Bake Like a Pro: Recreating Totti Restaurant's Puffy Bread at Home!

Puff Puffy Bread Totti's recipe

The most memorable part of a meal at Sydney's Totti restaurant is the wood fired puffy bread. It comes to the table puffed up high drizzled with olive oil and salt. Although made with simple ingredients, the theatre and texture of this bread is so moreishly delicious that I wanted to learn how to make it at home in a pizza oven. After much testing every weekend I've got a neverfail puffy bread recipe! This is a pushy recipe Dear Reader.

Puff Puffy Bread Totti's recipe

The Puffy or Puff bread is essentially like making a pita bread where the bread puffs up after it goes into the oven and over (a short) time deflates. So while it's not re-inventing the wheel because pita bread has been around for thousands of years, having this with a range of easy to make sides makes for an easy, low-prep way of entertaining.

Puff Puffy Bread Totti's recipe

To make the puffy bread you will need a pizza oven. The reason why is that home ovens don't reach a high enough temperature-mine goes up to 240C/464F whereas a pizza oven can get as high as 450C/842F. Enter the Gozney pizza oven. Gozney is a brand of pizza oven that came out with their first portable pizza oven called the Roccbox, in 2016 and is popular with chefs. Even some pizzaiolos started off their pizza careers using Gozney pizza ovens. We got the new Gozney Arc XL that was sent to us by Gozney along with the stand, cover and pizza paddles. There was no expectations of a positive review from Gozney, just an honest one.

Puff Puffy Bread Totti's recipe

I started off using the recipe from chef Sean Connolly on the cuisine site. It was good and while my first couple rose perfectly, I couldn't get them to consistently rise. So I practised. And practised and practised. Every weekend Mr NQN and I would fire up the Gozney.

Puff Puffy Bread Totti's recipe

Setting up the Gozney Arc: The Gozney is very easy to set up. The courier that brought it actually set up the stand so there was hardly anything we had to do was set it up apart from take the plastic stone holders. Gozney is like if Apple built pizza ovens-easy to use and sleekly packaged. However there is a lot of packaging and boxes.

Puff Puffy Bread Totti's recipe

Using the Gozney Arc: Mr NQN became a bit obsessed with it and every weekend we'd turn it on to make puffy bread and pizza. It takes around 30 minutes to reach 350C/662F and 45 minutes to reach 450C/842F. One thing we found is that at first it is hard to control the temperature. With a regular oven you just set the temperature. With the Gozney the dial doesn't control the temperature, the dial controls the flame and the temperature indicator just tells you what it is at. But other than that, it was lots of fun to use. We have a charcoal barbecue and while we love the flavour from the charcoal, it is more complicated to set up whereas the Gozney Arc just required a turn of the gas knob to start it.

Puff Puffy Bread Totti's recipe

Cleaning the Gozney Arc: To clean the Gozney pizza oven all you have to do is vacuum or brush the charcoal bits out (obviously when it's cold). Our vacuum cleaner wasn't powerful enough to clean it so we went with a small dustpan and brush that we only used to clean the pizza oven with.

Storing the Gozney Arc: We stored the pizza oven with the cover that protected it well, even when we had that crazy rainy day with 5 inches of rain! The cover ($79.99) also allows the pizza oven to breathe as well.

Puff Puffy Bread Totti's recipe
Pizza served and cutter

Gozney Tools: The pizza server ($69) and pizza cutter ($75) are excellent. The pizza server is really light so easy to use and doesn't seem to scratch when cutting your pizza. The pizza cutter is strong and sharp and comes apart from easy cleaning. Because it is sharp, it comes in a protective case. You also need a pizza peel and a turning peel to reposition your pizza.

What To Serve with Puffy Bread

Puff Puffy Bread Totti's recipe

I've become a bit of a one trick pony because now every time friends comes over, I just make puffy bread and sides because it's so easy. The sides are ridiculously easy to make or buy. Some suggestions:

Puff Puffy Bread Totti's recipe

I absolutely love making this bread, now that we've figured out how to make it so that it never fails. There's nothing worse than having people over for something and then it doesn't work out. My friends would be totally understanding but I would just feel like I didn't do the best job. When we had Monica, Georgie and Queen Viv over we started with this and the first one had a small crack in it so it deflated easily but to them it was still delicious. And needless to say that making it at home, if you make this a lot is a lot cheaper. We even did the maths and a meal out is around $250 for two nowadays and while the pizza oven is $1199 if you use it a few times it sort of pays for itself (ok perhaps that's girl math but hopefully you get my point). This is like home-made take out!

Puff Puffy Bread Totti's recipe

I had a friend in high school Sara that loved eating. I'm sure that's why she and I bonded. Her favourite food was cheesecake and one day she told me excitedly that she had found her favourite cheesecake place. Because we were in high school and were existing on pocket money and money earnt from part time jobs, two criteria were important. That 1) the cheesecake was good and 2) it was good value for money.

Puff Puffy Bread Totti's recipe

She brought me to a little shop on Oxford Street in Paddington to show me where she had found the cheesecake. I remember it being quite dark, it was after school so just before 4pm and it was empty and a woman came out from the kitchen in the back to serve us. Sara pointed out to me that there were two different prices, one for eat in and one for takeaway. It was about a dollar difference and she was slightly annoyed that sitting down incurred a fee. "I'll have it takeaway," she said to the woman who put it on a tray in a paper bag. She looked at us and Sara looked back at her. "Is there anything else?" the woman said. I knew that Sara wanted to eat the cheesecake straight away so she was waiting for the woman to go to the back. But she stood there waiting for us.

Sara and I left the shop and as Sara was taking the last step out of the shop she looked back and saw the woman's retreating back. I knew what she was thinking. "Let's just go!" I whispered to her. But Sara was determined. She took a seat and removed the cheesecake from the bag. She didn't have a fork and she wasn't going to ask for one but she enjoyed her take out cheesecake enjoying the best of dining in at take out prices!

So tell me Dear Reader, how often do you eat out nowadays in a week? Have you ever tried the puffy bread?

Puff Puffy Bread Totti's recipe

Puff or Puffy Bread

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An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott

Preparation time: 30 minutes plus minimum 24 hours proofing in fridge

Cooking time: 2 minutes per bread

Makes: 5 puffy breads

  • 750g/1.6lbs bread or baker's flour
  • 9g/0.3ozs instant dried yeast
  • 450ml/0.9pint lukewarm water
  • 50ml/1.7flozs olive oil
  • 16g/0.6ozs fine salt
  • Semolina to dust
  • Extra virgin olive oil and flakey salt

Puff Puffy Bread Totti's recipe
Shaggy textured dough

Step 1 - Place the flour and yeast in the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk to distribute the yeast. In a jug measure the water, olive oil and whisk in the salt to dissolve. Add this mixture to the flour and stir with a spatula to combine. It will be a shaggy mixture. Then knead with a dough hook for 8-10 minutes until you get an elastic texture. You may be tempted to add more liquid or flour but only do this after 5 minutes and just add a little if you need it and the dough is too sticky (flours vary even from bag to bag within a brand).

Puff Puffy Bread Totti's recipe
Dough ready for bulk proof

Step 2 -Oil a large bowl and shape the dough into a ball with no cracks at the top. Cover and allow to rise for 1 hour in a warm, draught free area.

Puff Puffy Bread Totti's recipe
Dough ball ready for fridge

Step 3 -Have 5 containers with lids ready or 1 extra large container to house your dough balls. Have a bowl of semolina flour ready and dust a surface with it quite generously. Divide the dough into 5 equal pieces (you should get 5x250g/0.5lb balls of dough). Dust the bottom of the containers with semolina flour and place each dough in the container. Cover and place in the fridge at least overnight. You can keep this dough in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Puff Puffy Bread Totti's recipe

Puff Puffy Bread Totti's recipe

Step 4 -When you want to make it, preheat your Gozney. You want it to be 350C/662F and once it reaches that turn the flame down low. Take the dough balls out of the fridge and then reshape them all so that they're balls with no cracks on the base or top. Let rest for 10 minutes. Make sure that the dough is used within 25 minutes of taking it out of the fridge.

Puff Puffy Bread Totti's recipe

Step 5 -Then flour the surface generously with semolina flour and roll out so that the dough is thin, around 2/3 centimetre/0.3inch in thickness. Lift and place on the pizza paddle and bake until it starts to colour on one side (1-2 minutes). Once it turns colour on one side, use the pizza turner to turn it halfway and then turn up the flame so that both sides are burnished. It should be puffy and high. Drizzle with olive oil and salt and serve! The bread will stay puffed for around 3-4 minutes.

Storage: Because this bread doesn't have any preservatives it does get stale within a couple of days. I like freezing any leftover baked bread. Take it out of the freezer that morning and it will be defrosted and ready for lunch (honestly just microwave it for 20 seconds to make it soft again).

Troubleshooting Puffy Bread:

1 - The dough in the bulk proof in step 2 doesn't rise: Make sure that your yeast hasn't expired.

2- The dough balls don't rise fully when baked: The dough has to be cold and the oven very hot to rise. Make sure to use the dough within 25 minutes of taking it out of the fridge. Make sure that the pizza oven is at the right temperature.

Puff Puffy Bread Totti's recipe
Not completely risen

3 - The dough rises and then falls when baked: There is a crack in the dough. Make sure that the dough balls are smooth and have no cracks before rolling them out.

Puff Puffy Bread Totti's recipe

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