- To make the biga: Mix all of the biga ingredients in a medium-sized bowl until well-blended. Cover the bowl, and leave it at cool room temperature (68°F-70°F) for 12 to 20 hours, until the biga is very bubbly.
- To make the dough: Mix the biga and the remaining dough ingredients, except the cheese, using an electric mixer set on slow speed, for 2 to 4 minutes. Increase the speed to medium and mix for about 4 minutes; the dough should be soft and slightly sticky. Add additional water or flour if necessary. Mix in the cheese; don't worry if some pieces pop out.
- To make dough in a bread machine: Add all of the ingredients and mix this dough on the dough cycle; add the diced cheese several minutes before the end of the final kneading cycle.
- Allow the dough to rise, in a greased, covered bowl, for 1 to 2 hours, until it's very puffy.
- Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface, and shape it into two long loaves, about 12" x 4" inches each. Place the loaves, floured side up, onto parchment paper (if you plan to bake on an oven stone) or baking sheets. Cover the loaves with a proof cover or well-greased plastic wrap, and allow them to rise for 45 minutes, or until they're very puffy. Sprinkle them with additional grated cheese.
- While the bread is rising, preheat the oven to 450°F.
- Bake the ciabatta for 22 to 26 minutes, until it's golden brown. Remove it from the oven, and cool on a rack.
- Wrap well, and store for 2 days on the counter. Freeze for up to 3 months.