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We love this recipe. It yields an extremely light, air pocket-riddled loaf, wonderful for splitting lengthwise, to make a panini sandwich. Note that the dough is extremely slack (wet) and sticky; this consistency is what gives the bread its lovely, "holey" texture. For easiest handling, keep your hands well oiled as you work with the dough.
1 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All- Purpose Flour
1 cup water
1/8 teaspoon instant yeast
biga (from above)
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1/2 cup King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 cup King Arthur 100% Organic White whole Wheat Flour
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon Baker’s Special Dry Milk or nonfat dry milk
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup to 1/2 cup water*
*Use the greater amount in winter, or if you’re in a dry climate; the lesser amount in summer, or in humid weather. The goal is a very sticky dough, too sticky to knead by hand, but not so slack that it won’t hold its shape when you plop it onto a pan. Start with a lesser amount of liquid, and add more if the dough doesn’t seem sticky enough.
Mix the biga ingredients in a small bowl until well combined. Let the biga rest overnight, covered, or for up to 15 hours.
Place all of the dough ingredients, including the biga, into the bowl of your mixer, and beat it at medium speed (speed 4 on a KitchenAid), using the flat beater, for 3 minutes; the dough should have started to clear the sides of the bowl. If it hasn’t, increase the speed of the mixer, and mix for an additional 2 minutes.
Switch to the dough hook, and knead for an additional 3 to 4 minutes; the dough will be extremely soft. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover it, and allow it to rise for 2 hours, deflating it once midway through the rising time, if you happen to be around and it fits into your schedule. Note: you may also prepare this dough in a bread machine programmed for the dough cycle. Let the dough rise for 2 hours.
Transfer the dough to a well-oiled work surface. Lightly grease a half-sheet baking pan (18" x 13") or similar large pan, and your hands. Using a bench knife or your fingers, divide the dough in half. Handling the dough gently, stretch it into a log about 10" long, and place it crosswise on one half of the baking sheet. Flatten the log with your fingers till it's about 3" wide. Repeat with the remaining piece of dough. Lightly cover the dough with heavily oiled plastic wrap or a proof cover, and allow it to rise for 2 hours; it'll become very puffy, and will jiggle like Jell-O when you shake the pan gently.
Bake the loaves in a preheated 425°F oven for 22 to 25 minutes, or until they’re golden brown. Turn off the oven, remove the panini loaves from the baking sheet, and return them to the oven, propping the oven door open a couple of inches with a folded-over potholder. Allow the loaves to cool completely in the oven; this will give them a very crisp crust. If desired, sift a dusting of flour on top of the cooled loaves.
Yield: 2 loaves.
The name of these delicious stuffed, grilled sandwiches translates to "little bread rolls." We love panini made with this particular bread, with its lovely golden hint of whole wheat, and its irregular interior holes, which add to the sandwich’s light texture.
Split a panini bread in half lengthwise, and brush or drizzle each half with olive oil. Place the fillings of your choice on the bottom half of the bread: Italian cold cuts, provolone cheese, chopped olives, softened sun-dried tomatoes, basil leaves, sliced peppers or pimientos, or any combination of any similar sandwich-type fillings. Top with the top half of the bread. Cut in half, thirds, or whatever size will fit your grill. Place in a panini grill, and grill till the filling is warm and the bread golden brown. Remove from the grill, and cut into serving-size pieces. Repeat with the remaining loaf, if desired.
Yield: 8 to 12 servings.