I found a recipe for Italian Rustic Bread that looked and sounded really good. It started with a pre-ferment (or biga). I've made yeast breads before, but I've never made one with a biga. Since I'm on school holiday I thought I'd give it a try.
I used my KitchenAid mixer. I love my mixer!
It has a dough hook so I don't have to knead the bread my hand.
The biga is a wet, messy mix of bread flour, water and 1/4 teaspoon of yeast.
I covered the mixing bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit on the counter for three hours.
Then into the refrigerator it went overnight. The next morning I had to transfer it to another bowl, since I needed to use the mixer. Next time I'll transfer the biga to a different bowl before I put it in the fridge.
On to mixing the rest of the flour, water, and yeast. I let it rest twenty minutes before adding the biga.
This recipe isn't hard or complicated, but there are several risings so it does take a good portion of the day from start to finish.
Time to shape it into loaves.
Getting the loaves into the oven is where I ran into a little complication caused by the fact that I frequently neglect to read a recipe all the way through before I start making it. I was supposed to put the loaves on parchment paper, but I figured waxed paper would be just as good.
Not quite. I had my stone in the oven (I used a square of unglazed tile). I had to get the loaves off the waxed paper and onto the hot stone. Is it any surprise that they turned out like this?
Fortunately, the bread looked and tasted amazing, in spite of it's funny shape.
My biggest problem with the bread was trying not to eat the whole loaf the first day!
Giraffe #90 looks ready to take a bite.