I baked this bread twice, the first time i baked, i somewhat stuffed too much into the loaf tin, so next time i divided the dough and baked a mini loaf too. Anyway’s we loved this bread and would definitely bake again.
- Mix all of the Soaker ingredients together in a bowl until all of the flour is hydrated. Depending upon the variety of the flour you are using, you might need up to 1 cup of water for this. So start with 3/4th cup of water first and then add more if you need.
- Your Soaker should be somewhat like reasonably firm bread dough in consistency. Cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for 12-24 hours.
- Mix all of the Biga/ Sponge in a bowl and knead together well till a soft ball forms. Again you might need more than the originally suggested 3/4 cup of liquid. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight. This will keep for up to 3 days.
- Two hours before you plan to mix your dough for the bread, remove the Biga from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature. You might find your Biga rising a little during this time.
- Divide the Biga and Soaker into small pieces (about 12 pieces each) using a sharp knife or scraper and put them in the large bowl. The dough will be tacky and a little difficult to manage. Do not be tempted to add more flour, when it is time to, than necessary.
- Add the remaining ingredients for the dough, except the 1/3 cup flour) and knead for about 3 minutes. Let it rest for 5 minutes, then add as much flour as needed (if necessary) to the dough and knead for another 3-4 minutes. Your dough should now come away from the sides of the bowl but still be a little sticky but somewhat manageable. It’s really important to not add too much extra flour during this step.
- Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and let rise until almost doubled (about 1 1/2 hours). Then turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and pat the dough out into a rectangle with a width that just a bit less than your loaf tin. See that you do not tear the dough. Roll it up and shape into a loaf (see the video, if you need it).
- Place your loaf in a greased and floured loaf tin (I used a 9” by 4” loaf tin) and let it rise until it is just higher than your loaf tin. Bake the loaf at 180C (350F) for about 40 to 45 minutes until the top is a nice deep brown colour and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.
- Let the loaf cool completely (at least for about 2 hours), before slicing it. Refrigerate the loaf if not consuming immediately. I stored the bread in the fridge and made delicious cucumber-cheese sandwich with them for breakfast, next day.