I decided to try another Cook's Illustrated bread recipe. This one was from their PBS show America's Test Kitchen. The recipe takes a bit of time for risings, etc. but the end result is well worth it!
Biga (bread starter)
- 5 oz. AP flour
- 1/8 teaspoon rapid rise or instant yeast
- 1/2 c. room temp water
- stir mixture together in small bowl and cover with plastic wrap, set aside for 8-24 hours
- 2 cups AP flour
- 1/2 teaspoon yeast (same as above)
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 6 oz. water
- 2 oz. milk
In the mixing bowl of your stand mixer add biga, and ingredient list from above. On low speed w/ paddle attachment, mix for 1 minute. Scrape down sides of bowl, then mix on medium speed until mixture starts to pull away from sides of the bowl, approximately 4 minutes. Switch to dough hook attachment and mix on medium speed for 10 minutes. Transfer mixture to a oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rest for approximately 1 hour, or until it doubles in size.
With an oiled spatula, gently fold the sides of dough onto one another 8 times, let rest for 30 minutes. Repeat, and let rest another 30 minutes.
Cut out two 12 by 6 inch rectangles of parchment paper. Cut dough into 2 equal parts. Using a well-floured surface gently work the first piece of dough into a rectangle that fills the parchment paper. Repeat with second dough. Transfer to paper. Flour surface of dough and cover lightly with plastic. Let rest for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven and pizza stone to 450 degrees. Gently fold both "loaves" one side into the middle then the other side into the middle, like a business letter. Cover and leave for another 30 minutes.
Spray loaves with a bit of water and place loaves on preheated pizza stone. Spray again twice during the first 5 minutes of cooking. Cook time is typically between 22-27 minutes. Internal temp should reach 210.
Retyping these instructions made me realize how precise Cook's recipes are, but they really are worth following to the letter. This bread turned out terrifically.