YIELD: 10, 1-lb. rounds
Biga: make 18 hours ahead
4.8 lbs. bread flour
2.65 lbs. water (55°F)
.9 grams dry yeast
11.63 lbs. water
1.2 lbs. olive oil
15.24 lbs. bread flour
32 grams dry yeast
.46 lbs. salt
as needed semolina, for dipping dough bottoms
- FOR THE BIGA STARTER: Mix biga 18 hours in advance in mixer with 55°F water. Oil a container large enough for dough to double in size; add dough, and cover.
- Break down biga by hand with water for about 5 minutes. Add oil and keep stirring while partner adds flour with the yeast, then salt. Work dough for 5 minutes; scrape down the tub; cover. (Steps A and B)
- Allow 45 minutes in tub for bulk fermentation. Then remove dough, place on floured table surface, and fold the dough into thirds. Allow 10 minutes for additional bulk fermentation. (Step C)
- DIVIDE DOUGH and portion into 10 1-lb. units Lightly shape each unit into rounds; dip bottoms in semolina and place on a sheet tray with silicon paper. (Step D)
- Allow 10 minutes for intermediate fermentation; then dip fingers in olive oil, stipple dough with fingers, and place dough in proofer. (Step E)
- Allow 30 minutes for final fermentation. Stipple again with olive-oiled fingers and add toppings, as desired. (Step F)
- BAKE BREAD: Set oven to 480°F; drop temperature to 465°F after putting in bread. Bake for 18 minutes with steam, then crack open door and vent oven for 4 minutes. (If baking large, rectangularshaped focaccia on full sheet trays, bake for 25 to 30 minutes.)
- Brush with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with kosher salt after baking. Cool.
Recipe and photos from Chef Eric Kastel, Associate Professor, Baking & Pastry Arts, Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, NY.
A. Prepare biga (starter) and allow to rise for 18 hours. Then break down biga by hand with water for about 5 minutes.
B. Add oil and keep stirring while partners add flour, yeast and salt. Work dough for 5 minutes and scrape down.
C. Allow dough to ferment 30-45 minutes in container. Remove dough, place on a floured surface, and fold into thirds. This develops structure. Allow to ferment another 10 minutes.
D. Divide dough into 10 1-lb. units. Lightly shape into rounds and dip bottoms into semolina, then place on sheet tray lined with silicon paper.
E. Allow dough to sit on tray for 10 more minutes, then dip fingers in olive oil and 'stipple' the surface of the rounds with your fingers. This degasses the dough. Place trays in proofer for 30 minutes.
F. Stipple the dough once more with olive oil, and add desired toppings. Set tray in 480°F oven, then reduce temperature to 460°F. Bake with steam switch on (or pot of water in oven) for 18 minutes; crack open oven door and vent oven for 4 minutes.