PRE-FERMENTING YOUR BIGA
THE NIGHT BEFORE WILL ENSURE
A GREAT TASTING LOAF.
MAKES 2 LOAVES
2g / 3ml instant yeast or 4g fresh yeast
225ml lukewarm water
180g Supreme cake fl our
5g / 8ml instant yeast or 10g fresh yeast
120ml lukewarm water
500ml cold water
15ml olive oil
720g Supreme cake fl our
20g / 15ml salt
The day before: Dissolve the yeast in the water. Mix in the fl our, the mixture should
have the consistency of a thick batter. Place in a lightly oiled container, cover with
plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight. Weigh off 220g for the ciabatta as required.
The next day: Dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water and set aside for 10 minutes. In
an electric mixer fi tted with the paddle attachment, mix the yeast mixture, cold water,
220g biga and olive oil together. Add the fl our and salt and beat on a medium speed
for 2 minutes until combined. Rest for 20 minutes.
Change to the dough hook and knead the mixture for 10 minutes at a low speed.
Increase to a medium speed and mix for another 2-4 minutes. The dough should be
smooth, silky and come away from the sides and bottom of the bowl. Do not allow
the dough to become warm while after mixing; if its temperature is rising, rest in the
fridge for a few minutes to cool.
Lightly brush the top of the dough with oil, cover and leave to rise for ± 2 hours until
tripled in bulk. The ideal temperature for this fermentation is 23°C so leaving at room
temperature is best.
Line 2 baking trays with baking paper, then fl our generously. Carefully tip the dough
onto a well-fl oured work surface. Working carefully so as not to push out the air, cut
the dough into 4 equal pieces. Gently stretch each piece into an elongated loaf.
Place 2 loaves on each baking tray and sprinkle with fl our. Leave to rise for 30 minutes
while pre-heating the oven.
Place 2 bread stones or unglazed tiles onto the centre shelf of the oven and pre-heat to
230°C. Carefully slide the bread, on the baking paper onto the baking stones. Quickly
spray the oven walls with water, close the door and turn the temperature down to
Bake for 25-30 minutes; spray the oven walls with water after 5, 10 and 15 minute
intervals. Do not remove from the oven too early – it must have a nice golden crust.
Cool on wire racks.