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Pugliese Recipe

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Pugliese is an open airy bread with a creamy crumb. This crusty, slightly domed and delicious peasant bread is made with a very wet dough. The dough is very hard to work with, but it is well worth the effort. It produces a pleasingly open texture. A long fermentation enhances the bread's flavor.

Biga (starter)

1/2 cup (4 ounces) water

1 1/4 cups (5 1/8 ounces) All-Purpose Flour

1/8 teaspoon instant dry yeast

In a small mixing bowl, combine the water, flour and yeast to form a soft dough. Don't knead it. Make sure all of the ingredients are well-incorporated. Set this mixture aside in a warm place, covered, for 24 - 36 hours. Or place this mixture in the refrigerator for several days.

Dough

Use all of the prepared biga (starter)

1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) warm water

4 cups (17 ounces) All-Purpose Flour

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon instant dry yeast

Place all of the dough ingredients into a large bowl and mix together. Using a mixer or bread machine knead the dough for about 10 minutes or until the dough is cohesive and elastic.

Leave the dough in the bowl and cover with a warm damp cloth and let it rise in a warm place for 3 hours. Hand knead the dough for 5 minutes once every hour during this time. The longer you let the dough rise the better the flavor of the finished loaf will be.

Lightly oil a baking sheet or other flat pan.

Place the dough in two pieces onto the pan lengthwise, shape each piece into a rough oval or log shape.  Using your fingers heavily dimple the loaves.

Cover the dough with an oiled piece of plastic wrap, and allow it to rise for about 90 minutes longer. It'll spread out quite bit.

Preheat you oven to 450°

Once the loaves are ready mist them heavily with warm water.

Place the pan in the oven and bake the Pugliese for 25 to 30 minutes, or until they're a deep, golden brown.

Next transfer the loaves of Pugliese from the pan to the oven rack. Then turn the oven off and prop the door open with a wooden spoon. Allow the loaves to cool in the turned-off oven until room temperature.

Enjoy.

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