Once again, one from the archives (well, I never posted it, but it was made a while ago). I made this pugliese right before we left for Alaska. I figured it’d be a good bread to take a long on the road with us, since it looked like it would be good for snacking or sandwiches. I also decided to make a fairly large change to the recipe for the pugliese, instead of the suggested mix of extra fancy durum flour and bread flour, I went with 100% extra fancy durum. In addition to that deviation, I went with my sourdough starter as a leavening agent for the bread, partially because I figured it would keep longer that way. I did make one mistake subbing in the extra fancy durum, I read the part of the recipe that mentions durum absorbs more water backwards. So instead of extra water I used less… oops.
As with most of the previous bread I’ve adapted into a sourdough, I substituted an appropriate starter for the biga preferment (equivalent ingredient weights).
The biga was very sticky (but stiffer than one would expect for that level of stickiness) after it’d risen! Now that the sourdough biga was ready, time for the rest of the extra fancy durum flour and water, and the salt.
Mixed all of that up, it wasn’t quite as sticky by this point. Although, I believe that it was much drier than the recipe intends because of the mistake I made reading the recipe.
I could definitely tell that the extra fancy durum flour was a bit different to work with, the dough wasn’t hard to work with, but the texture has very different. It spread out like a higher hydration dough, but felt stiffer like a lower hydration dough. I think I’d need to work with just extra fancy durum flour for a while to get a real hang of how it reacts. Well, the big ball of dough there got shaped into two boules and put in bowls with floured towels.
As with most of the sourdoughs I’ve made with this starter, they didn’t seem to rise a bunch during the second ferment. This part of making the bread was also during a going away get together for my girlfriend, so I was back and forth frequently. The dough finally seemed ready to go in (the already preheated by now) oven. As you can see in the picture below, the loaves spread quite a bit when they went on the peel.
Well, even with that spread the loaves turned out a pretty good size, lots of oven spring! The preheating of the baking stone and steam in the oven helped here I’m sure. The smell while they were baking was quite a bit different than regular bread, a different quality to the smell, but hard to place. The crumb didn’t turn out quite how I’d hoped, but I was kind of expecting it not to be too open with the low hydration on the dough. The flavor on the other hand was great, some of that same quality from the baking aroma was in the flavor! (and they weren’t too sour) We enjoyed the bread a number of different ways along the trip, toasted with cheese we picked up at various shops, with chevre and wild huckleberries, with heirloom cherry tomatoes. It turned out to have been a great choice for the trip, it even lasted all the way to Alaska without staling too much or molding. I was surprised it didn’t mold as the bag kept fogging up every day with the drive.