Rustic Italian Bread Made With Biga (Pane Rustique)

pane rustique

medium

32 - 42

hours

italy

This rustic Italian bread is based on a previous Italian bread that I make. I have been in love with the Pane Cassericio for years, but I wanted to know if I could improve it somehow. I think with this recipe, I have!

I'll give you a glimpse on how to use overnight fermentation in the fridge which adds more aroma to your bread.

Take a look at the recipe video to find out how and why I made a few tweaks to the recipe. Do try cold fermentation in some of your existing recipes and see if they can also be improved. For the most authentic rustic Italian bread use Italian 00 flour.

Cold fermentation was introduced to the baking world by Peter Reinhart in his bread bible "The Bread Bakers Apprentice", to find out more and to own one the most important books in modern baking follow this affiliate link to amazon.


Ingredients 

For the biga:


    350g  White bread flour


    300g  Water


     0.5g  Fresh yeast (0.3 dried yeast)



For the dough:

   500g  White bread flour


   400g  Water


    0.5g  Fresh yeast (0.3 dried yeast)


      2g  Salt


      5g  Sugar


    40g  Extra virgin olive oil


1

Make the biga by whisking the yeast and the water until dissolved before adding the flour and combining. Once no lumps remain, cover and leave on the work top for 12-16 hours.

2

The next day, once the biga has risen air bubbles on the surface, weigh the ingredients and add the biga to the water. Then combine all ingredients excluding the sugar, 2nd water and the olive oil to a large mixing bowl. 

3

Mix the dough slowly, first with a dough scraper and then using a stretching motion on the table. Continue this for 7 minutes, by now the dough should have an even consistency. Place the down back into the mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a bag and place it in the fridge. 

4

After 15 minutes, take the dough out and knead fast for 7 minutes. You may wish to use the fast knead. Cover again and place back in the fridge for 15 minutes. 

5

Remove the dough from the fridge, add the sugar and fast knead for 2 minutes on the table. Next add the 2nd water. To do this put the dough back in the bowl add the water and push the dough into the water until it incorporates then fast knead for 2 minutes. After the water, use the same technique to add the olive oil and again knead for 2 minutes. The dough should look smooth, even and strong. 

6

Place the dough back in the bowl, cover with a plastic bag or plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 16-20 hours. 

7

In the morning, take the dough out the fridge and knock as much air out as possible and shape into a round. Leave on the table to rest for 10 minutes. Prepare a banneton by dusting with dark rye flour. 

8

After resting, final shape into a round and place in the basket. Allow to proof for 3-4 hours in the fridge, or two hours ambient. The dough should double in size, leave a bit longer if not. Preheat the oven to 250C (480F) with a baking stone.

9

Turn the dough out onto a dusted peel. Cut using a lame with one slice through the middle at a slight angle. Bake in a hot oven with steam, dropping the temperature straight away to 230C (440F). Open the door after 25 minutes to release some steam and continue to bake for another 15-25 minutes, until the bread has a dark coloured crust. 

10

Remove from the oven using the peel and cool for a couple of hours.

Method using a dough mixer


1

Make the biga by whisking the yeast and the water until dissolved before adding the flour and combining. Once no lumps remain, cover and leave on the work top for 12-16 hours.

2

Once the biga has risen air bubbles on the surface, add both flours, biga, yeast, 1st water and salt to a mixing bowl and mix slowly until long gluten strands are visible, typically 8-12 minutes. 

3

Then mix fast for 5 minutes, drop the speed to slow and add the 2nd water. After a minute, add the sugar and turn the speed back up to fast for 5 minutes or until the dough is nice, smooth and very elastic. Next, changing the speed back to slow, add the olive oil slowly and increase the speed when the majority of the olive is absorbed. Continue mixing until the dough can be heard slapping against the edge of the bowl. 

4

Remove the dough from the bowl using a dough scraper and place into a mixing bowl. Cover with a plastic bag or plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 16-20 hours. 

5

In the morning, take the dough out the fridge and knock as much air out as possible and shape into a round. Leave on the table to rest for 10 minutes. Prepare a banneton by dusting with dark rye flour. 

6

After resting, final shape into a round and place in the basket. Allow to proof for 3-4 hours in the fridge, or two hours ambient. The dough should double in size, leave a bit longer if not. Preheat the oven to 250C (480F)

7

Turn the dough out onto a dusted peel. Cut using a lame with one slice through the middle at a slight angle. Bake in a hot oven with steam, dropping the temperature straight away to 230C (440F). Open the door after 25 minutes to release some steam and continue to bake for another 15-25 minutes, until the bread has a dark coloured crust. 

8

Remove from the oven using the peel and cool for a couple of hours.

How to make rustic Italian bread video tutorial


Top tips for the best rustic Italian bread


If using dried yeast, when you make the dough add it to the water, whisk to remove any lumps then add the liquid yeast  to the mixing bowl with the rest of the ingredients.

Using cold fermentation and the addition of sugar creates a dough that is sweet and full of flavour. It will also have a darker crust colour than many traditional breads. For a lighter colour, bulk ferment outside of the fridge for 2-3 hours. 

Adding sweeteners and fats like sugar and olive oil affect the gluten development a little which is why I often add them nearing the end of the mixing time.

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