I took Noboundries Biga bread recipe that he posted here:
and made some Ciabatta rolls. I let the biga sit out on the counter from Friday evening until Monday afternoon. Let me tell you the biga smelled like cheap wine! I mixed the rest of the ingredients in then kneaded until it was no longer sticky and felt right. Placed the dough into an oiled bowl and allowed the dough to double in size. I took it out and punched it down and divided into ciabatta sized balls. Flattened to shape on a parchment lined baking sheet. I allowed those to rise and double in size. brushed with egg wash, and salted with sea salt. Wow let me tell you, this was fantastic. No more store bought ciabatta for us! I forgot to take photos last night, so I will post some later today.
Recipe per Noboundaries:
Okay, here's a little backstory. My all time favorite pizza crust was sourdough. It takes about 5 days to make a batch of sourdough starter. I wanted to try something different and learned of biga. Biga is a form of fermented starter and is ready to use in as little as 12 hours. I've used it at 12 hours, 18 hours, 24 hours, 48 and 72 hours. Anytime between 48 to 72 hours gives me my favorite result for taste in both bread and pizza dough. I understand people more experienced than me let it age much longer, saving dough from one batch to use as a starter on the next batch. I don't bake bread and pizza often enough to do that.
Usually I make thin crust pizzas out of the dough, using 8-10 oz for about a 12-14" pizza . This time though, since I was experimenting, I made thick crust pizzas, using 16 oz of dough for a 14" pizza. Either was fantastic and just depends on your preference. I actually prefer the thinner crust but my daughter and wife both went nuts for the thicker crust.
The following recipe makes about 2 to 2.5 lbs of dough that can be used for bread, pizza, or both. I usually double the recipe for all ingredients so I can bake bread and pizza. I use a KitchenAid mixer with a dough hook.
The recipe below is my version of my Italian grandmother's bread recipe. I have her original recipe but it has so many things missing that I had to do quite a bit of research and experimenting to get a result I loved.
Grandma Katie aka Nonni's Italian Pizza Dough with Biga
You can also use garlic infused EVOO to add another flavor element.
1 cup bread flour
1/2 cup warm water (115-120°F) if using rapid rise yeast, 110F is using regular yeast.
1/8 tsp instant yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water (see directions)
1 1/2 Tbs white sugar
1 package dry yeast
3 1/2 cups bread flour
1 Tbs kosher salt
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1. Mix biga ingredients and let rest in an oiled and covered bowl at room temperature for 12-72 hours. Save the unused yeast to add to the dough when ready to mix it all together.
2. Put water in microwave with probe and heat to desired temperature. If using "active yeast" heat water and sugar in microwave to 100°F-110°F. If using "instant" or "rapid rise" yeast, heat water to 120°F-130°F.
3. Add sugar to KitchenAid bowl, then the water, then the yeast. Stir to mix then let sit for 5-10 minutes to allow the yeast to get foamy.
4. Add the biga, stir to mix, then put the dough hook on the mixer and start it on speed 2. Slowly add the flour 1 cup at a time. Slowly add the salt. Let the dough turn on slow for 5-10 minutes. Add the olive oil and let knead until thoroughly mixed. Add additional flour if needed so dough starts to firm up and pull away from the sides of the mixing bowl.
5. Put the dough on a floured board. Knead lightly and add a little flour until the dough is no longer sticky. Place the dough ball in an oiled bowl, cover the top lightly with oil. Run a kitchen towel under HOT water, twist out the water then cover the bowl and immediately put it in the oven with the light on only. Let double in bulk, about 90 minutes.
6. Once you remove the dough from the warm environment, pre-heat the oven and pizza stone to 550°F for at least an hour putting the stone on a rack about 6-8" below the top of the oven so radiant heat from the oven top can cook the ingredients.
7. Gently push down, smoosh flat, fold in thirds, gently press down again, smoosh flat, then fold in thirds twice more.
8. Form into equal balls. Use a scale if necessary. Let rest at least 30 minutes then you can start making pizza!
9. If making bread, form the loaves then let double in bulk. I like to form the loaves on parchment paper. It makes it easy to slide on and off a stone with a pizza peel. I like to make an egg wash with one large egg mixed with 1 Tbs of water. Whip it up and brush on the loaf. Then here's a trick that people LOVE! Sprinkle the brushed loaves with kosher salt. Bake on the stone for 8-12 minutes until the crust is nicely browned.
10. If making pizza dough, put the parchment paper on the peel and the dough in the center of the peel. Using your hands and a roller form push outwards until the pizza crust is formed into a round. Lightly coat with olive oil. If you want a thick crust, let it rise 30-60 minutes. If you like a thinner crust start immediately building your pizza, then slide on the stone and bake for 8-12 minutes.
11. If making in the smoker, the chamber temp will be lower than the oven and the pizza will take longer to cook. It is a good idea to half bake the pizza dough on the smoker, then build your pizza and cook until the top is done.