This bread is turning out to be my go to bread. I had a trip to see family on Sunday and decided to bring fresh rustic bread to a classic Italian dinner that evening. On Thursday I made the biga pre-ferment.
for the Biga.
2.5 cups bread flour
8 ounces water
this was allowed to sit at room temp to rise until doubled in size. I put it in the refrigerator until sunday morning.
Sunday morning i woke up, turned on the coffee pot, removed the preferment from the refrigerator and cut it into several small pieces to help take off the chill for about an hour.
meanwhile i started to add ingredients to my cuisanart for the final dough.
2 cups of bread flour
1 tsp of salt
2 cups of pre-ferment
about 3/4 cup of buttermilk
no additional yeast
I realized I did not have additional yeast to add to the dough but I ran with it despite. I mixed the dry ingredients together and then added the warmed buttermilk. I mixed for a couple minutes and decided to increase the hydration a little bit by adding about a tsp of water at a time. I oiled a bowl and scraped the dough into the bowl and covered with plastic wrap and allowed it to rest for a half hour. After the first 30 minutes I uncovered and proceeded to fold the dough, covered, and repeated another 3 times in 30-minute increments. The dough rose fine, despite no additional yeast.
I pre-heated the oven to 500 F placed a iron skillet on the low shelf and then started to shape the dough. I floured the counter and the edge of the bowl so the dough would not stick to the sides as it fell onto the counter. I divided the dough in two with a sharp knife and liberally dusted the tops with flour. I wanted a nice airy crumb so I was careful about degassing and working the dough as little as possible. I shaped each portion of dough into the classic ciabatta shape and let them rest about 10 minutes. I do not have a bakers stone so I have to make due with baking sheets. I coated each sheet with corn meal and place one loaf on each pan, covered them with oiled plastic wrap and let them rest another 45 minutes for a final proof.
The loaves went into the oven and I placed a cup of hot water into the skillet and shut the door. For the first 1:30 I sprayed the oven walls with water in 30 second intervals and then decreased the temp to 450 F. I baked for 10 minutes and then rotated the loaves for even baking. The loaves remained in the oven for another 8 minutes, I turned the oven off and cracked the door while the loaves remained inside for about 5 minutes. The loaves were allowed to cool for about 45 minutes and we had them with dinner that evening.
My family loved the bread and it was the perfect addition to the dinner we had that evening. Please leave any comments or suggestions you may have, cheers!