Here's the recipe, as usual I divided into half to make one loaf.
- 1 cups bread flour
- 1/8 tsp. Instant dry yeast
- 4oz. water @ room temperature
- 1 & 1/2 cups bread flour
- 1/2 tsp. instant dry yeast
- 1/2 cup plus 2 & 1/2 Tblsp. water @ room temperature
- Salt 1&1/4 tsp.
- cooking spray (I used olive oil )
- large baking sheet
Method : Before I start to write the procedure, I would like to say that making biga may sound complicated but it's really as easy as mixing flour & water. The only difficult part over here is that you have to start it a day before, it's a time consuming process as most of the time is spent on dough to rise & ferment.
Making Biga : Just mix the ingredients for biga & knead it for 3-4 minutes. The dough or as it's called biga will be kind of very soft. Grease the inside of bowl with few drops of oil(or use cooking spray). Cover with plastic wrap & keep it at some warm place for at least 3 hrs. after that move it to the fridge.Next day after fermentation, biga will be bubbly & almost double. Make sure you take it out of the fridge at least half an hour before you decide to work on it(I took it out an hour before).
Making Dough :
- Like biga, dough is also easy to make, combine flour, yeast & water & knead it for 3-4 minutes. Coat the inner side of a big bowl & let the dough rest in it for 20 min. covered with plastic wrap.
- After resting period sprinkle the salt & add biga to the dough and mix everything together & knead for few minutes( I did it for 5 minutes), making sure that everything get mixed while kneading, Oil your hands to avoid stickiness. Note : It take little time to incorporate the salt into the dough this way, I'm not sure what difference it would make if salt is added in the beginning which would be easy, but I followed the recipe for that part. But I did added all the salt at this point, where as actual recipe is adding it in two parts. Actual recipe has a link for the video on how to knead which is really helpful for beginners like me.
- Cover the bowl with the dough tightly with plastic wrap & let it sit at room temperature for at least one hour.
- Uncover after an hour, fold the dough, one side to the other and top to the bottom & flip it over in the bowl(don't forget to use cooking spray/oil). Remember NO PUNCHING gently folding only. Again cover it with the plastic wrap & let it rest for another hour.
- Repeat step 4 after an hour. So in total the dough rest & rise for 3 hours.
- Now on a floured surface roll the dough to roughly 8" x 10". Then starting from either of the short side fold both the corners towards inside(roughly 2-3"). Now start rolling that pointed side, make a log. Put the seam side down & tuck the ends underneath(I lightly wet my finger with water & used it to pinch the sides & seam at the end of the log/roll).
- Transfer the loaf onto the baking sheet(sprinkled with corn meal). Cover loosely with plastic wrap & let it rise for another hour.
- Recipe suggests to pre-heat the oven to 500 degree F for 45 minutes, yes 45 minutes to the mark, that means it needs to be really hot, I did it for only 30 minutes(I guess it was hot enough).
- Once oven is ready, cut a 1/2" slit lengthwise in the loaf, leaving 2" margin on both sides. You really need a sharp knife for this, In my last trial after baking the slits were hardly visible, so this time I used kitchen knife & it worked perfectly.
- Bake for 10 min. at 500 degree F. Rotate baking sheet one half turn reduce temperature to 400 degree F & continue baking for another 30 minutes until loaf is golden brown(oven temperatures may vary, so I normally set my timer to little less time then it's asked for.....mine was done in total of 33-34 minutes). Note : when tapped on its bottom, a perfectly baked loaf shoul sound hollow.
Here's the picture of final result.....
Look : It looked like a perfect artisan bread.