Now this bread has a very interesting tale to tell.
Altamura bread singlehandedly drove McD’s out of its city because the people there are very proud of their regional bread and food.
“What took place was a small war between us and McDonald’s,” said Onofrio Pepe, a retired journalist who founded an association here devoted to local delicacies. “Our bullets were focaccia. And sausage. And bread. It was a peaceful war, without any spilling of blood.”
Mr. Pepe and several like-minded citizens of Altamura, a city of 65,000 residents, made up one wing of the army. They say they fought largely for pride and for their food, which includes a local mushroom called the cardoncello, focaccia, mozzarella and, most of all, a coarse-grain bread famous for millennia around Italy. The bread is protected as unique in European Union regulations, which note that Horace called it, in 37 B.C., “far the best bread to be had, so good that the wise traveler takes a supply of it for his onward journey.”
Thank you to http://www.ilovelucca.co.nz/ for the link: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/12/international/europe/12italy.html
You know what comes next….Lets get Yeasty!! 🙂
Not a lot of photo’s for this recipe as I got distracted and when I was almost finished , I thought “OMG, no photos!!” Argh…………In this recipe, I used Durum intergrale flour which is more wheaty and not as finely milled as regular durum flour so I got a heavier bread but I am retrying this week with finely milled durum to see the contrast.
- 1 tsp dried yeast.
- 1/4 cup warm water.
- 3/4 cup room temp water.
- 1 & 3/4 cups durum flour.
- Stir yeast into the warm water and stand in warm place covered until frothy/creamy.
- Stir in RT water and flour to make a dough.
- Place in lightly oiled bowl, covered with gladwrap, in a cool room temperature for 6-24 hours.
- The longer left, the more intense the flavour. I usually do the biga at night and do the rest the following day (if i am at home) or the afternoon if I am at work so it gets 12-20 hours to bubble away.
- 1/2 tsp dried yeast.
- 1/4 cup warm water.
- 1 & 1/2 cups RT water.
- 4 cups of Durum flour
- Pinch of salt
- Stir yeast into warm water and stand until creamy/frothy.
- Mix the dissolved yeast into the biga (above) and when mixed, add in the RT water.
- Make sure well mixed and consistency is smooth
- Mix in the flour and the salt, 1 cup at a time.
- When dough is formed and all flour/salt mix has been added, turn out on floured area and knead for 10 minutes.
- Place dough in the lightly oiled bowl and cover and leave in warm place for first rise for 3 hours or until tripled in size.
- When dough is ready from first rise, turn out again on floured area and shape the bread into either a round or a flatter oval shape.
- Slash down the middle of each loaf and place the bread slash side down on a tray well covered with flour or semolina until doubled in size or until big air bubbles are noticeable.
- 45 minutes before you want to bake this bread, turn on the oven to 225 Celsius and place baking dish at the bottom of the oven.
- Slash the bread again if the slash has closed over and sprinkle with cornmeal (polenta) .
- When oven is at correct temperature, place tray in oven and put a few ice cubes in the baking dish at the bottom of the oven.This will help the crust form, yet keep the bread moist.
- Bake for 45-55 minutes until dark golden brown ( a little more than i did above)
- Cool and enjoy!!