When Bob was in Italy the first time he thought it was remarkable how every region seemed to have their own style crusty bread. He liked the one from Puglia and came home and worked on this recipe.


  • 1 1/2 teaspoon dry yeast

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup biga (see recipe)
  • 4 cups all-purpose organic flour
  • 2 teaspoon sea salt


Combine yeast water and biga; mix to dissolve biga and yeast together; add in flour and salt and mix to combine; place in mixer with dough hook and knead for 5 minutes – more flour may be needed but the dough will not pull away from the bowl – it should be elastic and sticky; remove to oiled bowl and cover with plastic for 2 hours or until doubled in size.
Generously flour the work surface and place bread on it generously coating with flour; flatten the bread and shape a rectangular form;  fold dough over from left to right from top to bottom working towards you;  upon completion work into a ball, tight and elastic;  place on floured parchment lined, inverted sheet pan; cover with towel for 1 hour
Bake at 400° F for approximately 30 minutes, until golden brown and hollow sounding when tapped on the bottom.
Wait until almost cool before cutting. If you cannot wait, tear carefully. Enjoy plain or with EVOO and sea salt.



  • 1 cup cold water, chlorine free, preferably

  • ¼ tsp rapid yeast

    ¾ cup AP organic flour


DAY 1: combine water and yeast and let stand until yeast is dissolved; mix in flour and let stand, uncovered at room temperature for 24 hours; add an additional cup of water and ¾ cup flour to feed your starter on DAY 2.  DAY 3: repeat day 2–at the end of 24 hours day 3, it is ready to use; keep refrigerated until using. When you use some, add to it the amount you remove. If you remove 1 cup of “biga” add 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup water. If you don’t use biga for a week, be sure to feed it again with 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup flour once a week each week you do not use it in a recipe.

*“Starter” (also know as “biga” in Italian) is an active yeast culture maintained separately from a bread recipe but that is used for making bread.
•    A “sponge” is the actual step in bread recipes where a mixture of the ingredients, including the commercial yeast, a starter or both, is left to ferment for a time in the bowl before the rest of the ingredients are added. It is very wet, loose, unstructured dough. Once it is fully developed, a portion can be set aside and maintained as a “starter” for future bread batches.
•    A starter is designed to be used in place of active commercial yeast. However “starter” reacts more slowly than commercial yeasts, but worth the wait as results in more flavors in the bread.
•    A starter may also be cultivated from wild yeasts, which are also known as “sour” starters, because along with wild yeast comes bacteria that break down the starch of the flour and enable the yeast to feed on sugar and grow.  This process adds to the flavor of the bread.  Sometimes recipes use both dry yeast and starter.


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