 hours or so (it went a bit faster)

Final dough: 10g fresh yeast, 750 strong flour, 200 buckwheat flour, 50 rye flour, 300g (all) pre-ferment, 15g sel gris, 700 water - total 2038g at 70%

Ingredients - Pugliese

200g starter, 720 water, 590 strong flour, 160 "00" flour, 250 durum flour, 20 salt - total 1940 at 75%

I thought originally the breton bread would be fairly quick, but the pugliese also went really fast - so I nearly ran out of proofing baskets!  As it was, I ended up doing 3 Breton and 2 Pugliese - both the Pugliese in the La Cloche, two of the Bretons on a stone with metal lid and the other in La Cloche

The Breton didn't rise as much as I'd hoped, even in the La Cloche - but I guess there's quite a lot of buckwheat in there!  I did bake it when I thought it was just about ready - so a bit quicker than planned...  Quite a thick crust (this one was under the metal lid), pleasant taste, went well with eggs this morning...

Not sliced the Pugliese as both are going down to the dinner, but it rose beautifully (as usual) and I hope will taste good

Challenges of timing - the Pugliese went a LOT faster than I expected - so rather than my usual proof overnight in the fridge, I baked them all the same day.  Luckily I have two ovens, so one had the stone and the other the Cloche!

Will see what the reaction is tonight

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Inspired by the recent blogs about Pane di Altamura by Franko

and David Snyder,

and by the then hot weather I decided to try out this intersting bread.

In Britain I found three suppliers of Italian flours, so I ordered some.

I got semola di grano duro rimaccinata (the semolina used for bread) by Divella, from near Bari. The grains seem to be a blend from European countries.

I also got tipo 00 soft wheat flour "La Farina di Don Arcangelo", and durun semolina by the same make, both from Altamura. The semolina is coarser and makes wonderful pasta.


Here a picture of the flours:

No 1: TRS fine semolina (durum), which is availlable in Asian shops. Origin: EU countries (to compare)

No 2: La Semola di Don Arcangelo, from Altamura

No 3: Semola di grano duro rimaccinata by Divella, milled near Bari

No 4: La Farina di Don Arcangelo, from Altamura (tipo 00)

No 5: Shipton Mill No 4 organic strong white flour (my current standard flour, to compare)

To try out the Italian flours I wanted to make a bread I knew well: I used the Pugliese formula I learned at the Lighthouse Bakery with two changes:

1. I used 20% semola rimaccinata and 80% tipo 00 (for biga and dough)

2. I found an interesting baking profile in Italian bread blog: Preheat at maximum temperature, bake for 60min with no steam and turn to 200C immediately.

The result is quite amazing, my best Pugliese yet. The taste is not as sweet as the one made with English flour, but it has more depth, and an amazingly elastic yellow crumb. A good contrast to the thick crunchy crust.

Next I tried an Altamura style bread, but I got rushed, and the temparature in our kitchen dropped.

Not quite understanding the durum leaven I mixed too early. The resulting bread took a long time to raise, the crumb is uneven and it tastes very sour. But I am satisfied with my first attempt, I really like the consistency and feel of the semolina dough.

Here a picture of the loaf:

All in all it is great fun to work with these flours,

and it is really wonderful to find so much inspiration here on TFL.

Special thanks to Franko and David,


 /* UPDATE */

The inside of the Altamura bread:

I think the main problem here was fermentation control: The temperature in the kitchen dropped by about 5C during the last elaboration of the starter, and the effect was more drastic than on wheat or rye starters. I used the starter far too early. Lesson learned

The sources for the flours: for the Divella semolina for the altamura flours - they seem to be out of stock now (as of 8 July 2011)

DeCecco has an online shop (for European countries) where they sell Semola di grano duro rimacinata. They are based in Puglia,but like Divella they seem to use grains from all over the place. I didn't try that (yet).




MadAboutB8's picture

Somehow, durum flour eluded me. I thought that fine semolina was durum flour (given that they're both comes from durum wheat). I thought durum flour was called fine semolina in Australia. 

Thank to Sylvia (SylviaH) for pointing it out in her blog post together with pictures that they're totally different. I then just knew that I had made semolina bread all along with fine semolina thinking that I got the right ingredient (mind you, the breads tasted lovely and the crumb strucdture was fine with fine semolina as well). 

So, I was very excited when I finally found the durum flour at an Italian grocer. First recipe that comes to my mind was pugliese.

I used the recipe from Peter Rienhart's BBA, with 40% durum flour. The dough hydration is 77% without considering mashed potato. I also included about 20% mashed potato in the recipe (recipe only calls for 12% but I got the more from the left-over). So, the effective hydration could very well be close to 90% if taking into account the liquid from mashed potato.

This was the wettest dough I worked with so far. It was far too wet to knead, so I had to do the stretch and fold in the bowl for a number of times to develop the dough strength. It was fascinating to see the dough structure changed from pancake-like structure, to develop membrane and bond together. Ahh, the wonder of wheat!

The bread was lovely and chewy. Semolina tasted somewhat different from wheat, it's nuttier and sweeter. I also wonder what the flavour profile would be like if made using sourdough culture instead of yeast?

For full blog post and recipe, you can find it here.


mdunham21's picture

I am rather new at making homemade bread but it is something I am growing to love.  I come from a family of cooks and bakers, mostly from my mom's side of the family.  Her father was an excellent cook and baker; I recently stumbled upon one of his bread recipes for buttermilk loaf bread.  I have been making this loaf on the weekends for the past year or so.  However, he kept the majority of his recipes in his head and didn't write many of them down.  This has forced me to branch out on my own.  This weekend I prepared a biga pre-ferment for a pugliese from "The Bread Bible"

This recipe does not use Durum flour which is fine because I was unable to locate any at my local grocery.  The biga was prepared with a mixture of all purpose flour and coarse rye flour, a small amount of commercial yeast and water.  This mixture was allowed to ferment for about 18 hours at a cool temperature.  

I was pleased with the way the bread turned out, however I was hoping for a large sized boule compared to the one i was able to develop.  

The crust was soft and the crumb was chewy with a medium distribution of holes.

Overall I was satisfied with the results.  I currently have a sourdough starter in the making and cannot wait to make my first loaf in time for thanksgiving stuffing.

I look forward to any comments and suggestions



Avie93309's picture

Been looking forward to make this bread. Finally got my Durum Flour in the mail (not available at local stores). Followed the recipe from Rose Beranbaum's The Bread Bible. Flour (bread:67%, durum 33%), Water 80.4%, Yeast .79%, Salt 2.2%.

Biga: 75 g Flour, Instant Yeast 1/16 tsp, water 59 g, optional: Malt Powder 1/2 tsp.

Worried that I totally ruined the dough. I allowed the biga to ferment in a cool area for 24 hrs (recommended @ 55-65 F). I thought my storage room is that cool. When I checked the room temp it was 72%.

Baked on stone: 5 mins @ 500 F; 20 mins @ 450, turned half way thru. Internal Temp. Target: 205 F, Actual 200 F.

OldWoodenSpoon's picture

Sometimes you just have to admit it:  you messed up.  My turn!  Again...

This time it was this sad loaf of Pugliese, sitting along side the boule of sourdough that is my redemption for the day's baking.  Here they are together.

Sourdough and Pugliese Together


Resuscitation:  I had another go at Rose Levy Berenbaum's "Brinna's Pugliese" Friday night, but this time I tried it with a 20% substitution of semolina flour.  I started the biga on Thursday night and let it ferment in a back room cupboard (about 60F) till Friday afternoon.  Then I put all my things in place (Ha!) and prepared the dough.  Everything was going along just fine until, about 90 minutes into the bulk fermentation I noticed...  nothing.  The dough had not grown at all.  I had it in a warm spot, so I left it for a while, until I realized the truth:  Except for the biga, I had not put in the yeast.  I had gotten distracted with rechecking the flours after the semolina substitution, and never even got the yeast out of the refer.  So much for "everything in place"!  Oh, no, now what?

I opened up the container and sprinkled the yeast (IDY) over the top, and folded it in.  I got out my board and did several folds to incorporate it as well as I could, but this dough was wet, slack, super-sticky and gloppy.  I had to continually wet my fingers to handle it at all without becoming part of it myself.  I managed to get the yeast worked into it, and got the dough back into the bowl where it immediately took off.  I could not believe it, but it nearly doubled in an hour.  I formed it into a boule as well as I could and turned it upside down into a very well floured banneton.  It filled the banneton and topped out in just another hour.

I could not resist compounding my errors.  The recipe says to bake on a sheet with steam added, but I had already baked the sourdough that follows below, and my La Cloche baker was in the oven already hot.  I was determined to make this baby jump after having made such a mess of it.  So I turned it out onto my superpeel ( a mistake), slashed it (another mistake since it was so fragile) and then "dropped" it off the superpeel into the preheated La Cloche (final insulting mistake for this poor loaf).  It collapsed.  It fell, flatter than one of my plain flour pancakes.  As soon as I saw it I realized my error(s), and knew they were all my own.  I put the cover on and baked it.

The good news about baking for a hobby is that, most of the time, you can eat your errors.  That will be the case with this pugliese.  As you can see in the crumb shot here:

Pugliese resuscitation crumb shot

this loaf only turned out poor, not really bad.  It forgave me more than I deserved here I think.  The La Cloche pumped some spring into it so that it has a little bit of loft and a nice tender crust.  The crumb is pretty dense for pugliese, but as you can see, there is a nice gelling of the starches, and it came out okay considering all the insults.  The flavor is quite excellent, and the semolina addition has really had a positive impact on the taste.  I will certainly be revisiting this loaf again with even more semolina in the dough.  In the end this loaf resuscitated me after my near apoplexy at the glaring chain of mistakes.

I'll learn from my mistakes and go on.  After all, in a couple of days nearly all the evidence will be gone anyway!


Redemption:  The sourdough loaf was actully baked first.  This is another of "my" sourdough loaves, but this time I was determined to proof more fully than last time.  This formula is one that I've been using to break in and get used to my new willow proofing baskets, and I'm quite happy with the results so far, considering the low 64% hydration.  Here is the loaf:

Straight Sourdough Loaf

As you can see, I'm still not doing a proper job of preparing the banneton before I put the loaf in for proofing.  I'm hoping that as I use them more, things will level off.  Right now there are sticky spots where lots of flour stays, and there are dry spots where very little to no flour at all will stay.  I'm currently layering on AP flour first, then white rice flour lightly on top of that.  The flour that remains on this loaf is dry in places, and pretty oily in others.  The oil is from the initial spraying of Baker's Joy flour/oil spray I used to "season" the banneton initially in accordance with the instructions.  Since then I've just been applying the flours, proofing the dough, then letting the bannetons dry out on the counter.  When dry, I brush them thoroughly and put them away till next time.

The crumb of this loaf is better than my last effort thanks to better proofing, and the loaf did not explode so much in the oven when baked.  It was baked in La Cloche for 15 minutes covered, with the temperature at 500F for the first 10, then down to 460F for the rest of the bake.  The cover came off at 15 mintues, effectively ending the steaming time at that point.  I let this loaf bake a little extra long because I was trying to darken the crust.  I got most of what I wanted, but ended up with an internal temperature of 209F when I finally gave in and declared it done.  It is not the least bit dry though, and the crumb is very tender.  Here is the shot:

Straight Sourdough Crumb Shot

There were really two loaves, and the crumb shot is of the "other" one.  The cut loaf is already gone, and the uncut loaf was gifted to a neighbor.  I'll just have to try again I guess.  Darn. :)


breadbakingbassplayer's picture

Test Loaf #3 (Pugliese) – 10/4/09

October 5, 2009 - 8:16am -- breadbakingbass...

Hey Freshloafers,

Long time no post.  Just wanted to share with you a recipe that I have been working on.  I have been on baking hiatus since summer as it was too hot to turn on the oven...  This is my 3rd try in the past few weeks to bake something that is edible...  Lemme know what you think and if the recipe works for you.




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