I got this new cookbook for my birthday called The Sullivan Street Bakery Cookbook by Jim Lahey. I’ve made two recipes from it so far and they were both amazing! They took some time to make, but were definitely worth all the effort. The recipes were for pizza crust and Tuscan bread. Both shocked my taste buds. They are so light, so fluffy, and so good.
Both took the whole day to make, but I was so glad I made them because the end product was so worth it.
I wasn’t sure if I was doing each step right because I’ve never made bread with a biga, which is just a stiffer starter for breads. I was really happy I had my sourdough starter because the biga recipe required a small amount of it. This needs to be made at least a day before making the bread so it has time to ferment. The biga will look bubbly and should triple in size. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of that but it will be a very small, stiff ball of dough once mixed together. Below is the dough after initially mixed together and before the first proof.
I did really like that I didn’t have to knead the dough much. I mixed it all by hand. The process requires a lot of resting of the dough. Then folding the dough from the outside in a couple of times.
This picture above is after being shaped and at the start of the final proof.
Above is the dough after proofing for 3 hours. It is ready to bake.
The finished product had a light, golden, crispy crust and soft, light texture. Since it is a bread that is made in Tuscany, it doesn’t contain a lot of salt in the recipe. It is supposed to be eaten with saltier foods because of this. I find this so fascinating. We are so used to our bread having salt, it was nice to try this bread on it’s own. It got me to think of dishes to pair it with to balance the flavor of the bread with the flavor of the meal.
Both of these recipes were so much more than I thought they would be, I’m excited to try more recipes from this book!
70 grams room temperature water
10 grams refreshed fermented starter
100 grams unbleached AP flour
0.1 gram (a tiny pinch) fine sea salt (I used iodized salt)
- To make the biga, whisk the sourdough starter with the water until dissolved.
- Mix with flour and salt until the dough comes together.
- Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit for about 24 hours.
Ingredients for Tuscan Bread
270 grams water
75 grams biga
400 grams unbleached AP flour
1.5 grams fast acting/instant yeast
3 grams fine sea salt (I used iodized salt.)
- Combine the flour, yeast, and salt together in a bowl. Whisk together.
- Whisk the water and biga together until dissolved. Add to the flour, yeast, and salt mixture.
- Let it rest for 20 minutes.
- Put some flour on your hands and on the top of the dough. Fold the edge of the dough to the center. Go around the bowl. Turn the ball of dough over and cover with plastic wrap. Let it ferment for about 4-5 hours at room temperature. When it has reached the end of that time period, the dough should look bubbly and doubled in size.
- Fold the edges of the dough to the center of the dough. Turn the dough over, cover, and wait another 20 minutes.
- Place parchment on a baking sheet and cover with flour.
- After the 20 minutes are up, fold the edges of the dough to the center again and shape into a ball. Put some flour on your hands if needed. Place the dough onto the parchment after being shaped. Sprinkle some flour on top of the dough. Cover with a towel. Let it proof one more time for 2-3 hours. It should double in size before baking.
- Preheat the oven to 380 degrees Fahrenheit with a pizza stone placed in the oven before turning the oven on. Turn the oven on after the first 2 hours of the final proof.
- Slide the proofed dough onto the pizza stone and bake for about 55-60 minutes. It should have a nice crust and be a light golden brown.
I hope you get to enjoy this delicious Tuscan Bread! If not, at least enjoy the pictures and my post!