I've been working through the book Flour Water Salt Yeast
by Ken Forkish & promised @henapple
I'd share photos. This weekend, I decided to try something new to me: a rustic french bread made from 80% Biga (a pre-ferment). The book said this is also a great dough for pizza, so I used half the recipe for the boule and we're making pizza with the rest of the dough tonight. True to the title, every recipe in the book is made with just flour, water, salt and yeast. Nothing more. There isn't a lot of special equipment needed and all the recipes are mixed by hand. Here's the basic process I used:
Started the Biga last night (6:30 pm) by dissolving 3/16 tsp Instant Dried Yeast into 544g 80 degree water. Mixed that (by hand) into 800g 00 Caputo Flour (all-purpose flour works, too. Avoid bread flour - too much protien). I covered the container (I use a rubbermaid cake saver because I already had it, but a 12 quart Cambro tub would be ideal) and let it rest in a 70 degree room for 14 hours until it was a gooey, bubbly, pungent mess. I'm sorry I didn't take pics of the biga - it was so funky I was almost sure this was going to flop & I would have to scrap the whole thing.
8:30 am today: Mixed 200g flour with 22g fine sea salt, 1/2 tsp yeast & 206g 105 degree water. Added that to the biga and mixed by hand then folded the dough. I covered it again and let it ferment in a 70 degree room. I folded the dough every 30 minutes for the first 1.5 hours (3 times). It took about 3 hours to triple in size.
11:30 am: I divided the dough into 2 equal portions, shaped 1 into a large ball for the french bread and further divided the rest of the dough into 3 smaller balls for the pizza. The boule went into a shallow pasta bowl that I lined with a floured cotton kitchen towel. I covered the dough with another towel. The pizza doughs went into oiled pasta bowls. I covered those with plastic wrap sprayed with oil.
I proofed the pizza dough for 30 minutes at 70 degrees before moving it to the refrigerator.
CenTex played the part of my grill monkey today. He started bringing the egg up to temp as soon as I shaped the dough. We preheated the dutch oven (4 quart is best - mine is 5 quarts, so my boules are a little wider and less tall) in the egg to 475 degrees. The boule proofed earlier than I expected and was ready to go on in less than an hour. I was worried it had over-proofed because the finger dents I made were just barely springing back
Then, another fumble when I tried to transfer the dough to the dutch oven and realized that I hadn't prepped the towel with enough flour (this dough is much stickier than those I've made in the past). I lost a few precious bubbles when the dough stuck to the towel:
At this point, I figured my over-proofed, degassed loaf was most likely going to collapse into something resembling the mystery ceramic pieces of "art" my kids used to bring home. I hoped to get lucky and I'd already done the work, so I decided to throw it on anyway. I covered it with the preheated lid and let it bake for 30 min. I had no idea what I would find when it was time to take the lid off:
Not too shabby! This bread making stuff isn't so hard after all & I thought the tear in the dough made the finished loaf look more interesting. At this stage, I left the lid off and let it cook another 20 min to intensify the wood-fired flavor.
I'll post photos of the pizza later tonight