0 recipes from contoocook and beyond



Below is our recipe for Rustic Italian Bread, modified to include whole-wheat flour in addition to bread flour. This information will be available free on Cook’s Extra until October 15, after which it will be available to Web site subscribers only.

Makes 1 large loaf, about 2 1/2 pounds

This recipe requires a standing mixer to make the dough, a spray bottle filled with water for sprit zing, a rectangular baking stone, and an instant-read thermometer for gauging doneness. It also requires a bit of patience—the biga, which gives the bread flavor, must be made 11 to 27 hours before the dough is made. If you own two standing mixer bowls, in step 1 you can refrigerate the biga in the bowl in which it was made. Use the second bowl to make the dough in step 2. Use bottled water if your tap water does not taste very good.

11 ounces (2 cups) bread flour
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
8 ounces (1 cup) water, room temperature

9.5 ounces (1 3/4 cups) bread flour, plus extra for dusting hands and work surface
7 ounces (1 1/4 cups) whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon instant yeast
10.7 ounces (1 1/3 cups) water, room temperature
2 teaspoons salt

1. For the biga: Combine flour, yeast, and water in bowl of standing mixer fitted with dough hook. Knead on lowest speed (stir on KitchenAid) until shaggy dough forms, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer biga to medium bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let stand at room temperature until beginning to bubble and rise, about 3 hours. Refrigerate biga at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours.
2. For the dough: Remove biga from refrigerator and let stand at room temperature while making dough. Combine flours, yeast, and water in bowl of standing mixer fitted with dough hook; knead on lowest speed until rough dough is formed, about 3 minutes. Turn mixer off and, without removing dough hook or bowl from mixer, cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap; let dough rest 20 minutes.
3. Remove plastic wrap, add biga and salt to bowl, and continue to knead on lowest speed until ingredients are incorporated and dough is formed (dough should clear sides of bowl but stick to very bottom), about 4 minutes. Increase mixer speed to low (speed 2 on KitchenAid) and continue to knead until dough forms more cohesive ball, about 1 minute. Transfer dough to large bowl (at least 3 times dough’s size) and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let dough rise in cool, draft-free spot away from direct sunlight, until slightly risen and puffy, about 1 hour.
4. Remove plastic wrap and, following illustrations from “Step by Step: Turning the Dough” (link below), turn dough. Replace plastic wrap; let dough rise 1 hour. Turn dough again, replace plastic wrap, and let dough rise 1 hour longer.
5. To shape the dough: Dust work surface liberally with flour. Gently scrape and invert dough out of bowl onto work surface (side of dough that was against bowl should now be facing up). Dust dough and hands liberally with flour and, using minimal pressure, push dough into rough 8- to 10-inch square. Following illustrations from “Step by Step: Shaping the Loaf” (link below), shape dough and transfer to large sheet parchment paper. Dust loaf liberally with flour and cover loosely with plastic wrap; let loaf rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to lower-middle position, place baking stone on rack, and heat oven to 500 degrees.
6. To bake: Using a lame, single-edged razor blade, or sharp chef’s knife, cut slit 1/2 inch deep lengthwise along top of loaf, starting and stopping about 1 1/2 inches from ends; spray loaf lightly with water. Slide parchment sheet with loaf onto baker’s peel or upside-down baking sheet, then slide parchment with loaf onto hot baking stone in oven. Bake 10 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees and quickly spin loaf around using edges of parchment; continue to bake

Share on print
Share on email
Share on pinterest
Share on facebook
Share on twitter