Overnight really plus a few hours proving and kneading
Reasonably easy to intermediate
It’s a staple! But don’t eat too much.
This recipe uses active dried yeast, not the fast action type. You make a frothy batter first and then use this to set off your dough.
For the starter – also known as a biga
150 g plain white flour
1/2 teaspoon dried active yeast
110 ml warm water
Put the yeast and half of the water in a small mixing bowl and mix in
Add the rest of the water and whisk in the flour, which is sieved into the bowl until a dough forms
Mix with your hands or a wooden spoon to get a very smooth dough
Cover and leave at room temperature for at least 8 hours (overnight will do)
For the main dough
1/2 level teaspoon of yeast as before
40 ml warm milk
2 tablespoons oil (olive or sunflower)
175 ml warm water
250 g strong bread flower
1 level teaspoon salt
Stir the yeast and milk together and cover – leave for 15 minutes
Combine the oil and water
Sieve the flour and salt into a mixing bowl
Make a well and add the starter, the mild and yeast mixture and the water and oil
Stir well with a spoon or your hands
The mixture will be quite wet, knead for ten minutes in the bowl
Cover and leave to prove for 2 hours or until it has doubled in size
Folding the dough – keep it in the bowl and fold the end over backwards, rotate the bowl a little and repeat. Repeat this process about 8 times
Rest the dough for 20 minutes and then repeat
Flour a surface well and tip the dough out. It will be a little wet but don’t worry.
Shape the dough onto a large or 2 smaller loaves.
Fold the dough over on itself to form a rectangle and lay on baking paper and rest for 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven with a baking tray inside to 220ºC, 450ºF, Gas 7
Place the bread along with the paper on the hot baking tray and bake for 35 – 45 minutes for a large one, 25 – 30 minutes for smaller ones
Test by hitting the bottom for a hollow sound