Hey I've just recently purchased The Bakers Apprentice by Reinhart. I read the book twice, and I love it.
First thing I tried (in the middle) to make is the ciabatta.
Lacking AP Flour I used the Biga version.
I'm pretty sure I didn't mess up the Biga, I followed the instructions to the letter and the window pane passed very nicely when I put it in the fridge.
24 hours later I took the Biga out having risen double in size. I let it get to "cool" room temperature I suppose. Divided the biga into ten pieces then mixed with the flour, salt, yeast, water, and 1/4th cup olive oil. Mixed it with my wooden spoon for approximately 3 minutes. It didn't seem like the very elastic loaf like he described so I added a bit more water. Then I started kneading. And kneading. And kneading. And kneading.
How I was kneading I would fold it onto itself then press down firmly but not too hard, then turn it 90degrees, then do the same. I proceeded for about 200 turns, checking every 50 for the window pane test. Negative.
I then started the french method of kneading, however it just wasn't wet enough. So I slapped it around like a bafoon for ten minutes... Did little change, still no windowpane.
The dough doesn't seem at all to be the high hydration supple dough as he described. It's more dry, however I added 3/4th water first after the biga, then another quarter, then another quarter... and on top of that a quarter cup of olive oil.
Does anyone know what the problem is? Is there a possible way to salvage it?
Could it be because I'm not sure what my room temperature is? I measured the yeast in a regular teaspoon measurer and not by weight... I used SAF Instant which the book recommended. It said I could freeze it? I didn't freeze it for the biga, however it was in the freezer when I mixed it with the ciabatta.
Thank you very much!