Yield: 4 servings
Mix water and yeast together. Let stand for 10 mins. Add Biga (starter) and water. Mix until creamy looking. It is not necessary to get rid of strands of starter that occur.
Add all of the salt. Stir until desolved.
Add flour. Mix 2-3 minutes (electric mixer) or mix 4-5 minutes (by hand).
Dough will just barely pull away from sides of bowl. It should be very sticky. Adjust water and/or flour as necessary.
Let rise in a lightly oiled bowl for 3+ hours, covered tightly with lightly oiled plastic wrap. Dough will triple in volume.
Divide dough into four parts.
Roll each part into long strand. Roll up along length, stretching slightly. Turn dough sideways and roll to long string again. Roll up into tight ball, tucking to ends under.
Let rise 1 hour, covered with towel.
Pre-heat oven to 450, with pan of water in the oven, about 20 minutes before baking.
Lightly dust loaves with flour and place on flat cookie sheet.
Caution: The oven will be steamy when opened.
Bake with pan of water for 15 minutes. Remove water pan.
Bake 20 more minutes. Loaf should sound hollow on bottom. On of the best ways to eat this bread is by rubbing a slice with garlic, or sprinkling with crushed fresh garlic or garlic powder. Then drizzle virgin olive oil over the bread. Follow this with a light sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.
Bread dough can be wrapped in plastic at any of the stages before baking and frozen or refrigerated. Unfreeze and allow to thaw completely. This seems to work best if done before the rolling of the individual loaves.
If stored in refrigerator, allow ample room, as bread will rise in the refrigerator!
Submitted By DAN CEPPA On 11-17-94