Bread has always been the staple food for the people of the Alta Murgia. Among the many varieties on the market, available in different shapes and variations, Altamura bread stands out for its properties that make it famous throughout Italy: the crunchiness of the characteristic brown crust, the softness of the crumb with its typical yellow color, its high digestibility and excellent preservability.

This is why it was awarded the Protected Designation of Origin* by the European Union in 2003. Even the Latin poet Horace, in his “Satires” (37 B.C.), wrote about Altamura bread, which was so tasty and appreciated by travelers of the time, who used to take it with them on their journeys, as it could last up to two weeks. In the past, our farmers and shepherds would stockpile large quantities of homemade bread when, due to work in the fields or pastures, they knew they had to spend entire weeks away from home, often in remote farms in the Murgia hills. In an ancient city charter dating back to 1527, several paragraphs are devoted to the “duties” of bakers, as well as the taxes they were required to pay to the authorities.

The original recipe has been handed down from generation to generation, from mother to daughter. Women kneaded bread at home, but went to public wood-burning ovens to bake it. To prevent it from being confused with the others, each loaf of bread was branded with the initials of the owner, “the head of the family,” which were inscribed on an iron stamp. It was the baker himself who would then distribute the loaves of bread, carried on a long wooden board, to the respective housewives, to whom he would announce the delivery by calling them loudly from the street. His compensation consisted of a piece of uncooked pasta (the so-called “chickpea”).


The preparation of Altamura bread involves five stages: kneading, forming, rising, shaping, and baking in a wood-fired oven.
Today, bakers follow all the steps in the process, sticking to the “tradiziomadre,” also known as “sourdough,” a compound consisting of the baking method, which requires the use of “yeast from water and flour, used only after the right degree of acidity is reached.
It is possible to renew it three times. Such a mixture facilitates the development of a specific microflora, as well as lactobacteria, which make the finished product highly digestible.
Water, sea salt and remilled durum wheat semolina are added to this ingredient.
The grains used, of the varieties “appulo,” “arcangelo,” “duilio,” and “simeto,” must be grown in territories included in the Murgia area. After mixing the ingredients, kneading the dough well for about 20 minutes, proceed to divide it into smaller pieces and let it rise for an hour and a half. It continues with manual shaping of the mass, which is then left to rest for 30 minutes, after which the operation is repeated.
After an additional 15 minutes of resting, not before being turned upside down and crushed on one of the sides with light hand pressure, the loaves are baked in a wood-fired oven at a temperature of 250o C. During the first baking phase, which lasts about 15 minutes, the oven door is left open.
Baking continues for another 45 minutes.
The oven is opened 5 minutes before the bread is fully baked to allow a crisp crust to form, which must be at least 3mm thick.