For the biga:
- 1 1/4 cups unbleached bread flour
- 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
- 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons water, at room temperature
For the bread:
- 3 cups plus 2 tablespoons unbleached high-gluten or bread flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, coarsely ground (optional)
- 1 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
- 1 cup mashed potatoes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh rosemary
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons to 1 cup water, at room temperature (or warm if the potatoes are cold)
- 4 tablespoons coarsely chopped roasted garlic
- Semolina flour or cornmeal for dusting
- Olive oil for brushing on top
Stir together the flour and yeast for the biga in a 4-quart bowl. Add water, stirring until everything comes together and makes a coarse ball. Add flour or water if needed so that the dough is neither too sticky nor too stiff. (It is better to err on the sticky side)
Sprinkle some flour on the counter and transfer the dough to the counter. Knead for 4 to 6 minutes, or until the dough is soft and pliable, tacky but not sticky. The internal temperature should be 77 to 81°F.
Lightly oil a bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and ferment at room temperature for 2 to 4 hours, or until it nearly doubles in size. Remove the dough from the bowl, knead it lightly to degas, and return it to the bowl, covering the bowl with plastic wrap. Place the bowl in the refrigerator overnight. Remove and cut into 10 small pieces. Cover with a towel and let sit for 1 hour to take off the chill
Stir together the flour, salt, black pepper, and yeast into a 4-quart mixing bowl. Add the biga pieces, mashed potatoes, oil, rosemary, and 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water. Stir with a large spoon for 1 minute, or until the ingredients form a ball. Add more water, if necessary, or more flour, if the dough is too sticky.
Sprinkle flour on the counter, transfer the dough to the counter, and begin to knead. Knead for approximately 10 minutes, adding more flour if needed, until the dough is soft and supple, tacky but not sticky. It should pass the windowpane test and register 77° to 81°F. Flatten the dough and spread the roasted garlic over the top. Gather the dough into a ball and knead it by hand for 1 minute. Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
Ferment at room temperature for approximately 2 hours, or until the dough doubles in size. Remove the dough from the bowl and divide it into 2 equal pieces for loaves, or 18 equal pieces for dinner rolls. Shape each of the larger pieces into a boule, or shape the smaller pieces into rolls. Line a sheet pan with baking parchment and dust lightly with semolina flour or cornmeal. Place the dough on the parchment, separating the pieces so that they will not touch, even after they rise. Mist the dough with spray oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap.
Proof at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours (depending on the size of the pieces), or until the dough doubles in size. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F with the oven rack on the middle shelf. Remove the plastic from the dough and lightly brush the breads or rolls with olive oil. Score the breads if desired.
Place the pan(s) in the oven. Bake the loaves for 20 minutes, then rotate the pan 180° for even baking. The loaves will take 35 to 45 minutes total to bake. Bake the rolls for 10 minutes, rotate the pans, and then bake for 10 minutes longer. The loaves and rolls will be a rich golden brown all around, and the internal temperature should register at least 195°F. The loaves should make a hollow sound when thumped on the bottom. if the loaves or rolls are fully colored but seem to soft, turn off the oven and let them bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes to firm up.
Remove the finished loaves or rolls from the oven and cool on a rack for at least 1 hour for loaves and 20 minutes for rolls before serving.
From Smitten Kitchen