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. There have been may changes over the years as Chef Bob marvels at the challenge posed by just 4 ingredients! Pictures below are from a recent (2019) Artisan Bread class where eight students start at 9 am and make their starter, artisan loaves, baguettes, brioche roles, cinnamon roles, bread sticks, and Chef Bob makes lunch of Caesar Chicken Salad, with fresh grilled flatbread, and a glass of wine. Each participant took home an example of everything baked and some took some “biga” starter to use at home.



  • 1 ½ teaspoon dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 20 ounces “biga” (see recipe)
  • 4 ½-61/2 cups all-purpose organic flour
    • 4 ounces whole wheat flour to replace white flour, optional Note this helps make more sour taste
  • 2 teaspoon salt

1. Warm the bowl of the stand mixer using hot tap water. Remove and add the measured warm water & yeast. Stir to dissolve, and wait a few minutes to check  or “proof” the yeast (prove the yeast is alive).

2. Add the measured amount of “biga” giving it time to work about 5 minutes.

3. Add the first measured amount of flour and salt. Add more flour as needed.  Note: depending on the weather and how hydrated your flour is, the amount of flour needed will vary. If you have to add the full 6 1/2 cups flour, then add 1 more teaspoon of salt. (3 t. altogether)

4.  With dough hook in place, knead the mixture until it just starts to pull from sides of bowl (the dough will be slightly wet). Remove the dough hook from the bowl and cover the bowl with a tea towel or plastic. Allow dough to “rest” until it doubles in size. On cooler days-it could take up to 5 hours; a warm day as little as 1-2 hours. Regardless we try to find a cooler place to prolong the fermentation of the dough which also adds to flavor.

5. When dough doubles in bulk, remove to the floured board to scale to size, either as one or two round loaves, shaping gently so as not to deflate the rise.

6.  Place shaped dough(s) on a flat parchment on top of cookie sheet without sides, or on bottom of cooking sheet with sides. Place into the refrigerator to retard growth for 30 minutes up to overnight. (longer time seems to promote flavor)

7. Next morning, remove from the refrigerator and allow to rise at room temperature again about 30 minutes or until when a finger poke, remains in place or pops back out about half-way. THAT MEANS IT IS READY TO BAKE.

8. Before baking, cut or score loaves with razor to expose a good majority of the surface.   Brush with water, then bake at 475°F for 15 minutes, then reduce temperature to 425°F and bake 15-20 minutes longer.  Bread will be golden to dark brown or at least 105 ºF when using a thermometer, In addition, fully baked bread will make a hollow sound when tapped on the bottom.   Cool before cutting; but if you cannot wait, tear off a piece, as cutting with the knife will compress the bread.

Pictures L-R
Loaves ready to be “scored on top,” then baked; Brioche cinnamon rolls and pane Pugliese; Lunch of chicken Caesar salad with homemade flatbread; Chef helps serve the hot flatbread at lunch



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