How to make it

  • Biga:
  • 1. Mix the yeast and water together, and then slowly start adding the flour, mixing well.
  • 2. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for up to 6 hours.
  • 3. Refrigerate overnight.
  • 4. Bring out of the refrigerator an hour before you plan to make your bread to allow the biga to come to room temperature.
  • Bread:
  • 1. Place the water in a large bowl, sprinkle the yeast overtop and mix well. Let sit 10 minutes until bubbly.
  • 2. Add all of the biga, flour, and salt and stir with a wooden spoon (or mix with your hands) until everything is mixed. The dough will be fairly wet and sticky at this point.
  • 3. Cover and let stand in a warm spot for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours until doubled in volume.
  • 4. Punch down the dough, folding it over on itself two or three times, cover and let rise once more until doubled, about 1 hour.
  • 5. If you choose, you could refrigerate your dough at this time and leave it overnight, or up to three days, and finish baking it later.
  • 6. When ready to bake your bread, turn out your dough onto a floured baking sheet, let it come to room temp if it’s been in the fridge.
  • 7. Knead and fold it five or six times.
  • 8. Shape the dough into one large or two smaller round or oval shaped loaves, using as much extra flour as needed to keep it from sticking.
  • 9. Make 3 or 4 slashes (about ¼” deep) across the tops of the loaves with a serrated knife or razor blade just prior to baking.
  • 10. If using sesame seeds, lightly wet your hands and run them over the bread to moisten. Sprinkle the seeds over the bread, GENTLY patting them to help them adhere to the dough.
  • 11. Preheat the oven to 350 F. (175 C) and place a casserole dish with boiling water on the lower oven rack.
  • 12. Bake your bread 30 minutes, turn the baking sheet around, reduce the heat to 300 degrees and bake for another 30-45 minutes.
  • 13. At this point your bread should be golden brown and should sound hollow when you tap the bottom. Allow the bread to cool to room temperature and serve.
  • Baking Tip: You could use a baguette pan to make long thin long or short baguettes. Spread it out about 2” thick and make Focaccia.

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