My grandma is Anastasia and she’s a 96-year-old pretty lady. She likes wearing gaudy rings and necklaces, singing funny songs and telling stories. She isn’t able to hear very well now but I’m sure she has listened so much during her life. She made bread in a small village in Calabria, when it was hard to live: people went to her small wood fired oven and left cheese or other foods in exchange for bread. Me and my grandma are very similar, even if she’s older than me and lives so far. We both love accessories, singing and... Kneading. I like the smell of bread which inebriates my home while cooking and I think it is the same my grandma smelled when she made bread in her wood fired oven.
My bread is a 75% hydration bread and made with “Biga” and “autolisi”. Here some tips for a perfect bread:
- Choose high quality flour. Local wheat, stone grounded and not refined flour.
- Hydration is very important for the final result: it gives crunchiness and structure to your bread.
- Folds: they helps you to handle high hydrated doughs and helps develop the gluten network.
- Cooking: don’t be afraid of over cooking bread. It should be golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped underneath.
- H10.00AM make Autolyse: mix together flour (150g) and water with a spoon. The mixture will be sticky and it’s fine. Cover and let chill at room temperature.
- H10:30AM for the biga: mix the flour (30g) with the yeast and pour in the water. Knead until everything is combined. Cover and set aside.
- H03:00PM make the dough: in a bowl, mix the flour and the yeast. Add the Autolyse and the biga cut into small pieces. Melt honey into the water and pour it over. Stir with a spoon, add salt, and start kneading with your hands, trying to incorporated the biga very well.
- Cover and let chill 30min. Put the dough over a floured working surface and start folding it like it is shown here https://www.thespruceeats.com/how-to-fold-bread-dough-1446709. Place the dough into a cleaned bowl and cover it.
- H08:30PM Fold again the dough, then put it in the fridge overnight.
- H07:00AM Take the dough out of the fridge and bring it at room temperature.
- H10:00AM Place the dough over a floured working table and start folding it, bringing the external edges to the middle. Repeat this passage three times, waiting 30min between each passage.
- Put the dough in a floured banneton upside down on and cover it with a cleaned cloth.
- Bring the oven at 200degrees. Reverse the banneton-risen bread over a baking tray and use a sharp to cut the surface. Bake for about 20min.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 180 degrees and cook the bread for 15min. Then, leave the door of the oven semi-closed for about 20/30min so that the steam could exit.
- Once ready, let the bread become cold before cutting.