The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

10/18/10 - Il Pane di Matera Shaping Experiment

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breadbakingbassplayer's picture

10/18/10 - Il Pane di Matera Shaping Experiment

This is a crazy looking bread from the town of Matera in Southern Italy made with durum flour and a natural sourdough starter…  I had tried making this bread before with the durum flour, but made the dough too wet so it wasn't very easy to shape.  This most recent attempt was reasonably successful.  What makes this bread interesting is that it is shaped after the final proof and dumped into the oven.  Please see the links below about this bread and how to make it...

Links about this bread in Italian:

My attempt is using my sourdough starter to make a biga naturale and AP flour.  I have also taken liberties in the processing of the dough, so the taste is probably not that "authentic"...

Total Recipe:
1250g AP
825g Water
125g Sourdough Starter @ 100% Hydration
30g Kosher Salt
6g Instant Yeast
2232g Total Dough Yield

Biga Naturale
250g AP
126g Sourdough Starter
144g Water
520g Total

Final Dough
1000g AP
682g Water
520g Biga Naturale
30g Kosher Salt
6g Instant Yeast
2232g Total

6:45pm - Mix biga natural and let sit covered for 3-4 hours.
7:15pm - Mix flour and water from the final dough.  Mix until combined well (2-3 minutes) and place in lightly oiled large plastic tub, cover and let rest.  This is basically a long autolyse.
9:45pm - Sprinkle the kosher salt and yeast over the flour and water dough.  Cut up biga natural and distribute over the dough.  Knead for a few minutes until well combined and the yeast and salt are dissolved in the dough.  About 5 minutes.  Do not add flour.  If the dough sticks, just wet your hands and continue.  Cover and let rest.
10:30pm - Turn dough (stretch and fold method), cover and let rest.
11:00pm - Divide dough into 2 equal pieces, preshape into boules, place each in it's own plastic bowl that is 2x it's size, seam side down.  Cover and let rise for 2 hours.
12:00am - Place baking stone in oven, preheat with convection to 500F.
12:50am - With a plastic scraper, gently scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, shape (Watch the video.  It's tough to explain this one…), slash, place on lightly floured peel and place into oven directly on the stone.  When last loaf is in, bake for 15 minutes at 450F with convection.  Then, turn off the convection, bake for another 15 minutes at 425F, then 30 minutes at 400F.  Turn off oven, and leave in for another 15 minutes.  Cool completely before cutting.

I made these for some friends of mine, who I hope will give me a crumbshot as I don't have a loaf for myself…  I saw one of them today, and it looked very good…



teketeke's picture

Hello, Tim

I saw the youtube video, that is a very bold shaping technique, isn't? I like it! Your bread is looking great! and also crust's color too!   May I ask you What temperature you used for the water for biga and final dough?

Happy baking,


breadbakingbassplayer's picture

Thanks Akiko.  It's pretty crazy...  Especially how it expands in the oven...  I have not idea what temperature the water or final dough is...  I don't usually check... I just use the cold water from the tap.  My kitchen is anywhere from 70F to 80F.  It is usually 80F when I start preheating the oven...


teketeke's picture

Thank you for the information. Here, NY, My kitchen is colder around 68F. When I preheat the oven, the temperature goes up around 72-74F.  I will consider it when I make this bread and other bread, too.

Thank you, Tim


SylviaH's picture

and odd shaped bread.  I love breads made with duram flours.  I bet it tastes wonderful.  I would have loved to see the crumb.  Really enjoyed the video, thanks for sharing, Tim!


MadAboutB8's picture

Nice looking loaves..and the shaping looks like a fun thing to do too.


breadbakingbassplayer's picture

Just wanted to post a crumbshot from my friend whom the loaf was for...

rayel's picture

Hi Tim, I enjoyed the video, they really hammer that bread. It seems to have amazing resilience. The crumb in the video seemed dense and airy at the same time, while your crumb was  more airy and not dense at all. I like your shaping, and loaves, very authentic, and better looking than bread in video. Nice pictures, and nice color. I am taking another look at video, it is captivating.  Ray

breadbakingbassplayer's picture


I think the difference is that they are using probably 100% durum flour where as I used AP flour because that's what I have around...  Also, I didn't beat the crap out of the dough like they did...  I actually like their shaping better, and will try to achieve that in my next attempt...  Maybe with durum flour...  I actually didn't do enough rolls on each side before folding the dough on top of itself...  Mental note for next time...


Connie.'s picture

Tim, thanks for this recipe and your work getting it done. I made a big, funny and beautiful loaf. It doesn't look like your loaf, but still. Next time I aim for bigger holes in the crumb, but for now: delicious.