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Pane Pugliese

by Mark Schimpf

1 3/8 cups Unbleached flour or 6.5 ounces
1/2 tsp. Yeast or 0.03 ounces              
½ cup + 2 tablespoons Water or 4 - 4.5 ounces

  1. Mix flour and yeast in bowl or bowl of an electric mixer.  Add a little more then 1/2 cup of the water and mix to form a coarse ball.  If using an electric mixer, mix on low speed for one minute with paddle mixer.  Adjust the flour or water to form a dough that is neither too stiff or sticky.  Err on the sticky side.


  1. Dust the counter with flour and transfer the dough to the counter.  Knead for 5 minutes, or mix on second (medium) speed with the dough hook for 3 minutes.  Dough should be soft and pliable, not too sticky.
  1. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, coat with oil and cover with plastic wrap.  Keep at room temperature for 2-4 hours. Dough should double in size.


  1. Remove dough from bowl and knead lightly to degas.  Return to bowl and place in refrigerator over night or up to three days.  Biga can be frozen for longer periods.


Pane Pugliese – Makes two 1 lb. loaves

Biga- from above (about 10.8 ounces)
Unbleached flour- 2 cups or 10 ounces
Salt-  1 ½ teaspoons or  0.4 ounces
Yeast-  1 teaspoon  or  0.1 ounces
Water at 90 - 100 F-1 – 1 1/8 cups or 8-9 ounces

  1. Remove the biga from the refrigerator at least one hour before making the dough.  Cut into smaller pieces or flatten on a lightly floured surface to speed the warming process.  Cover with plastic so it doesn’t dry.


  1. Mix flour, salt and yeast in bowl.  Add biga and 1 cup water.  Mix until dough forms wet, sticky ball.  Use low speed and paddle attachment if using an electric mixer.
  1. If you are mixing by hand, mix in the bowl for several minutes to develop the gluten before transferring dough to floured counter surface.  If using an electric mixer, use second speed (medium) and dough hook for about 4 minutes until dough forms smooth, sticky ball and separates from the sides of the bowl.  Dough will still be sticking to the bottom of the bowl.


  1. Transfer dough to lightly floured counter and continue to knead.  The dough should be wet and sticky.  You may want to use a scrapper or rubber spatula and use a stretch and fold technique more then a conventional kneading motion to work the dough.  As the gluten develops further the stickiness will diminish.  Resist the urge to add more flour.  The wetter the dough, the better the bread.
  1. Cover the dough with plastic and let rest for 15 – 30 minutes.  Work the dough again with the stretch and fold method for 4-5 minutes.  The longer you repeat the process, the less sticky the dough will become.


  1. Repeat the rest, stretch and fold method for a third time.  Lightly oil a large mixing bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl.  Cover with plastic.  Use a mister to humidify the air space in the bowl.  Leave dough undisturbed for at least two hours.
  1. Dust counter with flour.  Transfer dough to counter, taking care not to degas the dough any more then necessary.  Using a metal scrapper or knife, divide the dough into two pieces.  Dust hands with flour and gently form dough into two boules.  Place them seam side down on parchment paper in preparation for loading to oven.  If you use proofing bowls, transfer dough, seam side up to proofing bowls.


  1. Mist the top of the dough with water or light oil and cover with plastic wrap or damp towel.  You do not want to let the surface of the dough dry out and form a crust during proofing.
  1. Proof at room temperature for 60-90 minutes until dough has expanded 1 ½ to 2 times.  Preheat oven with baking stone to 450 F at least one hour before baking.


  1. Five minutes before you are to place loaves in oven, fill and plug in steam generator according to instruction in manual and on website (www.steambreadbaker.com).  Be sure to read and follow all safety instructions for operating steam generator.
  1. Transfer loaves to a peel or bottom of a ½ size baking sheet for transfer to the oven.  Score tops of loaves with # sign or cross in the top center. 


  1. Transfer loaves to baking stone.  Cover with steam insert lid and inject steam to steam chamber for 10 – 25 seconds.
  1. 5-10 minutes into baking process, remove lid from steam chamber and bake for the remainder of baking time on uncovered baking stone.


  1. Bake for 30-40 minutes total, or until bread curst is a deep golden brown.  Remove from oven and cool on rack for at least 30 minutes before slicing.



©Mark Schimpf, 2006

Note: This information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the businesses in question before making your plans.

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