In screamingly oversimplified terms, we can say that there are two ways to make bread: 1) with the bread machine that Nana bought you for your dorm room, or 2) uh, just buy some fucking bread?
Number two is how the French would have it, anyway. Pop by your local boulangerie and pick up a loaf—don't waste the precious time and effort you could spend chain-smoking on yeast and flour and not-hot-enough home ovens.
Then again, maybe you prefer a challenge. And this Pane Pugliese from Bien Cuit's Zachary Golper is exactly that.
RECIPE: Pane Pugliese
No, you're not just going to chuck a packet of Fleischmann's into a dune of AP flour and churn out some flavorless LEGO block of sandwich bread.
This bread—a real-deal, artisan, rustic loaf that makes grocery store ciabatta look like a dusty shoe in comparison—requires the patience demanded by slow fermentation, which allows the dough to develop crazy amounts of flavor before you send it to meet its maker at just over 450 degrees. In fact, you'll probably want to get started on this tonight if you want crusty, nutty, rich bread to stuff into your maw this weekend.
And if you're a total novice, it might behoove you to pick up a copy of Golper's shiny new book Bien Cuit: The Art of Bread in order to learn a thing or two about mixing, shaping, and baking off your loaf.
You can do it. We believe in you.