Thanks very much for the Pane Pugliese recipe! I made it the next day, and
the flavor was wonderful: wheaty and yeasty with a lovely crispy
crust. Worth spending the time making when you're going to be around the
house anyway. I'll try your English friend's suggestion for even more
flavor next time. One question tho: although the dough was sticky, it was
far from unworkable (not that I'm complaining). I followed the recipe as
it was posted--was that recipe correct? If it was, and the consistency was
also correct, I have a kneading tip that works for me with sticky
doughs. I use a dough/bench knife to help with the kneading, at least at
first, and in keeping the surface free of sticky dough bits, and I knead
the dough very quickly, keeping hand contact to a minimum as I
turn-fold-push. And flour as needed, of course. This method was very
successful with Pane Pugliese, and I was able to form oval loaves with
On the subject of bread baskets, hooray for the inexpensive basket
advocates! I bought a sturdy basket in the shape I was interested in
having, lined it with a [100%] cotton napkin rubbed first with a lot of
flour, popped the formed loaf inside and let 'er rise. It worked great! I
dusted the top with a little flour and folded the extra napkin corners over
the loaf while it rose. I found that I had to be careful to let the dough
rise just enough, and handle the loaf gently when I tipped it out. It's
lots of fun to do, and gives you a great sense of accomplishment when you
take that beautiful bread out of the oven.
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