Delicious!!! Ok, I cheated by using a bread machine, but next time I make it, I'll give it the full hands-on treatment. Just by including the Biga, I've learned a lot about bread making. Now I'm going to work on adapting a pizza crust recipe...
Awesome bread! My husband and I give this 10 stars for great taste and great chewy texture. I did reduce the salt a tad bit (used about a tsp and a half). I used the bread machine to make the dough and then formed into a loaf and let rise before baking in a 375 degree oven along with a pan of water. Thanks for posting this awesome recipe!
If you want chewy italian bread then use this recipe. This was my first attempt at baking italian bread and the recipe didn't let me down. It was exactly what I wanted. I used a small mixer to first mix dough since I don't have the mixer called for and then I switched to using just muscle and a wooden spoon for a short time. Still the bread was fantastic. I make lots of different breads and have never seen such a strange dough or way to make bread but I followed the recipe and it really worked. I was very pleased and didn't think it was too labor intensive either. Mostly what takes up the time is all the sitting and rising. Give it a go!
Labor intensive and very much worth it! Made some of the best garlic bread we've had in some time. Definitely going into the cookbook! Adopted for Spring 2008 PAC.
What a fantastic recipe! I'm a total beginner to bread baking, and this helped me succeed on my first Italian loaf. So chewy on the inside, with a perfect crust. I made the following slight (possibly even negligible, I'm not a pro) tweaks: I didn't have a pizza stone, so I baked this on a cookie sheet with a layer of parchment paper. I actually performed the second rise (after folding the dough) directly on the floured parchment paper to avoid the transfer step and it worked fine, just stretched the dough as indicated before baking. To make sure the crust didn't form too early (therefore stunting the stretch of the dough), I put a second cookie sheet on the bottom rack of the oven while preheating and just as I put the bread in, poured 1 c of water into it which steamed the oven for the first half of the cook time. The dough did NOT look like it was actually being kneaded in my mixer - more like mixed a little. I looked at videos online for sticky doughs (e.g. ciabatta bread) and they were SO helpful. According to these, my dough was "kneading" fine. They also REALLY help with learning how to "fold" a bread so sticky before forming into the loaf.
Perfect as is, dont try bread flour, just standard all purpose is fantastic. Thanks, this recipe is a keeper, Good chewy outside and a soft wonderful inside. Tastes better than some more difficult recipes i've tried. Can use the biga anytime between 3 hours and 24 hours, i like to make my biga at night and just sit until im ready the next day, leaving a 4 hour process, thanks again, highly recommend