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New bread recipe trial ~ PAGNOTTA ~ a biga based round Italian loaf

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Lucinda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 09:07 PM
Original message
New bread recipe trial ~ PAGNOTTA ~ a biga based round Italian loaf
Edited on Sat Mar-07-09 09:14 PM by Lucinda
This one is from the Il Fornaio Baking Book (2nd edition in 2001)
http://www.amazon.com/Il-Fornaio-Baking-Book-Recipes/dp...


I wanted to try the Il Fornaio biga recipe because they mix a large batch and let it ripen in the fridge for up to two weeks. Similar to the Ain5 process some of us are using, but you only store the biga, take a portion out to bake, and then add the rest of the ingredients on baking day.

So...here is the biga recipe, I'm only making a half batch because I don't have enough bread flour on hand. I just stirred mine together. :)

BIGA ~ makes apx 5 cups
INGREDIENTS:
3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (105 degrees)
3 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour
1 1/4 cups cool water


Mix together and let stand 15 minutes until creamy:
3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (105 degrees)

In a separate bowl:
Place flour in bowl and make a well in the center, add yeast mixture and cool water and stir with wooden spoon until combined. Should be sticky and hard to mix. (mine wasn't sticky)
Cover tightly and refrigerate for 24 hours.

When ready to bake, rinse measuring scoop with cold water, and take the amount necessary out of the stored biga, and bring to room temperature before using. (The PAGNOTTA recipe will use 3/4 of the biga.)


Will add the PAGNOTTA recipe in the morning. My eyeballs are shot tonight :)



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hippywife Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-08-09 09:08 AM
Response to Original message
1. Okay.
You are in serious need of an intervention.





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Lucinda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-08-09 11:15 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. Or cable.
:rofl:
....or my library moved into it's new building.
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Lucinda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-08-09 03:05 PM
Response to Original message
3. Unhappy with the moisture level of the biga - soooooo
I squished in some extra water and left it at room temp a while.
Looks much better.

I think it was too dry.
Yet another reason to weigh flour rather than scoop.
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housewolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-08-09 06:38 PM
Response to Original message
4. My version of the book is from 1993
Edited on Sun Mar-08-09 06:56 PM by housewolf
What you posted matches my copy on p. 32, titled "Biga, Starter Dough".

When looking this recipe up I realized why I never used this book... bread recipes that only list ingredients (especially flour) in volumes (cups) and don't include weights are hard for me to work with. The weight of flour is so inconsistent (depends on the type of flour, the humidity, an what method was used for measuring the flour - dip and sweep, spoon into the cup, pack the flour it, etc.), that it's hard to figure out how a dough is supposed to turn out.

I did find a chart in the back of the book where they say a cup of flour weights 4 ounces (actually a cup of flour weighs between and & 5 ounces, but okay, I'll go by their chart). Are you familiar with Bakers' Percentages? It's a very useful way of determining what the consistency of a dough should be like and also for scaling recipes up and down.

So the total water for the biga recipe is 14 oz, and the total flour is 14 oz (3.5 cups at 4 oz flour per cup). That gives you what's called a "hydration" rate (percentage of water to flour) of 1:1, or 100%. What that's going to give you is a very thick batter-like mixture (not what I would call a dough). A "normal" bread dough hydration is about 66-70%. A "wet" dough is 60-66% hydration. The ABin5 recipe is a super-wet dough at 50 - 58% hydration (approximately, based on their instruction to measure using the "dip and sweep" method). So you can see that the biga recipe at 100% hydration would be more of a thick batter than an actual dough. It's odd to me that they refer to it as a "biga" - in traditional breadmaking, the term "biga" refers to a starter that's the consistency of bread dough (from 50% hydratiaon to about 78%), and a biga is traditionally used within 3 days. This seems to me to be more of a poolish (equal parts flour and water by weight) that a true biga...

Based on the quantities of ingredients given for the bread (3.25 cups water & 7 cups flour), the bread recipe also makes and extraordinarly wet dough but they say to knead it... and that it will be "slightly sticky" - but I'm suspicious as to how exactly this is supposed to turn out.

I have worked with firm Biga starters (but not this one) and like the technique very much - the use of a firm starter refrigerated for several days allows remarkable flavors to develop, as well as added stregth to the dough to help it rise. You get different flavors developed depending upon the consistency of the starter. A firm Biga starter is great for wet doughs like Ciabatta, strengthening the gluten network.

So... how did yours turn out?

I'll recomend this site to you if you want to experiment with Italian breads -
http://www.theartisan.net /

I corresponded with the site owners for a while. They are serious bread bakers and worked hard to develop the breads and other Italian recipes on their site, and could possibly contact them by email with questions. Plus there's a ton of really great bread-baking information there.




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Lucinda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-08-09 07:52 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. Thanks for the info and the link! I still have sooo much to learn.
I'm heading to the link as soon as I post. :)

I loved the idea of storing the ripening biga and mixing in fresh ingredients on baking days, and my favorite experiments to date are all biga based recipes, so I was excited to run across the Il Forniao recipe. I haven't run across any others that store it, so I decided to try this one.

I added more water today and let it warm a bit and incorporate before putting it back in the fridge. I "think" it's looking good and I plan on making a test loaf tomorrow. I'm really winging it since I don't what its supposed to actually look like. What I had definitely wasn't scoop-able though, so I thought i'd try and salvage it. If I knew more about hydration I could have fixed the problems before it happened.

I haven't ventured into working with a poolish yet, or sourdoughs either, though I have done a bit of reading. I've realized that the breads that I really love are, for the most part, all pre-fermented.

I've spent a lot of time at Amazon, reading reviews and looking at good bread "primers" lately, in addition to website surfing. There is so much info out there that its difficult to wade through it all. I know I want FLAVOR, so learning about starters makes the most sense to me, but from there, there are so many ways to go I'm jumbled. I want to really dig in and explore all the pre-fermented doughs.

Thanks again for the link. It gives me somewhere to focus!
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Lucinda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-09-09 10:40 AM
Response to Original message
6. PAGNOTTA RECIPE (4 hours apx prep and cooking time)
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
7 cups unbleached bread flour
1 tablespoon salt
2 3/4 cool water
3/4 cups room temp biga (pre-made)

A little Olive oil for rising bowl


Remove 3/4 biga from fridge and let come to room temperature.
Dissolve yeast in warm water - let set until creamy - apx 15 minutes
Measure flour and salt into large bowl, and make well in the center. Add biga, yeast mixture and cool water. ***Mix with spoon until combined and work vigorously in bowl until it begins to pull away from the side. Turn out onto floured surface and knead 15-20 minutes taking one minute breaks along the way for the dough to relax.

Shape into ball, place in bowl with olive oil and turn to coat with oil, cover with towl, and let rise 1 1/2 hours.

Fold edges into the center and turn over in bowl so smooth surface is on top, cover, let rise 1 hour

Remove from bowl, divide and form into round without overworking the dough. Cover, and let dough rise one more time, apx 40-55 minutes. (let rise until dough springs back gently when pushed ~ If you overdo it, poke will not spring back, reform ball and let re-rise)

Pre-heat oven to 425. He then does a lot of oven spritzing to create steam and bakes for 5 minutes at 425 and then reduces to 400 for 40-50 minutes. He doesn't mention slashing either.



***I'll do this in my mixer and only knead for a few minutes IN the mixer with dough hook. Not use spritzing, and bake in my covered La Cloche.

I'm als going to bake a half batch. I only need one loaf. Will post pics later when its finished.



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Lucinda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-09-09 01:14 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. PHOTOS
These aren't mine.

I'm baking later, so I looked at flickr to see samples of pagnotta. It should look like one of these:





I think this is Pagnotta eating some pagnotta:


Hopefully mine won't be furry.

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Lucinda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-09-09 08:29 PM
Response to Original message
8. MY photos :) The Loaf & Crumb
Edited on Mon Mar-09-09 09:20 PM by Lucinda






Was a bit of a sticky dough at first but rose beautifully.

The crumb:


The flavor was lackluster, but it wasn't bad. Crackly crust and nice firm crumb. I'm curious to see how the flavor develops after the biga ages a few more days...
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housewolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-10-09 01:29 AM
Response to Reply #8
9. It's still real pretty...
You have a gift for making beautiful loaves.

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Lucinda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-10-09 01:13 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. Thank you! Now...if I can just get it to taste good, I'll be in business!
:rofl:

I do have hope that the flavor in the chilling biga will develop enough to make this a good base recipe. I'll make another loaf tomorrow or the day after, then I'll know.
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Lucinda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-13-09 03:25 AM
Response to Original message
11. The stored biga rocks!
Edited on Fri Mar-13-09 03:50 AM by Lucinda
I just finished baking a quickie loaf with 1/2 cup of the stored biga, 3.5 cups of bread flour, 1 1/2 cups of water, 2 tsp salt, and a packet of rapid rise yeast. (biga warmed to room temp)

It was in the oven within 50 minutes, made a huge boule with a crackly cripsy crust, and had great flavor and crumb. Will try and take pics in the morning. Can't get a good shot tonight. My eyes are tired. :)


I ditched the pagnotta process above entirely.





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housewolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-13-09 10:47 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. "I ditched the pagnotta process above entirely. "
A sign of a creative baker... you might be on to something there!

Glad you were happy with it.
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Lucinda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-14-09 01:15 AM
Response to Reply #12
13. Thanks! I thought his process was a bit tedious...Here is a pic of the crumb, it's a little blurry
I didn't get a good shot of the loaf, but it was nice too:



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grasswire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-22-09 05:46 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. so how to get that big holey crumb seen above?
any ideas?
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Lucinda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-22-09 06:42 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. They say the wetter the dough the bigger the holes will be with slack dough breads.
I've managed some large holes, but nothing like the pic above.
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