Pane di Altamura is one of Italy’s most well-known regional breads. It is made with hard wheat flour, grano duro in Italian, which is cultivated in the northeastern part of the Murgia region of Apulia. The flour is mixed with natural yeast, water and salt and left to rise for a couple of hours. Once the dough has risen, it is kneaded again and divided into pieces of various sizes.
Pane di Altamura
The dough is worked into the shape of a hat, raised on the sides and sliced along the edges. Then the dough is placed in a wood oven fed with oak wood. The oven is opened five minutes before the bread is done cooking in order to create a dry, crispy crust. In dialect, the bread is called sckuanete. Each loaf generally weighs about 2 lbs, but you can find loaves that weigh anywhere from 1 to 10 lbs. This special bread is known to last over 15 days.
Pane di Altamura is used to prepare a poor, traditional dish called cialled. It is basically bread, dipped in a stock made with vegetables, onion and garlic, seasoned with a little extra virgin olive oil and peperoncino.
In the library:
M. Pignatelli Ferrante, La cucina delle Murge: curiosita e tradizioni, Padova, F. Muzzio, 1991;
INSOR–Istituto nazionale di sociologia rurale, Atlante dei prodotti tipici: il pane, Roma, AGRA – RAI-ERI, 2000.