Home Bread-Bakers v104.n023.7

Cook's Illustrated Whole Wheat Rustic Italian Bread

Reggie Dwork <reggie@jeff-and-reggie.com>
Sat, 15 May 2004 13:53:13 -0700 (PDT)
Three people responded: "Adele" <Ark1411@aol.com>, "Carolyn Haack" 
<haacknjack@sbcglobal.net>, and "Chris Dalrymple" <chrisdd@bellsouth.net>.

The original recipe was published in Jan/Feb 03 and was not whole wheat. An 
update was published in the Sept/Oct 03 issue with make-by-hand directions 
and whole wheat flour substitution.

Chris adds this note:

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.

Carolyn suggests:

Hot tip -- don't subscribe, just buy the bound issues annually and have a 
beautiful & long-lasting set of books.

The recipe:

Makes 1 large loaf, about 2 1/2 pounds

11 oz (2c) bread flour
1/4 tsp instant yeast
8 oz (1 c) water, room temperature

Combine flour, yeast & water in bowl of standing mixer fitted with dough 
hook.  Knead on lowest speed (stir on KitchenAid) until it forms a shaggy 
dough, 2 to 3 minutes.  Transfer biga to medium bowl, cover tightly with 
plastic wrap, and let stand at room temperature until beginning to bubble & 
rise, about 3 hours.  Refrigerate biga for at least 8 or up to 24 hours.

16.5 oz (3c) bread flour, plus extra for dusting hands & work surface
  -- or 9.5 oz bread flour plus 7 oz whole wheat flour
1 tsp instant yeast
10.7 oz (1.33 c) water, room temperature
2 tsp salt

Remove biga from refrigerator and let stand at room temperature while 
making dough.  Combine flour, yeast & 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.

Remove plastic wrap, add big & 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 a 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.

Remove plastic wrap and turn dough by using dough scraper to run under one 
side, pull dough up and over the middle.  Continue 3 more times going 
around the 4 compass points to leave the dough in a roughly square 
shape.  Replace plastic wrap; let dough rise 1 hour.  Turn dough again, 
replace plastic wrap, and let dough rise 1 hour longer.

To shape the dough:  dust work surface liberally with flour.  Gently scrap 
& 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" 
square.  Fold far left corner toward the middle (and toward you), repeat 
with far right corner.  Beginning with point at top (away from you), roll 
dough into log-shaped loaf by rolling point and then remainder of dough 
into loaf shape, working toward yourself.  Roll so seam is underneath; tuck 
bottom edges further underneath to form 16" football-like shape.  Transfer 
to large sheet of parchment paper.  Dust loaf liberally with flour and 
cover loosely with plastic wrap; let 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 F.

To bake, cut slit 1/2" deep lengthwise along top of loaf (using sharp blade 
such as lame, single-edged razor blade, or very sharp chef's knife), 
starting and stopping about 1.5" 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 F and quickly 
spin loaf around using edges of parchment; continue to bake until deep 
golden brown and instant-read thermometer inserted into center of loaf 
registers 210 F, about 35 minutes longer.  Transfer to wire rack, discard 
parchment, and cool loaf to room temperature, about 2 hours.

Carolyn provided the addendum:

Addendum re: hand mixing
We mixed the biga in a large bowl with a wooden spoon until it formed a 
shaggy dough, which took 2-3 minutes, and let it stand for the time 
recommended in the recipe.  We then mixed the actual dough in an oversized 
mixing bowl with a wooden spoon until it started to come together and a 
rough dough was formed (this took 2-3 minutes) and let it rest for 20 
minutes as in the recipe.  Next we rolled up our sleeves, added the biga 
and the salt to the dough, and started kneading by hand, turning the bowl a 
quarter-turn after each knead.  We kept working the dough until it became 
quite sticky and formed a cohesive ball, a process that took about 5 
minutes.  (You may need a plastic dough scraper to assist you if the dough 
gets too sticky.)  We found that the smooth surface and confined space of 
the bowl were key in reducing stickiness and eliminating the need for the 
extra flour typically required when kneading by hand.  Kneading this moist 
dough on the counter was very difficult and is not recommended.