Sprinkle yeast over water and let stand until dissolved, about 5 minutes. Add
milk, rosemary, regular salt, 4 cups flour, and biga (if used). With dough hook
or spoon, mix in 1 & 1/2 cups more flour. If using dough hook, knead about 8
minutes or until dough is no longer sticky and pulls cleanly from bowl; add
flour, 2 tablespoons at a time, if needed. If kneading by hand, knead 10-15
minutes, adding flour as necessary to prevent sticking. Place dough in an
oiled bowl, oil top, and cover with plastic wrap. |
Let rise in a warm place until doubled, 1 & 1/2 to 2 hours. Punch down dough and
knead briefly on a lightly floured board. Repeat rising in an oiled bowl until
doubled again, 1 & 1/2 hours. Punch down and knead briefly. Divide dough in
half; form into two smooth balls. Place on a large, well-floured cookie sheet.
Oil top lightly and cover lightly with plastic wrap. Let rise until dough is
puffy and holds a faint impression when lightly pressed, about 30 minutes.
Heat oven to 400 degrees. With a very sharp knife, slash an asterisk about
1/4-inch deep and 6-inches across on top of dough. Sprinkle with coarse salt.
Using a spray bottle, mist loaf and walls of oven (avoid light bulb). Put dough
in oven and remist oven. Bake until bread is deep golden, about 30 minutes.
Cool on rack.
*Biga is a sponge or Italian yeast starter used to enhance flavor and texture.
Personally, I can't tell the difference between using it or not.
recipe for biga:
In a bowl, sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast over 1/2-cup cool water.
Let stand 5 minutes. Stir in 1-cup bread flour until combined. Chill airtight
at least 24 hours or up to 2 weeks. Makes 1 cup
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