Yield: 4 – 6″ rounds or 2 – 12″ rounds
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water 105 degrees
2 3/4 cups cool water
1-2 tablespoons of Olive Oil, good green tasty kind.
3/4 cup biga; see recipe below
Mix yeast with warm water and let sit till creamy, about 15 minutes.
Measure flour into bowl, stir in salt, then add yeast mix, cool water, and biga.
Mix until thoroughly combined like below, it will be wet and sticky.
Now the kneading begins. This will take 15 to 20 minutes, with 1 minute breaks every 5 minutes. On a well floured sturdy surface, start to knead the ball of dough. Pushing the heal of your hand in the center of the dough and turning it into itself. Keep your hands floured and add more flour to prevent sticking to the kneading surface. You’re looking for stretchy, smooth non sticky dough when finished. These pictures show the process and how the dough should appear and feel.
Shape into a ball, place in bowl with olive oil and cover with a towel, and let rise till doubled, about
1 1/2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 425, with baking stones inside if you have them. These are uncoated quarry tiles we got at a tile store for about $1 each. Way cheaper than the fancy bread stones at Williams Sonoma or Sur La Table. This way you can buy what you need to fit your oven, to create a big flat baking surface for lots of bread.
Let dough rise 45 minutes or so, till the dough springs back slowly when indented with a finger. Mist the oven with a spray bottle containing water. Cornmeal the peel. Put the bread in, flipping the loaf over onto the peel. Then mist again.
After 5 minutes mist one more time, and reduce the oven to 400 degrees. Bake another 30 minutes or so, till done. The bottom should have good hollow sound to it and a dark crust. Let cool a bit, then go at it !! There is pretty much nothing better than warm bread right out of the oven. Here’s a goofy picture of me and my bread, it was yummy.
It’s not hard to make bread, it is time consuming with all the rising. This bread freezes well and you can shape it however you like, rolls, baguettes or rounds.
This recipe came from the Il Fornaio Baking Book, it’s a great bread book, get it if you want go further with bread. The Olive Bread is delish !