An around-the-world of baking, by the award-winning team that brought us Seductions of Rice and Hot Sour Salty Sweet.
HomeBaking is Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid’s tribute to the worldwide art of home baking. Already consummate breadmakers, they’ve collected here recipes for any type of bread you can imagine -- soda bread, stollen, naan, banno …
Makes 12 attractive low round rolls, 5 to 6 inches across, studded with olives
1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1 cup all-purpose flour, preferably unbleached
2 1/2 cups lukewarm water
1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups course semolina (not semolina flour)
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
Generous 1 cup pitted Mediterranean olives -- green or black or a mixture, coarsely chopped if large
3 to 4 cups all-purpose flour, preferably unbleached
Make the biga at least 1 day before you wish to bake: Stir the yeast into the water until well dissolved. Stir in 1/2 cup of the flour until smooth, then add the remaining 1/2 cup flour and knead briefly in the bowl or on a work surface until smooth. Cover with plastic and let rise overnight, or for up to 36 hours; refrigerate after 12 hours.
When ready to proceed, place the 2 1/2 cups water in a medium bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer and stir in the yeast to dissolve it. Cut the biga into 5 or 6 pieces, add to the bowl, and use your fingers to break it up into the water.
By hand: Stir the semolina into the biga mixture to make a batter. Sprinkle on the salt and stir in. Add the olive oil and olives and stir. Add 2 1/2 to 3 cups of all-purpose flour, a cup at a time, turning and stirring. Flour your work surface with about 1/2 cup flour and turn the dough out. Knead, incorporating the flour, until you have a soft dough about 5 minutes.
Using a stand mixer: Fit the mixer with the dough hook. Add the semolina to the biga mixture and mix for 2 minutes or so on low speed, until the biga has dissolved into the dough. Add the salt, olive oil, olives, and 1 cup of the all-purpose flour and mix, still on low speed, for 1 minute. Add the remaining 2 1/2 cups flour and knead for 3 to 4 minutes on low speed.
Place the dough in a clean bowl, cover with plastic, and let ferment for 3 hours. The dough will not double in volume, because it’s so loaded down with olives and oil, but it will rise a little in the bowl to a dome shape.
About 30 minutes before the dough is ready, place a baking stone or unglazed quarry tiles, if you have them, on a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 450°F.
On a floured surface, divide dough in half. Return half to the bowl; keep covered. Divide the other piece of dough into 6 pieces; loosely cover 5 of them with plastic. Shape the remaining piece of dough into a loose mound and place it on the preheated stone or tiles, toward the back and to one side. (We find it easiest to place the breads directly on the stone or tiles, but you can use a semolina-dusted peel to transfer the breads onto the hot surface.) Repeat with the other 5 pieces of dough. If you can’t fit all the breads from this first batch onto your stone or tiles at once, you’ll just be baking the dough in three batches rather than two.
Leave the remaining piece(s) of dough covered until ready to bake the next batch. Bake the breads for 15 to 20 minutes, until slightly spotted with brown but still rather pale. Repeat shaping and baking with the remaining dough. They will each bake into a low dome about 5 to 6 inches across. Let cool on a rack.
Eat plain or split in half for sandwiches.
Note: If you have a 1- or 2-day-old biga already, use about 1 cup of it in the recipe.
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