I made the pugliese recipe from Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice yesterday. The flours I used were the NYB Type 55 Clone, and KA Extra Fancy Durum, in about an 11 oz / 6 oz ratio, counting the all-55 biga made the day before. I didn't bother with the optional mashed potatoes. It came out pretty well, resembling the picture in the book, maybe the holes not quite as large on average, but close. The next day the interior had even receded from the crust as in Reinhart's picture (it's always struck me as a little odd he didn't use a picture of a fresh one). Unfortunately I didn't take a picture but there's a second loaf from the batch in the fridge so I'll get a shot of that one once I bake it.
The color was slightly yellowish from the durum. The texture was quite good, and it tasted fine, but I can't say the flavor impressed me all that much. It seemed pretty plain, and whatever nuance the semolina added, I wasn't able to detect it.
A few bobbles along the way:
The dirrections to mix it the bowl for 5-7 minutes didn't really appeal to me. I enjoy kneading by hand and am not afraid of sticky doughs, so I took it out and kneaded it (with the French lift, slap, and fold method that you see Bertinet and other french baker's use). The kneading went well, the dough wasn't unmanageable, even though I'd been on the generous side with the water, adding at least the 9 ounces and probably a little extra in the biga as well). However after only a couple of minutes of kneading, suddenly it seemed like the dough started losing cohesion. It had been coming together but suddenly it became looser and wanted to stick to the board and come apart in my hands instead of folding properly. So I stopped. I figured a few minutes of such kneading was probably equal to the 6-8 minutes of bowl mixing, so I proceeded with the rest of the instructions (a few rounds of 30 minutes rest plus stretch and fold treatment).
Now I understand durum can encourage gluten to break down, so I'm tempted to blame that. However I should mention that something similar happened when I kneaded the biga, though maybe not as quickly and it was perhaps less pronounced. Is this something to do with the 55 clone? Or does this tend to happen with very wet doughs?
Shaping was a bit tricky...despite using plenty of flour the dough kept wanting to stick to my hands so I didn't feel confident in getting a tight cloak.
I was running out of time at the end (had a birthday gathering to attend) so I didn't proof the loaf as long as I would have liked. I don't think it quite reached 1 1/2 size, though I guess it was close enough.
None of these bobbles seemed to hurt the end result much.