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Page history last edited by Jonathan McKinley 12 years, 2 months ago

Biga (Starter Dough):


¾ teaspoon active dry yeast

½ cup warm water (105˚ F)

3 ½ cups unbleached bread flour

1 ¼ cups cool water


(Makes about 5 cups)



     In a small bowl dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Set it aside until creamy, about 15 minutes.

     Measure the flour into a bowl. Using a wooden spoon, form a well in the center of the flour and add the yeast mixture and cool water to the well. Using the spoon stir together all the ingredients until sticky and difficult to stir but nevertheless thoroughly combined. Cover tightly and allow to ferment slowly in the refrigerator for 24 hours before using. Store in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. To use, rinse a measuring cup in cool water, scoop out amount of starter needed.


Rosemary Bread:


¾ teaspoon active dry yeast

½ cup warm water (105˚ F)

2 ¾ cups unbleached bread flour

¾ teaspoon salt

½ cup cool water

¼ cup Biga (above)

2 teaspoons roughly chopped fresh rosemary

2 tablespoons milk

Coarse sea salt


     In a small bowl dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Set it aside until it is creamy, about 15 minutes.

     Measure the flour into the large bowl. Using a wooden spoon, stir the salt into the flour. Form a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the yeast mixture, cool water, and Biga to the well. Using the spoon stir together all the ingredients until the dough is too resistant to be stirred.

     Knead the dough briefly in the bowl and then turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface and clean off any dough stuck to your hands. Knead vigorously until it is smooth and elastic, about 20 minutes including some one to two rest periods along the way. The dough is fairly dry at this stage which makes it relatively easy to knead.

     Return the dough to the bowl and the rosemary and milk. Gently knead them into the dough until they are incorporated, about 5 minutes. As with the olive bread, do not worry if the dough loses its cohesiveness; it is only temporary. Shape the dough into a ball.

     Rub a large bowl with olive oil and place the dough in the bowl. Turn the bowl so the surface is coated with oil. Continue on back of page…

     Cover the bowl with a towel and let the dough rise at room temperature until doubled, about 1 ½ hours.

     Punch down the dough by folding the edges into the center so the top is once again smooth. Recover the bowl and let the dough rise a second time until double, about 45 minutes.

     Place the ball rough side up on the floured surface. Using your finger tips gently press the ball out into a disc about six inches in diameter and one inch thick. Lift up the far edge of the disc and fold it toward you to rest on top of the disc, so that only one third of the disc remains uncovered. Lift the folded edge and roll it up towards you until the dough takes on a football shape. When you reach the edge nearest you, using the heel of your hand press the edge of the roll to the bottom edge of the disc to form a seam.

     Cover the loaf with a towel and let rise at room temperature for about 50 minutes. The dough is ready when it springs back gently upon being lightly pressed with your index finger. Meanwhile, place a baking stone in an oven and preheat to 425˚ F.

     Mist the preheated oven with a spray bottle and quickly shut the door. Dust a baker’s peel with cornmeal. Gently transfer the loaf to the peel. Using a sharp serrated knife, make 1 slash about ½ inch deep the length of the loaf. Sprinkle some coarse sea salt into the slash. With a rhythmic snap of the wrist, slide the loaf onto the baking stone. Mist the oven again and bake until the loaf is brown on the top, dark brown on the bottom, and has a hallow ring when tapped on the bottom, 40-50 minutes. Remove to wire rack to cool completely. Makes one 18 oz. loaf.



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