Italian Altamura

Olive oil, semolina, and a prolonged fermentation give this crusty loaf a distinctively Italian taste.

Serves: 16Hands-on: 30 minutesTotal: 11 hours 25 minutesDifficulty: Medium


Serves: 16

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cold water, divided
  • 1 3⁄4 tsp. active dry yeast (1 package)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup semolina flour
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 2 Tbsp. cornmeal

Directions

  • To create the sponge, combine 1 cup water and yeast, stir to dissolve, and let stand 5 minutes. Add all-purpose flour and beat for 1 minute. Cover and let stand at room temperature 8 hours.
  • Add to the sponge 1 cup water, olive oil, semolina, salt, and enough bread flour to make a soft dough. Turn out onto a floured work surface and knead 8 to 10 minutes. Add flour only to reduce stickiness. Return to bowl, dust with flour, cover with plastic, and rise at room temperature until doubled in volume, about 1 hour. Punch dough down, fold it in half, and let it rise again, until doubled, about 45 minutes.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment, and sprinkle with cornmeal. Turn risen dough onto a floured surface, and divide into 2 equal portions. Shape into round loaves, place onto prepared pan, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and set aside to proof for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • Dust the top of the risen loaves generously with flour. Using a serrated knife, cut decorative slash marks into the surface of the dough, about 1⁄2 inch deep. Place a pan of cold water at the bottom of the oven to create steam. Bake until golden brown and hollow sounding, about 30 to 40 minutes. Cool completely on a rack before serving.