The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Pugliese "Pillow Bread II" with Onions

isand66's picture

Pugliese "Pillow Bread II" with Onions

 Ever since I baked my first "Pillow Bread" last month I've been wanting to try baking this again with some modifications.  I wanted to use a 24 hour bulk retardation instead of baking it on the same day and I wanted to add some onions as well.

I also decided to use some of my apple yeast water in the levain and in the final dough but not as a rising agent.  Instead I  just to add some extra flavor and soften the crumb.

I also changed up the flour combination a bit using some Spelt flour in place of some of the Kamut flour and also in the levain.

I used a chopped onion and mixed it in with the sour dough levain build along with some Yeast Water which ended up adding a nice subtle sweet onion flavor to the final bread.

I cut the amount of yeast in the final dough slightly to compensate for the bulk retardation.

The final bread turned out excellent with a nice open crumb and crisp crust.  While the crumb is not as open as the last bake it actually is better suited to using for a nice sandwich or to dip in olive oil.  I like the flavor profile very much and the addition of the spelt and onion as well as the overnight bulk retardation really makes this one a winner.


Levain Directions

Mix all the levain ingredients including the chopped onions together for about 1 minute and cover with plastic wrap.  Let it sit at room temperature for 6-10 hours or until the starter has doubled.  I let it sit overnight and used it in the final dough in the morning.

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

 Main Dough Procedure

Mix the levain with the water and add the flours, and yeast and mix for about 1 minute.  Let the dough rest for about 20 minutes or longer.  Next add the salt and mix in your mixer for 2 minutes on low, and 2 minutes on medium .  This differs from the original procedure which required you to mix for over 6 minutes increasing the speed all the way up to high.  I'm not sure if maybe that may have helped pump some more air into the dough so next time I may go back to that procedure and see the difference.

Take the dough out and place it in a clean oiled bowl and leave uncovered for 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes do a stretch and fold and cover the bowl.  Let it rest for another 10 minutes and do an additional stretch and fold and immediately place back in the bowl, cover it and place in the refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours.

When you are ready to bake, take it out of the refrigerator and shape it gently into a boule and proof in a well floured basket or bowl and cover with a moist towel or plastic wrap and let it rest for 2 hour or so.  The dough will only rise about 25 to 30% since it already has risen in the refrigerator.

In the mean time 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.


This bread does not need to be scored so when ready to bake, place it on  parchment paper on your peel 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.

This post has been submitted to the Yeast Spotting Site here:





Alpana's picture

Beautiful crumb and bread! This will give any white bread a run for its money. Glad you are back baking breads in full speed.

dabrownman's picture

This is way better than the first batch not that it was bad,   It has to taste better too with the spelt and onion addition too,  That crumb is hugely open for 60% while grain bread too.  The big hydration had to help in that regard.  Quite an accomplishment Ian. This has to be one of the best breads you have baked don't you think with open crumb beautiful crust and taste?  It sure is one of my favorites!

Very nice baking Ian.  I see you have another post too!

isand66's picture

Thanks DA.  Appreciate the kind words.  I do like this one a lot.  i don't even know what my favorite is any more but this one is up there.

You would enjoy this one for sure.

Look forward to your next bake.


evonlim's picture

sitting pretty in the garden, nice. i like the mixed flour in this one and onions. have not bake one with onions yet. 85% hydration pretty pillowiee.. to handle. i will be trebling working with it. i believed the flavor is great, yes great for dip in an extra virgin olive oil top with fresh burrata!! 



isand66's picture

Thank you Evon.  Don't be worried about the hydration.  It really does come together nicely.  The trick is to do the stretch and folds in a well oiled bowl/bucket and use wet hands.

I hope you give this a try and add your own spin.