Thankfully the BIGA survived the long night in the refrigerator and I took it out first thing to bring it back to room temperature. I refreshed it again. I think it was the right thing to do although I was not clear if I should have used it as is but I went with my instinct. Once it was refreshed I put it beside the radiator in the kitchen, having turned the heating back on to ensure success. The day was mild. H complained about the extreme heat in the house. I just looked at him, glared and simply said, BIGA. He shrugged. Shed a sweater. Left me to my experiment. The BIGA had four and a half hours to do its thing. Again!
I followed everything to a t. I mixed more yeast in with warm milk. I measured olive oil and unbleached flour, salt, water. I added the magic BIGA. My hand mixer was a trial. It was not used to the quantity of flour required. It protested, grew hot and heavy in my hand. I turned to my own hands then and mixed and kneaded as Carol suggested. I put everything back into the bowl for another resting period of one and a half hours. By then I swear I had the hottest house in Ireland!
I was feeling close to my goal and nothing was going to stop me as I approached the shaping and the second rising of the bread. I cut the dough into three. Carol suggests four but as I only possess three baking tins I had to bite the biscuit so to speak. H came in at one stage to beg me to turn off the heating. I agreed. I felt I was out of the woods by then. Cylinder shape is good for Ciabatta. I rolled them out and placed the forms, the lenght of wrist to arm, on the trays. I dimpled the dough with my knuckles. Small dog paced and lay down for the hundredth time and then got up again. I put the three potential loaves to rest for one hour and a half. The final rest.
I went to the grocery store. Bought a loaf of bread that hailed from Joe's Bakery, just in case I was not successful. Got home and the dough was ready. The oven hot, my excitement mounted. I set my timer for twenty five minutes and after five the smell infused the kitchen. I swear Small dog smiled at me then. A wise knowing culinary grin.
My first attempt at making this kind of bread and I was well pleased. When I took it out of the oven I tapped the base to hear the hollow sound, clock cluck, cluck. My hands did well. I just had to cut a slice off one of the loaves even though the bread was still hot, I could not bear the suspense. The essential air bubbles were intact and duly noted and so I slathered on some good yellow Irish butter. It melted and slid into the crevices immediately. I ate it then, warm and moist. Small dog did her best pleading doe-eyed after dinner act just for me and so I tossed her a small piece of crust and we both stood there in blissful silence and a new love of something that only flour, water and a wee wee bit of yeast can create. Oh and before I forget, I put Joe's Bakery bread in the freezer. I hope it has a long shelf life.