We’ve moved fair amount of times and the problem that always arises is where I can buy good bread (read: similar to what I am used to eat). The answer is not always satisfactory, as the store may be too far away, or the bread is not so good, or there may be not such store at all. Fortunately now I don’t have this problem, but in case I need good rustic bread this recipe comes in handy.
I admit, it is time consuming, but (!) easy to make. Just follow the steps. I usually bake it on Saturdays, when I know I will be home and around for when the dough needs to be turned or shaped. The loaf of that bread lasts about one week. Oh, and I apologize for not posting nutritional info, but unfortunately I was too quick to eat few slices, before I realized I haven’t weighed it….
This recipe was adapted from America’s Test Kitchen.
- 2 cups bread flour
- 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1 cup water, room temperature
- 3 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1 1/3 cups water, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons salt
Biga – prepared day before baking
- In a mixer bowl combine all three ingredients.
- Using hook attachment mix on lowest speed for 2-3 minutes.
- Transfer dough to another bowl, cover with plastic and set aside for 3 hours.
- Then refrigerate it overnight (8-24 hours).
- Remove biga from refrigerator, set aside.
- In a mixer bowl combine flour, yeast and water. Knead on the lowest speed for 3 minutes.
- Turn off mixer, do not remove the hook and cover the bowl loosely with plastic.
- Let rest for 20 minutes.
- After that time, add biga and salt to the dough and knead for additional 4 minutes (on lowest speed).
- Increase the speed to low and knead for 1 minute more.
- Remove the hook attachment, cover bowl with plastic and clean kitchen cloth and let dough rise until puffy, 1 hour.
- Remove plastic and kitchen cloth, turn the dough*, cover and let rise for 1 more hour.
- Repeat step 8, let rise for 1 hour.
- Gently transfer dough to working surface dusted with flour.
- Shape the loaf** and gently transfer to sheet of parchment paper.
- Cover loosely with plastic and let rise for 1 hour.
- Heat oven to 500°F.
- Transfer the loaf on baking sheet or baking stone.
- Using a sharp knife cut slit 1/2 inch deep lenghtwise along top loaf.
- Bake for 10 minutes then decrease the temperature to 400°F and turn the loaf around.
- Bake for additional 35 minutes.
- Let the loaf cool down and enjoy.
*Turning the dough: use wide plastic spatula or bench scraper to turn the dough; Fold left side of the dough towards center, then do the same with right side. Finally fold the dough in half.
**To shape the loaf: After transferring the dough to floured surface, gently shape it into rough rectangle. Then fold left corner to the middle and do the same with right one. Next, starting at the top, roll the dough towards bottom (like jelly roll). Roll dough onto its seam.