As I mentioned, I have a stash of Italian flours at home and I’m attempting to make breads in different Italian styles. There’s more than pizza, ciabatta and focaccia!
My first attempt was to make a bread in the style of the pane di Altamura. But I was too impatient and didn’t wait until my semi-dormant starter was sufficiently lively again, so I made a nice looking rustic rock. It smells amazing, but it didn’t rise a lot, so it’s quite compact inside (it can be eaten in thin slices, haha!)
That said I got to practice handling the dough and folding it, so there will be less new concepts to learn at once the next time I attempt making this.
I was also really determined that it had to be a plaited bread, which inevitably forces you to use a less wet dough so you can handle and shape it without losing your wits.
The result, once baked, has less definition in the plait than I’d like, but I am very pleased with the bread itself nonetheless. The crumb was quite open, and the anise flavour was there to give it the air of an special bread. I also practiced “painting” the surface with water to give it a smoother surface, and it worked! It felt a bit like biting into a brioche. Quite interesting!
We used to buy loaves of walnut bread from the Fabrique bakery nearby… and I say “we used to” because through trial and error I have developed a recipe which produces loaves that are even tastier than theirs. So we won’t buy this anymore!
Sorry, Fabrique! We still buy your cardamon buns (for now 😏).