So what is the perfect loaf anyway?
It only has 4 ingredients: flour, water, yeast, and salt. Okay… maybe 6 if you use sugar and butter. You can mix it in a bread machine or electric mixer and bake it in a regular pan you already own. It’s not fancy… no braids… no slashes from that fancy lame you learned to use by watching hours of YouTube videos.
When it comes out of the oven, the aroma immediately draws everyone in the house toward the kitchen. It’s pretty much guaranteed that someone will steal a slice while it’s still hot. It’s a nice rounded oval of old-fashioned homemade goodness whose beauty lies in its simplicity.
I decided to start with a biga — a simple starter that ferments for several hours before adding it to your favorite bread recipe. The biga — or any starter for that matter — will not only improve the texture of the finished bread, but it introduces a bit of flavor complexity that just tastes better.
So today we’ll make the biga and tomorrow we’ll bake bread.
210 ml. (3/4 c. plus 2 tbsp.) room temperature water
225 gm. (1 3/4 c. plus 2 tbsp.) all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. bread machine yeast
Place all ingredients in the bread machine and process on the dough setting for 5 minutes. Transfer to a covered glass jar and let it sit at room temperature for 12-24 hours.
As the big becomes active, it will bubble and belch and eventually double in size. After the yeast has overloaded on carbs, it’ll deflate to its original volume.