Okay, now let's have some fun...
make sure your biga has come to room temperature.
What you need...
- Warm water... 1 1/3 Cups
- Active dry yeast... 1 tsp.
- Bread flour... 3 Cups
- Salt... 1 ½ tsp.
- Biga... all of it (click here for recipe)
- Big bowl... (this dough is going to rise as much as 3-times its size)
- Bowl scraper
- Plastic wrap
- Parchment Paper
- Baking pans... 1 or 2
- Oil... for coating the bowl and plastic wrap
- Spray bottle filled with water...set on mist
Putting it together...
- Add water and yeast to the mixing bowl
- Let the yeast swim around until it's foamy (about 5 minutes)
- Add the flour while mixing on low speed
- Once flour is adding and is combined, turn-off mixer, cover bowl with towel and let rest for 20 minutes
- After 20 minutes, with mixer on low, add the biga and the salt
- Continue to mix until the dough comes away from the sides, but it will stick to the bottom (remember, this is a very sticky dough)
- Using your bowl scraper, gently place dough into a well-oiled bowl
- Oil the plastic wrap, cover bowl tightly, and place in a warm place for 1 hour (I use the inside of my oven with the oven light on)
- After one hour, using your scraper gently fold ¼ of the dough toward the center and repeat with remaining 3 sides. You are trying to turn the dough into a square
- Cover and let rise for 1 hour
- Repeat folding procedure, cover and let rise for third time for 1 hour
- Take parchment paper and trim it to the size of your baking sheet and spread flour liberally on the bottom (this dough WILL stick to it)
- Take your scraper and gently dump your dough onto the parchment, so that the dough that was on the bottom of the bowl is facing up
- Dust dough with flour and add as needed to be able to work it
- Using your scraper, cut the dough into two or three pieces and form into your desired shapes (you may need more than one pan. See photo below to see why.)
- Loosely cover with well-oiled plastic wrap and let rise for another hour
- take loaves and using a very sharp knife or razor blade, cut a slit (about 1/2 inch deep) lengthwise down the loaf
- Pre-heat oven to 475°
- When you place the bread in the oven to bake, use your spray bottle and mist each loaf about 5-6 times with water (this will give you the hard crust)
- Close oven door and after 1 minute, mist again
- Bake at 475° for 10 minutes
- After 10 minutes, reduce heat to 450° and bake an additional 10 minutes, or until the loaves are golden brown
- Remove and let cool
This is why you may need two pans...
Personal note: I also now use this recipe to make Focaccia bread ( I add 1 tsp of garlic powder, ½ tsp of basil, and ½ tps of thyme). If you wish to do the same, just roll-out the dough to cover the parchment, cover with well-oiled plastic wrap and let raise. Just before baking, make indentations all over the bread (I use my fingers), sprinkle with coarse salt, and Parmesan cheese. Bake as usual.