Prep:30 mins Cook:40 mins plus resting and proving
makes 2 loaves

Ingredients       : 

For the biga
¼ tsp dried active yeast
165g plain flour
For the dough
½ tsp dried action yeast
35ml warm milk
1 tbsp olive oil
250g strong white bread flour

Method        : 

The night before, make the biga (see tip, below). Stir yeast with 50ml warm
water, stand for 10 mins, then add another 80ml warm water. Gradually add
the flour in a stand mixer on its lowest setting. Once it’s a wet dough, transfer
to a well-oiled bowl, cover and leave for 12 hours or overnight at room

In the morning, combine the yeast and milk and leave to stand for 10 mins.
Tip into a freestanding mixer fitted with a dough hook, add 160ml water, the
biga and the olive oil. Then add the flour and 1 heaped tsp salt. Use the
dough hook of a stand mixer to combine the dough. Knead for 10 mins until
smooth and elastic. Don’t worry if it looks very wet, it should to be a very
wet dough! Pour into a well-oiled bowl and cover with cling film. Leave to
prove for an hour and a half or until doubled in size.

Once rested, begin to do a series of folds – lift the dough from the edge, pull
up, over, then release it. Turn the bowl 90 degrees and do the same again.
Repeat so you do a full turn of the bowl twice, or 8 folds. Rest for 30 mins,
then repeat the whole folding process once more.

Heat the oven to 220C/200C fan/gas mark 6. Tip the dough onto a really
well-floured surface and cut in half. The dough will feel like a batter and
spread across the surface a bit, but don’t panic, just work on a well-floured
surface, using the flour and a pastry scraper to help move the dough. Shape
the dough into 2 large squares (about 20cm x 20cm). Dealing with each loaf
at a time, fold the dough in from each side, as if folding a booklet. Flip over,
then pick up the roll and place each onto separate well-floured sheets of
baking paper. The roll will be very soft, so oil or flour your hands well.
Allow to rest for another 30 mins, covered with a floured tea towel. Don’t
worry if it spreads a little.

While the dough rests, heat a baking sheet in the oven. Once the dough has
rested, slide each of the loaves, along with the baking paper beneath them,
onto the hot baking sheet. Bake for 35-40 mins, until the crust is golden and
the loaves sound hollow when tapped on the base. Move to a wire rack and
cool for an hour before slicing and serving with olive oil and balsamic