Pucce breads (plural of puccia) remind me my vacation in Porto Cesareo (Puglie, Italy) many years ago as I still was at the beginning of my cooking discoveries.
The “puce uliate” (like in this recipe) are the smaller ones and they are aromatized with whole black olives. The traditional way to cook them was the wooden oven.
The “puccia alla vampa” (vampa = flame) from the province of Taranto the semolina flour was the base of the dough. Disk of dough were formed and baked at high temperature. The result was a soft flat bread with little crumbs.
According the traditions of Salerno and Taranto you can find different kind of stuffings: tomatoes seed, olives, olive oil, salt with ricotta and beets.
In Pulsano and Lizzano the pucce were baked in a tray and called “Puccia alla tajedda” o “Puccia alla spàsa”; possible stuffings are onions, olives, capers, tomatoes, pepperoncino (chiles) and salted anchovies. The result is similar to a stuffed focaccia.
Long time ago the puce were THE farmer meal, today they are a popular street food sold in shops called “puccerie”. The pucce are sliced in half and filled with a selection of ingredients as traditional soasages, dried tomatoes, anchovies, herbs, ham, cheese, pickled vegetables, capers, cherry tomatoes and tuna fish. Sometimes some tomato paste and chili powder is added to the dough as well.
The name “puccia” has his origine in the name “buccellatum” the Roman bread as this bread was the meal of the legionaries (called buccellaris) who had to stay away from their base and move other places. These legionary bread was prepared simply mixing oil, semolina and water.
The traditional pucce were produced using the sourdough as in my recipe below.
- 50 g sourdough starter (alternative if not available: 21 g flour + 4 g dry yeast + 25 g water)
- 50 g water
- 50 g plain flour
- 350 g plain flour (or 320 g plain flour + 30 g potatoes flakes or 350 g flour + 1 cold boiled mashed potato)
- 300 g finally grinded semolina
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 400 ml lukewarm water
- 200 g black olives
- Additional semolina for the working surface
- For the preparation of this bread we have reactive the sourdough starter. For this purpose we combine the sourdough starter with water and yeast, stir well, cover loosely (with a towel or a lid not tightly closed) and let prove in a warm place for about 5 hours or overnight until very bubbly and active.
- Add all the following ingredients, except of the olives, and work for 10 minutes until soft and smooth. The dough should be humid but not sticky. For this step you can use your kitchenaid!
- Work in the olives.
- Place in an oiled bowl, cover loosely and let prove in a warm place for about 2 hours or until doubled.
- Turn the dough onto a floured surface. With a spatula form carefully balls (try not to deflate them too much) and turn them into the flour.
- Place them onto a floured baking tray.
- Place them into the oven to prove until doubled (about 1-2 hours) or very fluffy. I did in the oven with light on.
- Take out of the oven, heat the oven at 250°C and just before baking place a heat resistant bowl of hot water in the oven.
- Bake for about 15 minutes, reduce heat to 200°C and bake of other 15 minutes or until well browned.
- Place on a grid, cover with a thin towel and let cool down before serving.
- Advise your guest you used olives with SEEDS and enjoy!