Meet Puccia, the tasty traditional Apulian bread. Light and hollow, it’s perfect for fillings like cold cuts, cheeses, or sautĂ©ed veggies. Enjoy it on its own or as a base for sandwiches and appetisers. Give it a try today!

Servings

 

4

Ready In:

 

6h 50 min

Calories:

 

506

Good For:

 

Picnic

About this Recipe

By: Silvana Lanzetta

The first time I went to Puglia on holiday with my family was when I was 15 years old. We went to the most charming town on the Ionian sea – Porto Cesareo. We rented a cosy flat right by the sea, and I loved every single moment of that holiday. The sun, the sea, the food – it was all perfect!
During that trip, I discovered puccia bread, which is a typical street food of the region. The food stalls near the beach served it, and being a passionate foodie since my tender years, I had to try it. I chose a puccia filled with burrata, capocollo, and vegetables, and let me tell you, it was absolutely delicious!
When we returned to Naples, I went straight to my aunt Milda, who was from Taranto, and asked her if she knew the recipe for puccia. Lucky for me, she did, and I begged her for the recipe. She jotted it down on a piece of paper and gave it to me. Of course, being 15, I stuffed it in a cookery book and went on with my life.
But not long ago, as I was browsing through one of my mum’s old cookery books, I found a folded sheet of paper. It was my aunt’s puccia recipe, which I had completely forgotten about. All the memories of that beautiful summer in Puglia came flooding back, and I knew I had to try making it myself.
puccia bread without filling on a wooden table
view of Porto cesareo

Porto Cesareo

Porto Cesareo,  View of the The Rabbits' Island from mainland

Porto Cesareo – The Rabbits’ Island

Apulian Puceria, displaying  the counter with the bread and the filling

Traditional Pucceria in Lecce

Making puccia is super easy, but as with all bread, it requires time and patience. It needs to leaven up for about 6 hours, but trust me, it’s totally worth the wait.
One of the unique features of Puccia is the lack of crumb, making it perfect for stuffing with all sorts of ingredients. It’s very similar to pitta, and considering that Puglia has been Greek for the longest time, the two breads are certainly related. This traditional Apulian bread, specifically from Salento, is considered one of the oldest symbols of street food tradition. The name Puccia comes from the term “buccellatum,” meaning “bite-sized,” used to describe the bread of soldiers. In Puglia, it is served as street food from “pucceries,” small shops that prepare it in the original version, baked in a wood-fired oven.
Today, I’m excited to show you how to prepare Puccia bread at home and suggest two different fillings. The first one is inspired by the filling I had when I was younger, but feel free to get creative and use your favourite ingredients! With my step-by-step guide, you’ll be able to make your own delicious Puccia in no time. So let’s get started and create some mouth-watering street food that will transport you straight to the sunny streets of Puglia!
small heap of semolina flour and small heap of plain flour on a wooden board
burrata on a platter covered with parma ham

Nutrition

 

Puccia is delicious, but it’s best to enjoy it in moderation as part of a balanced diet. You can also consider incorporating more protein and vegetables into the filling to increase the nutritional value. 

  • Proteins 9.1% 9.1%
  • Carbs 57.5% 57.5%
  • Fats 33.4% 33.4%
close up of puccia bread filled with burrata and parma ham

The Ingredients

The Dough

Flours: Firstly, let’s talk about flour. To achieve that perfect texture and flavour, a combination of soft wheat flour and durum wheat semolina flour is necessary. I personally prefer using white spelt flour for the soft wheat component. It’s less processed, higher in nutrients, and low in gluten – perfect for those who want to reduce their gluten intake. But if you want an even healthier option, try using wholewheat spelt flour instead! As for the semolina, make sure it’s double-milled and fine. This will give the puccia a protein boost and allow it to rise, resulting in that classic hollow centre. While I use white semolina, whole grain semolina flour is also an excellent option if you want a healthier bread. But be careful, semolina flour is high in gluten, so if you want to make a low-gluten version, try using kamut khorasan wheat flour or senatore cappelli flour instead.

Yeast: I use dried yeast in this recipe, but you can also use fresh yeast. Just remember to double the quantity if you do! If you’re not a fan of the yeasty aftertaste, feel free to reduce the amount of yeast used. But keep in mind that this will increase the resting time needed for the dough to rise. On the other hand, using too much yeast can negatively impact the flavour and texture of your puccia.

Olive Oil: Lastly, let’s talk about oil. Olive oil is the perfect choice for this recipe as it adds that unique flavour that makes puccia bread so special. Don’t skimp on the quality of olive oil you use – it really makes a difference in the taste!

Filling 1

Tenderstem Broccoli: Tenderstem broccoli is the star of the show here. Its shape and size make it the perfect ingredient for filling up a sandwich, while also providing a host of health benefits. If you can’t find tenderstem broccoli at your local shop, don’t worry – you can use regular broccoli instead. Just remember to cut it into small florets to avoid overwhelming the sandwich. To make sure the broccoli is tender, I recommend blanching it in boiling water for a couple of minutes. And if you’re feeling adventurous, try using Neapolitan wild broccolis (friarielli) for an extra flavourful kick!

Sausages: When it comes to sausages, I recommend using savoury ones without added flavours like Bramley apple or caramelised onions. My personal favourites for this recipe are chipolatas, Cumberland or Old English sausages. They’re packed with flavour and pair perfectly with the broccoli, making for a mouth-watering sandwich experience.

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Filling 2

Burrata: Originating from Apulia, burrata cheese is a dream come true for lovers of creamy goodness.

In Italian, “burrata” means “buttery,” and it truly lives up to its name. This cheese offers a velvety fusion of fresh mozzarella and cream, resulting in a melt-in-your-mouth experience like no other.

For the ultimate enjoyment, it’s crucial to seek out the freshest burrata cheese available. It should be no more than 48 hours old. However, if burrata is unavailable, don’t worry! You can opt for mozzarella instead. While buffalo mozzarella is ideal, any type of mozzarella will work. Just remember, I’m not referring to those dry, lackluster blocks masquerading as mozzarella. Authentic mozzarella is sold in round ball shapes, immersed in whey water. Alternatively, consider trying dolce latte cheese if mozzarella isn’t to your taste or is unavailable. It’s a soft, sweet, and spreadable version of gorgonzola that pairs wonderfully with the other ingredients.

Now, if you’re lactose intolerant, don’t worry. You can still enjoy this sandwich. Simply skip the cheese and load up on the other ingredients.

Parma Ham: Its delicate, sweet flavour and smooth, silky texture make it one of the most highly regarded hams out there. Personally, it’s one of my favourites, alongside San Daniele ham, mortadella, and speck.

However, if you prefer not to use Parma ham, fear not! There are several alternatives that work just as well for this filling.

Simple prosciutto is a great option, offering a similar taste and texture, although it can be saltier than Parma ham. If you’re looking for a milder flavour, cooked ham or prosciutto cotto is the way to go.

Now, if you don’t consume pork, let me introduce you to bresaola. This delicious ham is crafted from cured beef, offering a unique and tasty alternative. Not only does it have a fantastic flavour, but it’s also lower in fat.

Oil Marinated Vegetables: “Sott’olio”  is a traditional Italian method of preserving vegetables in oil. In Italy, we make and enjoy a wide variety of vegetables prepared this way to ensure a supply throughout the winter. Some popular options include artichokes, mushrooms, courgettes, aubergines (my personal favourite), and many more. For this filling, I’ve chosen artichoke and mushrooms as they pair wonderfully with Parma ham. However, feel free to mix things up and swap in your preferred vegetables. Marinated peppers make an excellent substitute for both artichoke and mushrooms. If you’re going for a vegetarian twist on the Puccia, sun-dried tomatoes and marinated aubergines are a mouth-watering combination.

Now, what if you prefer not to use “sott’olio”? No worries! You can opt for fresh vegetables instead. If you have the time and inclination, I highly recommend roasting courgettes, aubergines, or peppers for a delectable filling. It adds a fantastic depth of flavour to your sandwich. While I suggested “sott’olio” for the sake of convenience, feel free to prepare it your way and experiment with different methods.

Print
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puccia bread without filling on a wooden table

Puccia salentina


  • Author: Silvana
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 4 portions 1x

Description

Puccia is a delightful Apulian sandwich made with a round-shaped bread that is typically filled with various ingredients such as cured meats, cheeses, and vegetables. It’s a flavoursome and satisfying portable meal that offers a taste of Italy in every bite.


Ingredients

Units Scale

FOR YEAST ACTIVATION

FOR THE DOUGH

FOR SAUSAGES AND TENDERSTEM BROCCOLI FILLING

  • 500 grams of tenderstem broccoli
  • 300 grams of chipolata sausages
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Extra virgin olive oil as needed

FOR PARMA HAM, VEGETABLES, AND BURRATA FILLING


Instructions

  1. To prepare the puccia dough, dissolve the dred yeast in 100 g of water, then add the honey and mix well. Let the mixture rest for 30 minutes.
  2. Place the sifted flours in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Start the machine and add the yeast dissolved in water, along with the water in which you’ve dissolved the salt.
  3. Mix for at least 10 minutes until a smooth and homogeneous dough is formed that wraps around the hook and detaches from the sides of the bowl.
  4. Gradually add the oil, ensuring the added oil is absorbed before adding more.
  5. Turn the dough out onto an oiled work surface and form a ball by folding the outer edges towards the centre, rotating the dough. Place the dough ball in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let it rise for 3 hours in a turned-off oven until it doubles in size.
  6. After the dough has risen, transfer it to a lightly oiled work surface and stretch it with your hands (using only your fingertips, not a rolling pin) to form a 36 x 16 cm rectangle. Roll it along the longer side to form a log and divide it into 4 cylinders, each 9 cm long.
  7. Take one cylinder at a time and gently stretch it on the work surface with your fingers. Roll it up into another cylinder, rotate it 180 degrees and stretch it again with your fingertips. Repeat this process 3-4 times for each dough ball to ensure proper rising during baking.
  8. Perform the “pirlatura,” which involves rotating each dough portion on your work surface and shaping it into 4 balls. Place the balls on a baking sheet lined with floured parchment paper and let them rise for another 2 hours (until they double in size) in a turned-off oven.
  9. After the dough balls have risen, gently roll them out with a rolling pin to form discs of dough with a diameter of about 18 cm.
  10. Preheat the oven to 240°C (464°F) with an inverted baking tray or refractory stone inside on the lowest oven shelf.
  11. Once the oven reaches the set temperature, place the dough discs directly onto the hot surface (you may need to bake one or two at a time) and bake for about 8 minutes.
  12. Do not open the oven until the baking is complete, until the breads are puffed up and browned on the surface (they will take on the typical colour of a pizza crust).
  13. Remove the breads from the oven and let them cool slightly before cutting them in half and filling them. Serve and enjoy your homemade puccia bread!

SAUSAGE AND TENDERSTEM BROCCOLI FILLING:

  1. In a non-stick pot, gently heat a drizzle of oil with crushed garlic. Then, add the cleaned tenderstem broccoli, season with salt, and stir fry for 5-6 minutes until cooked. Turn off the heat and set aside.
  2. Remove the sausage casing and crumble it with your hands directly into another pan. Increase the heat slightly, and sauté for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the cooked broccoli to the pan with the sausage and sauté together for a minute. Remove from heat and let it cool slightly before filling 2 of the prepared breads.
  4. Optional: at the beginning of cooking, you can add a sliced fresh chilli pepper to the oil and garlic, with or without seeds, depending on the level of spiciness you want to give your filling.

PARMA HAM, MARINATED VEGETABLES, AND BURRATA FILLING:

  1. Open the casing of the burrata and spread it on one half of the breads.
  2. Halve the marinated mushrooms and quarter the artichoke hearts. Spread them over the burrata along with slices of Parma ham.

Notes

  • Puccia bread has various versions, including one enriched with olives, or the pizzaiola version, enriched with onions, olives, capers, and tomatoes. However, the most traditional recipe is plain, perfect for filling with anything you like.
  • To save time, you can prepare the dough for the bread the night before and keep it in the refrigerator. But before using it, make sure to let it come to room temperature for about 2 hours.
  • Once cooked, I recommend consuming your bread while it’s still hot. Alternatively, store it in a paper bag for up to 1-2 days, or freeze it for later use.
 
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Rest Time: 6 hours
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Baking
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: Italian
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