just purchased bernard clayton's 'breads'. susrprised that most of his recipes don't require a starter as peter reinhardt generally recommends in his 'apprentice' book. is the qualitative difference that great to favor one method over the other. i personally haven't noticed much of a difference. please advise.
I made my first Ciabatta last night, using the Biga recipe from Bread Baker's Apprentice. They came out a little pale and bulge-y, but basically looking okay; the crumb, however, was way too tight. Any advice for completing the shaping without losing all of the gas in the dough?