Bready for Altamura take two?

Ooooo. I felt from the start this was going to be good. The biga was perfect, and nice and brewey…….yay!!

Day one Altamura

Altamura day one

Brewy and Bubbly after 24 hours!! Ready to use!!


  • 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

Dough all ready to be kneaded

  • 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.
  • Woo!! talk about increase and bubby as needed!!

  • 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.

    First slash after first rise

  • 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.

    Ready to Bake

  • 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!!

The first Altamura bread was nice but I could really see the difference from using wholemeal to just durum flour and the weight of the bread itself. Still needs possibly a little more baking time (and i need a new oven) for a little crunchier crust but the crust was lovely and chewy even the next day.

Recipe adapted from Carol Fields “The Italian Baker ‘ 2nd Ed, 2011.