Dan’s DiMuzio’s Bread

I happened to bump in to Dan DiMuzio at EQ at The Party Source. He mentioned that he had a new book, Bread Baking: An Artisan’s Perspective. His name was familiar to me but I couldn’t remember why.  Shortly after I met Dan,  my sister Carol  mentioned she was baking  a bread recipe that I shared with her 10 years ago. Then it hit me! I asked her to look at the recipe and tell me if it was attributed to anyone…….you guessed it, Dan DiMuzio! Dan’s Bread recipe has become part of my sister’s family. While I’ve only made it a dozen or so times, my sister makes it several times a month. I promise you, it’s the best bread you’ll ever make. Yes, there are a lot of steps. No, you can’t make this last minute. But start it some Thursday evening to finish on a Sunday and you’ll have the most satisfying bread experience ever.

Dan’s DiMuzio’s Bread Recipe (via my sister, so it may have some changes in format and wording over the years- in fact we’ve lost the name of the bread itself):

Directions

The biga (starter) is made as follows:

1/8 tsp yeast
3/4 Cup water
1 1/2 cup flour

After 12-24 hours, make the sponge. (Have enough time ahead of you to let it rise 8 hours, make the dough, let it sit out 1 hour before being refrigerated overnight)

Sponge:

1/4 tsp yeast dissolved in 1/2 Cup warm water
3 cups room temperature water
2/3 cup day old Biga
3 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour
3/4 cup stone ground whole wheat flour

add yeast mixture to room temperature water
add Biga and break it up in the water (with hands is best)
add flours and mix well
rise, covered, in container for 8 hours (one hour either way won't hurt)

Dough:
1 recipe sponge
3-4 tsp salt
3 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour

Add 2 1/2 cups of flour and salt to sponge. Use paddle on mixer. Add as much more of the flour as needed to make dough just no sticky. Knead with dough hook for 4-5 minutes at medium low speed. Finish off with hand kneading until dough is spring and begins to show some body. Use flour to keep from sticking, but only barely as much as you need.

Prepare a big huge bowl with a little oil. Place dough, with a tight fitting cover or plastic wrap, in container and allow to sit at room temperature for about an hour. Refrigerate over night.

Remove dough from fridge. Allow it to stand for 4-5 hours to come to "usable" temp. Pour dough onto floured surface. Cut into 2-4 pieces, depending on how big you want your loaves.

Roll each piece into a cigar shape, first one way, then the other. Now gather all the edges at the bottom of this ball as your turn the dough in your cupped hands, pulling the outer skin downward all the while.

Place the balls, seam-side-down (on parchment paper) which has been sprinkled with cornmeal. Flour the tops of the loaves well and cover with a kitchen towel. Meanwhile, place a baking stone into your oven and preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

After 60-90 minutes,uncover the loaves and slash the tops. Now gently, slide the loaves, one at a time, parchment and all, into the oven and onto the stone - or just have the parchment or cornmeal on a cookie sheet and bake them on that.

Either mist the loaves immediately with a water sprayer or put 3-5 ice cubes in a pan on the oven floor and close door immediately.
Reduce oven temp to 400 degrees. Bake the loaves for 40-60 minutes, until quite brown. Allow breads to cool on racks for 2-3 hours (fat chance!) before slicing.


What's Needed:

 

Biga:
1/8 tsp yeast
3/4 Cup water
1 1/2 cup flour

Sponge:
1/4 tsp yeast dissolved in 1/2 Cup warm water
3 cups room temperature water
2/3 cup day old Biga
3 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour
3/4 cup stone ground whole wheat flour

Dough:
1 recipe sponge
3-4 tsp salt
3 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour

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