Sunday, June 19, 2005

A Biga

Still in a baking mood from SHF#9 on Friday afternoon and having scored some fresh yeast from my local Boulangerie, I decided to whip up a double Biga recipe. Half for Pizza dough, the other half for a Ciabatta Bread I want to serve today.
When ever I teach a 'hands-on' Pizza class, the ladies have to endure my fresh yeast lecture. I break open a cube of yeast and pass it around for them to smell. I always hope this convinces them to start using it.

Below, is the biga after an nights workout on my kitchen counter. It is alive and kicking. A biga, or starter dough, or poolish......adds big flavor to your dough. If I have time, I like to use it.
My pizza recipe is from Roberto Donna. I saw a video feed on, Julia (that Julia) is baking with him! I wrote to him at his restaurant and he wrote back with the recipe (can you believe it?).
The recipe came scaled to restaurant size, I scaled down to a kilo of flour. I love the recipe because he uses fresh yeast.

For Saturday lunch, I added some 'Bruschetta' herbs in the dough. Topped with a fresh goat cheese from the market that morning, some roasted veggies. I placed the pizza on the gas BBQ and we had a lovely Saturday lunch. I loved the herbed dough!

On to the Ciabatta. This recipe is from Eric Treuille & Ursula Ferrigno's Book, Ultimate Bread.
They are from Books for Cooks fame, in the UK. I love that place!!!!!
After I added the biga to the dough, you let it proof for 3 hours. Shaped and baked, this is the result. It is a hard dough to get used to. Very sticky and loose. You don't want to disturb it too much when you place the dough on the baking tray.

Here it is, smells & tastes great! Has the right about of 'holes' in the crumb. I'm taking it to a party tonight to accompany some goat cheese (yeah, from the market) stuffed peppers!


Nic said...

Wow - That ciabatta looks perfect, Melissa. It's definately one of my favorite breads.

shuna fish lydon said...

Hello. the photos get more and more appealing!

I have a longwinded question for you and I was wondering if you could come over to eggbeater and eamil me directly as I cannot find your direct email here--? Thanks. It's about the difference between French & American flours and you sound more and more like you may be able to help me...or know those who can!

keiko said...

Hi Melissa - your ciabatta looks perfect, I wish I could taste them! I love Ursula's books and have tried some bread too, I must make them again... I normally make Biga starter from fresh yeast, but I'm not patient enough sometimes... And BfC, I love the place of course, I visit there quite often (last time i was there Eric was cooking lunch!).

Melissa said...

--Hi Keiko....lucky you, to see Eric at the stove. I might be in the UK in August, and will try to see what is on the demo schedule at CfB. I also love to visit the Spice Shop across the street! (Have you been to a demo at Divertimenti?)

Anonymous said...

how long can the biga last? Like hours or days in the fridge or, just throw out what you can't use that day.

rainbobbi said...

This is really interesting, Melissa. Are you willing to share your biga pizza dough recipe? I actually have a wood-fired pizza oven, and haven't made anything close to authentic pizza crust yet; would be forever grateful if you could help!

Veronique said...

Melissa could you share your biga pizza doug recipe... Vèronique Thank you

perriman said...

your ciabatta is perfect my mums italian and urs looks as good as hers, well done

Melissa said...

Thanks to ALL who made comments on this post! I sure do love a good Biga and even more enjoying a Ciabatta!

violinfelon said...

I just watched the Julia Child episode and would love to have the recipe if you're willing to give it up. Thanks!