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The moral of this story is, either: "Make sure you get an early night" or "Never despair...there are always surprises around the corner".
I had intended to make ciabatta. So, the night before, I made the biga.
I carefully weighed out a little water and mixed it with yeast. Then I added the flour and the water, covered it and left it overnight to activate and rise.
However, at 5 a.m. I came downstairs and forgot to have a coffee. That always means I'm dozy, to say the least. Where on earth I got the idea from that I was making tangzhong, I really don't know.
Anyway, I added the biga to a standard mix for tangzhong and then had a 'D'oh!' moment.
So, what to do? Tip the whole dough into the bin and re-mix?
No! You never know what might happen.
Anyway, even in my somnolent state, I realised that this was not going to be a disaster. It was simply replacing a tangzhong starter with a biga and the rest of the ingredients were more or less the same for any loaf.
Bread is all about magic and mystery. So I baked it.
And it turned out wonderfully. It was soft, light and tasty.
So, what started out as a potential disaster, turned out into a successful recipe that I will be definitely using again.
I'll explain what I did....
First I prepared the biga:
Preparing the biga
140 gms bread flour
80 gms tepid filtered water (or own-brand still water)
⅛ teaspoon active instant yeast
2 tablespoons warm water
Make the biga the night before you plan to bake
Mix together the yeast with the warm water. Allow it to stand for a few minutes
Stir the yeast mixture into a medium sized bowl. Add the flour and the water and stir until combined.
Cover with cling-film or a shower cap and leave it at room temperature overnight. It can be left for up to 24 hours.
Then I prepared the ingredients for the dough:
Preparing the dough
470 gms of strong white bread flour
259 mls water
1 tablespoon dried milk powder
1 oz unsalted butter
1 tablespoon demerara sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp active instant yeast
Then I added the dough ingredients to the biga in a large bowl and proceeded to mix and knead until I had a silky dough.
I let it rise for an hour. Then, I knocked it back and shaped it for a large 10 inch round bread tin.
I have to admit that I wasn't sure how much it would expand, so I gave it lots of room.
After an hour, it had risen again. I dusted it with flour and baked it in a pre-heated oven at 180⁰C for 35 minutes.
The I let it cool on a rack.
Very happy baking.....eventually!
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