Ingredients Jump to Instructions ↓

  1. Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method -- -- --

  2. 3/4 cup biga -- (180 grams)

  3. 1 1/2 cups -- water at room

  4. temperature

  5. 1/2 cup whole wheat flour -- (65 grams)

  6. 3 cups to 3 3/4 cups unbleached

  7. all purpose flour

  8. (435 grams)

  9. 2 teaspoons salt -- (10 grams)

  10. cornmeal

Instructions Jump to Ingredients ↑

  1. By Hand:

  2. Cut the starter into small pieces in a large mixing bowl. Add all but 1 to 2 Tb. of the water and mix until the starter is in fime shreads and the liquid is chalky white. Stir in the whole wheat flour and most of the all-purpose flour, 1 cup at a time. When the dough is a fairly rough and shaggy mass, stir in the salt dissolved in the remaining water. Knead on a floured surface, sprinkling with up to 1/2 cup additional flour and suing the dough scraper to scrape up the fine film of dough that will accumulate on the sork surface, as well as to turn and lift the dough. After about 5 minutes of kneading, slam the dough down hard several times to help develop the gluten. Continue kneading until the dough is smooth, a total of 8 to 12 minutes. The dough should still be soft, moist and sticky.

  3. By Mixer:

  4. Mix the starter and all but 1 to 2 Tbsp. of the water with the paddle in a large mixer bowl. Mix in the flours and then the salt dissolved in the remaining water. Change to the dough hook and knead at medium speed until soft, moist, and sticky but obviously elastic, about 4 minutes. Finish kneading by hand on a lightly floured surface, sprinkling with additional flour, until smooth but still soft.

  5. By Food Processor:

  6. Refrigerate the starter until cold. Process the starter and 1 1/2 cups cold water with the steel blade and remove to another bowl. Change to the dough blade and process the flours and salt with 2 or 3 pulses to sift. With the machine running, pour the starter mixture through the fed tube as quickly as the flour can absorb it. Process 30 to 45 seconds longer to knead. The dough will be moist and sticky. Finish kneading by hand on a lightly floured surface, sprinkling with additional flour, until the dough is smooth but still soft.

  7. First Rise:

  8. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. The dough is ready when it has numerous bubbles and blisters under the skin.

  9. Shaping and Second Rise:

  10. Divide the dough in half on a lightly floured surface without kneading it. Shape into 2 round loaves. Let them relax under a cloth for 20 minutes. Line baking sheets or peels with parchment paper and flour the paper generously. Roll each ball into a fat cylinder and place seam side down on the paper. Dimple the loaves all over with your fingertips or knuckles, as for focaccia, to keep the dough from springing up. The dough should feel delicate but springy. Cover the loaves and let rise until doubled, with many visible air bubbles, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours.

  11. Baking:

  12. Thirty minutes before baking, heat the oven with a baking stone in it to 425F. Sprinkle the baking stone with cornmeal. Carry the peel or baking sheet to the oven and very gently invert the dough onto the stone. Gently remove the parchment paper, peeling off very slowly. Immediately reduce the heat to 400F. and bake until golden, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool on wire racks.

  13. This dough can be made ahead and placed in the refrigerator for the second rise; the flavor is better with the long cool development of the yeast.

  14. Serve this with stews and meats with rich sauces, with green salads, fresh cheeses, sliced salami, and smoked meats.

  15. From the book - The Italian Baker by Carol Field


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