I started using a Biga to make bread about 20 years ago.
Recently though I have been playing around with some other
Last week I went back to using a biga and now I can’t remember why I ever stopped.
This is definitely my favourite bread.
Also makes a great pizza crust.
I started a biga Saturday night just before going to bed.
This biga was made from
1g of yeast (1/2 teaspoon)
220g of water (1 cup)
220g of flour ( 1 1/2 cups)
It takes less than two minutes to mix and then it just gets
left covered on the courter overnight to rise.
By morning it had more than doubled and was quite bubbly.
I added another
530g of flour or (2 2/3 cups)
290g of water or (1 1/3 cup)
1g of yeast or (1/2 teaspoon)
20g of salt. or (1 tablespoon)
Note: edited to add imperial measurements
This was a 750g batch of dough at 68%.
So the total amount of yeast in the whole thing was just 2g.
Just slightly more than 2/3rds of one teaspoon.
I use the autolyze, stretch and fold method.
Mix the flour, water and 1 g yeast
into the biga,
Autolyze for 20 to 30 minutes.
Add the salt,
incorporating into the dough using the pinch and fold technique.
Autolyze again for 20 to 30 minutes.
Do series of stretch and folds, (four to six) 20 to 30 minutes apart.
After the last stretch and fold, either leave it covered on the counter
until tripled or place in fridge over night (or a few days) for cold bulk fermentation.
When ready to use, take it out
a couple of hours in advance for the dough to
warm up before proceeding.
The dough went into the fridge and was left until Monday morning.
Left it on the counter for a little more than an hour,
just to take the chill off and then shaped into two long baguettes.
I almost screwed up.
The one baguette was 24inches long.
Getting it into the oven and on to a stone was a little problematic.
My transfer board was a few inches too short.
Thankfully I don’t have a shortage of wood around here
so I was able to get the baguette on to the stone
on the diagonal giving me just enough surface for 24″.
The second baguette was only 22″ so not a problem.
Really happy with the crust
Moe couldn’t resist having warm
NOTE: Edited to add – Sourdough version.
The Biga/Preferment can also be made with sourdough starter.
60g to 80g of starter
Mix together and leave to develop for 6 to 8 hours.
Should more than double in that time.
For a 70% Hydration dough
Autolyze – 20 to 30 minutes.
add 20g of salt
Autolyze – 20 to 30 minutes
Then stretch and fold at least four times
20 to 30 minutes apart.