Bread Started with a Biga

For years I started almost all of my
baguettes, batards, etc. with a yeast based biga.
If I wanted to bake the next day I would
start the Biga the night before.
Takes all of a minute or two to prepare.
 220g of flour
220g of water
1/2 teaspoon of yeast
(1g approx.)

If you don’t have a scale just mix together
1 1/2 cups of flour
1 cup of water
1/2 teaspoon yeast.
Mix together, cover and leave on counter overnight.
In the morning it will look something like this.
Active with lots of bubbles.
And it will have more than doubled.
It was ready to go into a batch of bread dough.

So yesterday morning I added the
biga to:

1000g of flour
700g of water (70% hydration)
3g of yeast (Note: I sometimes use just 1 or 2 grams)
27g of salt
(Note: I often make the dough at night with the biga and
leave out any additional yeast for a slow overnight rise)

“For those that do not have a scale,
you can use the following as a guideline.
The following is based on the high protein
bread flour that I use.

Weighing by grams is more accurate
because there is variation in the weight of flour,
so this is approximately what you will
need for a batch of dough at 70% to 75% Hydration.

6 1/2 cups flour
3 1/2 cups of water
1 1/4 teaspoons yeast

4 teaspoons salt”

Hand mixed using the autolyze,
stretch and fold method.
I don’t count the stretch and folds, I just
do it until the dough feels right, but it is
usually at least six times over a 3 hour period.
Since I was baking same day, when
the stretch and folds were completed, I just
covered the dough and left it out on the counter to rise.
If I had planned to bake over the next two or three days
I would have put the dough into the fridge for
a longer cold fermentation.
The dough needs to be taken out of the fridge
about 3 hours prior to shaping so that it has
time to warm up and start rising again.
Last night’s bake was six Batards, shorter fatter loaves,
 rather than baguettes.
And one round.
(One loaf was still in the oven when picture was taken).
Sliced the round this morning.
Crumb Shot.
Made Moe a Grilled Bacon and Cheese Sandwich from
the round.

NOTE:  Edited to add – Sourdough version.

The Biga/Preferment can also be made with sourdough starter.

60g to 80g of starter
220g flour
220g water

Mix together and leave to develop for 6 to 8 hours.
Should more than double in that time.

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