The Fresh Loaf

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Pane di Altamura - Daniel Leader

Benito's picture

Pane di Altamura - Daniel Leader

I’ve had this bake on my list for sometime.  I saved the recipe when I read through his book months ago along with a couple other of his recipes.  I have to say that we quite enjoyed the texture and flavour of this bread.  Very rustic with a new chewiness and that nutty sweet flavour that durum semolina has.  I used semola rimacinata flour as is typical for this bread from what I’ve read.

A couple of notes, I didn’t quite get the shaping right.  I believe a tad too much flour on the fold along with the fold not quite going far enough lead to the top part of the dough sliding down during the bake as the oven spring happened.  Also, the recipe says to bake for 30-35 mins.  Despite baking for 45 mins I found at the very center of the loaf that there was a tiny bit of crumb that wasn’t fully baked.  I’d probably bake a bit longer by 5-10 mins next time to ensure a deeper colour to the crust and a fully baked crumb.

START TO FINISH: 10 to 12 hours

LIEVITO MADRE 6 to 8 hours

KNEAD 15 minutes


REST 30 to 40 minutes

BAKE 30 to 35 minutes

MAKES one 1,084-gram loaf







Fine semolina flour (semolina rimacinata)


106 g



73 g

Liquid Sourdough Starter


21 g




Extra-fancy durum flour (semolina rimacinata)


500 g



350 g



13 g

Lievito madre


200 g

Dry instant yeast (optional)


1 g




Extra-fancy durum flour (semolina rimacinata)


20 g


  1. PREPARE THE LIEVITO MADRE: In a small bowl, stir together the flour, water, and sourdough starter until well incorporated. Cover and let ferment at room temperature (68 to 77 degrees) until doubled in volume, 6 to 8 hours.
  2. MAKE THE FINAL DOUGH: Combine the semolina flour, water, salt, lievito madre, and yeast if using in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix with a spatula just until a rough dough forms. With the dough hook, mix on medium-low (4 on a KitchenAid mixer) until the dough is velvety, soft, shiny, and elastic, about 15 minutes.
  3. FIRST FERMENTATION: Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled, clear 4-quart container with a lid. Turn the dough over so all sides are oiled. Cover and let stand 45 minutes. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter. Pat into a 6- by 8-inch rectangle and fold like a business letter. Slide both hands under the dough and flip it over so the folds are underneath. Slip it back into the container, cover, and let stand another 45 minutes. Repeat the folding and turning, return to the container, and let stand until the dough is very pillowy, 1 hour longer. (If making Altamura Focaccia or Panzanella, skip to directions in the following variations at this point.)
  4. REST: On a lightly floured countertop, pre-shape into a round. Dust with flour and cover with a towel or plastic wrap. Let rest 30 to 40 minutes.
  5. BAKE: Right after pre-shaping, place a baking stone on the middle rack of the oven and a cast-iron skillet on the lower rack. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Dust a parchment-covered peel or baking sheet with about 15 g of the semolina flour and place the dough on the parchment, seam side up. Flatten into an 11- to 12-inch round and fold almost in half. Push down on the edge with the heel of your hand to seal the edge. Turn the folded dough in the semolina to coat on all sides, sprinkling with the remaining 5 g as needed. Slide the loaf, still on the parchment, onto the baking stone. Place 1 cup of ice cubes in the skillet to produce steam. Bake until the loaf is reddish brown and well risen, 30 to 35 minutes. Slide the loaf, still on the parchment, onto a wire rack. Cool completely. Store in a brown paper bag at room temperature for 5 to 6 days.


Benito's picture

Here’s the video I put together, enjoy.

My index of bakes.

trailrunner's picture

I love anything with Semola! I’ve seen various postings over the years of that shaping. Yours looks beautiful. c

alfanso's picture

about this bread back in 2015 and the postings by Michael Wilson, David Snyder, Abe (his post is no longer) and Brad (breadforfun) began a small cascade of interest.  Of which I partook myself.

If you are interested you might want to review this post -

But if your proclivity leads to wanting to make these as baguettes, for some inexplicable reason I did 🙄. Capriciously I used a rye levain so it kept the durum down to a "mere" 89% -

*NB - Not ignoring Benny here, his bakes are generally fantastic.  So I'll just comment on his bake as "wash, rinse, repeat".  There.  That should cover it!

Benito's picture

Thanks for sharing both Brad’s and your posts Alan.  I can see why people become interested in this bread with its unique shaping and wonderful flavour.  As you know, I believe you are the one who got me started baking with semola rimacinata with its wonderful colour, flavour and texture.  I know it would be sacrilege but this bread is just crying out for some sesame seeds.


Benito's picture

Thank you Caroline, I didn’t get that forma alta shape that I was going for, but it turned out alright in the end.  I’ll give it another go in the near future to see if I can get it right.  The flavour is wonderful though.  It had been a long time since I baked a semolina bread given my dive down into whole grains so it was due.


Isand66's picture

I love using durum in my breads as you probably know by now.  I can’t remember if I tried this shape but I probably have at some point.  You’re probably right as to why you had issues but in the end it doesn’t make it taste any different.  I’m surprised your color of the crumb is not more yellow.  Maybe your flour you used?  

I just returned a few weeks ago from a short trip to Vermont where we of course went to KAF and loaded up on all kinds of goodies including their fine milled  durum flour.  I’ve been milling my own but the price increases in durum grains convinced me to hold off on replenishing so I will make a bread soon with the KAF flour.  You might like this one from a long time ago I made  It was definitely overproofed but I do remember how tasty it was.



Benito's picture

Thank you Ian.  You’re definitely right, the shaping issue didn’t affect the wonderful flavour of this bread.  In regards to the crumb colour, it is more yellow than the posted photos show.  The white balance of my camera is thrown off by the LED lighting combined with natural light, if I correct for that the crumb actually is more like this, more or less.

Your recipe looks great, I didn’t retard this dough at all, I tried to follow Daniel Leader’s recipe as close as possible.  I’ll make adjustments in the future.