Friday, January 2, 2015

More biga breads

I made two more breads with the biga starter I talked about in my last post:
  • Pane bigio: A second attempt at this small, round, crusty bread that has a bit of of whole wheat and buckwheat flour
  • Italian semolina bread: A crusty white bread
The pane bigio I'd made before without salt, but it had tasted flat. This time (on the 8th day of biga) I added a scant teaspoon of salt, which made a big difference in flavor. (My other modification was reducing the yeast to a teaspoon.) I took the bread to a New Year's Eve party, where people said they liked it. I liked the bread OK on its own, but it was great as a vehicle for chocolate fondue. This bread was also good with chili.

Pane bigio: try it with chocolate fondue
The Italian semolina bread—wow, what a crust! I was a little worried because the kitchen was cold and the last rise didn't seem to have any visible result, but once the bread got into the oven, it rose high and developed a wonderful, crackly crust. I made this bread on the biga's 10th day.

Italian semolina bread
Besides having a great crust and moist, flavorful interior, the semolina bread just smells good. When my friend cut the bread, she said it smelled like cake, somehow. I don't know how long the bread would last because we ate it all up (with soup).

My staycation is over, so that's all the biga baking I'll do for now. I managed to make 4 of the 6 biga recipes in The Bread Lover's Bread Machine Cookbook. I expect the pane di cereale to become part of my repertoire, alongside pumpernickel and Scandinavian light rye. I don't plan to make the white breads again, although they were very good, because I'm on the hunt for great whole grain breads.

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