This recipe uses a biga it's a pre-fermented dough that the French call a pate fermentee. It's started with a bit of yeast, and allowed to work for several hours. The advantage of making a biga is that because it ferments for a long time, which adds flavor and character to the bread. These are best eaten when fresh, although a few minutes in the oven the next day will bring them back almost to their freshness. Go ahead and use your favorite nuts or skip them. I leave some skin on my apple for the fiber and extra nutrients.