Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Biga Bread with Garlic

Pacific College Mom sent us another delicious recipe:
This is an adaptation of a one originally appearing in Sunset magazine. It is my absolute favorite bread, chewy and hearty. It takes a little longer to make, but it’s definitely worth the effort!
¾ teaspoon active dry yeast
1 Cup cool tap water
1 teasp sugar or honey
¼ Cup Biga (recipe follows)
2 Tblsp milk
1 Tblsp finely chopped garlic (or rosemary)
¾ teasp regular salt (optional, I omit it)
3 – 3 1/4 Cups flour
½ teasp coarse salt

In a large bowl, sprinkle yeast over water and sugar or honey, let yeast dissolve. Add biga, milk, garlic, regular salt, and 2 Cups of flour. Mix well, and then knead in ¾ Cup more flour to create slightly sticky dough. Place dough in an oiled bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place for 1 ¼ to 1 ½ hours until doubled.

Punch down dough and knead briefly. On a floured board, shape dough into a smooth ball. Place on a well floured baking sheet. Cover with plastic and let rise again about an hour, or until springy when lightly touched.

At least 30 minutes before baking, place baking stone or a large baking sheet in the oven and heat oven to 400 degrees. With a sharp knife or razor slash top of dough, sprinkle cut with coarse salt. Mist the dough and walls of oven with spray bottle filled with water. Slide dough onto hot stone or baking pan, bake for about 35 minutes, or until bread is deep golden brown. Cool on rack.

¼ teasp yeast
½ Cup cool water
1 Cup flour

Sprinkle yeast over water, let dissolve. Add flour, mix well. Cover and chill 24 hours before using. Can be stored in the fridge up to 2 weeks. Makes 1 cup.