My weekend bake was a hearty boule with the earthy flavours of caramelized onion and garlic with herbs. Made some Tomato Basil Mozarella Paninis too. I am slowly increasing the whole wheat percentage in my bakes and with the Biga in play,I am amazed at the lightness of the bread despite the whole wheat! Been reading The Break Baker’s Apprentice: Mastering the art of Extraordinary Bread by Peter Reinhart- about the only book I am reading off late, and that is making me want to experiment with tastes and textures. This boule was a joy with its cracked crackling top.
Preferment, noun: A combination of flour, water, and sometimes yeast that is prepared in advance (as in pre-fermentation) and then mixed into the main body of the dough as an additional ingredient.
Making the Biga/Pre-ferment
The biga / pre-femented dough needs 14-16 hours to ferment. It is best to make it a night ahead of the day of baking. Mix all the ingredients listed above and knead to a soft dough. Put it in a greased bowl, cover and leave for about 16 hours (may need more time in case of cold weather). It doubles up develops large air pockets.
All of the Biga
Whole wheat flour/Aata- 2 cups
All purpose flour/Maida- 1 ¼ cup
Yeast – 1 ¾ tsp
Sugar- 2 Tbsp
Warm water- ¾ cup (to prove the yeast)
Baking Powder- 1/2 tsp
Salt – 2 tsp
Caramelised onion- 1 large, chopped and sauted in ½ tsp butter till it becomes brown
Garlic Powder- 1 tbsp (or fresh minced garlic)
Mixed herbs, fresh or dried- 1 Tbsp
Olive Oil- ¼ cup
Start with blooming the yeast. Warm ¾ cup of water and add the sugar and the yeast. The water should feel warm on the underside on your wrist. Leave covered for 10-15 minutes till the mixture froths well.
Break the Biga into chunks and add to the flour. Mix everything well with a wooden spatula.
Add the warm water gradually and knead for 7-10 minutes. Add the olive oil and knead till it is incorporated into the dough.
Add the butter and knead till for another five minutes. The dough will now be supple and non-sticky.
Transfer to a greased bowl, cover it and leave for 1 and ½ – 2 hours till the dough doubles up.
Transfer to a work surface and shape as per choice.
I made a boulle and six Panini breads.
To shape the boulle roll it with gentle hands,transfer to a round baking pan and pinch the surface to give it a little uneven top surface.
I made some garlic flakes and garlic powder at home. Very handy when in a hurry and easy to sprinkle over sandwiches and curries too!
Simply roast the crushed garlic on the lowest oven temperature, flipping midway. Once completely browned, cool and store as it is in case you want flakes. Grind to get garlic powder. It does tend to bunch up but stays good for up to a month.
To get a single loaf the following measures should work. I usually knead a big lot and make different kinds of bread.
For the Pre-ferment (Biga)
All Purpose Flour/Maida- ¾ cup
Milk- ¼ cup milk
Instant yeast- a pinch
For the bread
All of the Biga
Whole wheat flour/Aata- 1 cup
All purpose flour/Maida- ½ cup and a tsp
Yeast – 1 tsp
Sugar- 1 Tbsp
Warm water- ¼ cup (to prove the yeast)
Salt – 1 tsp
I am taking this Boule and the Paninis to Angies Fiesta Friday. Fun time 😀