The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

FCI Pugliese

dwfender's picture

FCI Pugliese

I took this recipe from the French Culinary Institute student binder. It doesn't give the process per se so I followed my guts and what directions were there. It uses 150% Biga which contributes to a huge boost in flavor. I've made this bread three times now. This is the first time my gluten was developed properly and I score properly out of the three attempts but damn has the flavor been delicious each time. 

dwcoleman's picture

Looks awesome!  Care to share the recipe?

dwfender's picture




Bread Flour         100%
Water                    50%
Fresh Yeast             .1%

Final Dough in %
Bread Flour   100 
Water              90
Salt                    4
Fresh Yeast        1
Biga                150

To make 2 600 gram Doughs I use the following measurements:

.156 Instant Yeast

Final Dough

Just match the measurements to the percentages above. As far as the technique I'll tell you what I did and what I recommend you do.

I made the biga and kneeded until it started to become cohesive. I let it sit cover anywhere from 5 hours to overnight. 14-16 is recommended at 75 degrees.

For the final dough I dissolved the yeast and biga in the water. I added the flour and salt and stirred it well. I then kneaded by hand using slap and fold. It took about 45 minutes to get proper gluten development. 

Bulk ferment for 40 minutes. Give it a proper fold. and ferment for another 40-50 minutes.

Divide in half, should be about 600 gram loaves, and shape into a boule. 

Bench rest for 15 minutes and final shape into pointy batard.

from here I proofed them in a floured couch seem side up. Final proof takes about 45 minutes at room temperature. My kitchen took about 30 minutes with the oven on and the heat getting up there.

I turned it out with a flip board but the dough is pretty resilient and can take the handling. 

Bake, with steam, for about 35 minutes at 470 

Slap and fold was ridiculous. It took at least 45 minutes and was very tiring . It was nice doing it this once so I know how it should feel. I recommend doing an autolyse for 30 minutes and then kneading by hand or using the improved mix method if you are using a machine. Gluten development with this dough is important. It takes a long time to get a nice supple dough and without it I've had terrible bakes thus far. Good luck. If you make it post some pics!  


dwcoleman's picture

Thanks, just made the biga, I'll post some results tomorrow morning.

50% hydration was a pretty stiffy biga.

dwfender's picture


Yeah it is stiff. There's 90 percent in the final dough so it evens out. I am speculating as a novice but I think the point of this biga is enzymatic breakdowns so the starches are already converted to sugar for the bulk ferment of the final dough rather than giving the yeast a bunch of wet starch to chomp through. 

dwfender's picture

It was the opposite actually. A lack of hydration in preferments prevent enzymatic activity. 

KNEADLESS's picture














This work is a true work of art.  Two questions please.  Please describe how you scored.  And what is the improve mixing method?

Thanks much.


George Schauner






dwfender's picture

I scored with a lame. I did a straight score across the loaf. If you cut made 2 imaginary line across the loaf dividing into thirds, like Ciril Hitz does with his baguettes, I followed one of those lines, basicaly a bottom third score. Hope that makes sense. 

I've been having a lot of problems with scoring lately, doing all the recommended reading on here etc and I have to admit, I don't know if scoring is as finicky as we all think it is. I've noticed one major influence to how well my scoring comes out and that is gluten development. I think gluten development may be ONE of the biggest contributers to the difference between amateur loaves and professional loaves. Especially in higher hydration doughs.

A full description of the improved mix is:

Improved mix


This mixing method combines the long fermentation of the short mix with the in-bowl dough strengthening of the intensive mix. Ingredients are mixed for five minutes on first speed, then for two minutes on second speed.


“When you use intensive or improved mixing methods, now you use the second speed, that creates friction,” Vatinet says. “Also, the dough is stiffer, so there is more heat from friction on the hook and the side of the bowl. How much depends on the design of the mixer, the hook design, the rotations per minute — all of this comes from trial and error and really knowing your machine.”


The additional friction heat requires cooler water to be used to achieve optimal final dough temperature. After mixing, the fermentation is roughly halved compared to the short mix, usually one to two hours. Still, this time is adequate time to develop strong flavor and aroma. The flour in the dough experiences some oxidation and bleaching, so the end product has a larger volume, but the color isn't as rich as the hand- or short-mixed bread. The crumb is open, so combined with the developed aroma and flavor, a bread dough from an improved mix does a good job of mimicking the short-mixed and hand-mixed doughs while taking advantage of the convenience of the electric mixer. That is not to say that the improved mix is necessarily the best mixing method.


The four mixing techniques discussed are simply benchmarks with hundreds of permutations in between. Vatinet mentioned preferments, but double hydration formulas, poolishes and soakers also can give a wide range of flavors to dough regardless of mixing method — and that is without even beginning to add sugar or fats to the dough.


“These are all tools that should be in every baker's ‘toolbox.’ Even the intensive mix can be used in artisan baking,” Yankellow says. “People need to understand all of them are different steps along a continuum. Flavor and aroma are important to consider, but it's also about volume, crumb texture and what kind of shape you're looking for in the final product.”


No single mixing technique is perfect any more than there is a single perfect dough. What's ideal for baguettes is not ideal for pan bread, and what works for ciabatta isn't going to work for sourdough. Each technique offers advantages and disadvantages and is merely a means to an end — achieving the best dough for whatever a baker's purposes might be on any given day.


Check out for information on the other two common mixing forms.