Pugliese is another bread that I had never heard of before starting this challenge. For the week or so before I was scheduled to bake it, I made a serious effort to find durum flour in the local stores that might carry it, but no luck. Mike would ask me why exactly we had to stop at that particular natural foods store, and I would hiss at him, “Because I need extra fancy durum flour.” I don’t think he knew what I was talking about half of the time.
In the end, I ended up using the semolina I had in the freezer from an earlier King Arthur Flour order. In the notes, Peter Reinhart says you can use it as up to one-third of the 10 ounces of flour, so I used three ounces of semolina and seven ounces of KAF bread flour.
I started by making the biga, and I cut the recipe like I have been doing by one-third, so it only made 12 ounces. Then I measured out the 10.8 ounces I needed and discarded the rest. I didn’t add any mashed potatoes either, since I didn’t have any this week any more than I had them the week before. I don’t think I have made mashed potatoes since Thanksgiving.
Since PR says that the wetter the dough is, the better the bread will be, so I also added the upper limit of 9 ounces of water. But I didn’t get any pictures of this. The first photo I have is after the first ciabatta-esque stretch and fold:
After the third stretch and fold, I put it in a bowl to rise:
I improvised two proofing bowls. One was an actual banneton, covered with a couche. One was a Pyrex mixing bowl with the smooth side of a dishcloth facing up.
My dough rose wonderfully:
I divided them with the help of my scale, and made two little boules:
PR specifies that you should put the boules in seam-side up, and pinch the seam closed if it opens. I did that several times, but it would not stay at all. It reminded me of pinching together the ends of my challah bread, which would not stay closed either.
Although it was easy to get the boules out of the bowl by just flipping it over.
I slashed them. I am really proud of the way my slashing has improved.
And then I baked them.
I liked this bread a lot. Probably because I used the semolina flour, it reminded me of the Pane Siciliano, which I also liked. You can see from the photo that I didn’t get a very open crumb with this bread, despite the wetter dough and the stretches and folds. So I am not sure that this bread really distinguished itself from the Pane Siciliano for me. Maybe the extra fancy durum flour would have made it more distinctive. In any case, it gets a solid four stars.