A biga is an Italian preferment that refers to any style of preferment that contains flour, water and yeast, or in this case, Motherdough.
It is more common for a biga to have less hydration than a poolish.
A biga takes longer to finish fermentation as compared to a poolish containing the same percentage of Motherdough. This is because yeast’s movement is impeded by lower hydrations, taking them longer to propagate and consume all the starches contained within the bread dough. This is why biga preferments will usually, but not always, contain more Motherdough than a wetter style of preferment like a poolish.
Our recipe is the typical formula of 60% hydration.
If your biga is proving to quickly or too slowly you can adjust the recipe by decreasing or increasing the amount of Motherdough, using less or more flour.
Use our Hydration Calculator to calculate the amount of water required to maintain 60% hydration for your biga.
- 200g Motherdough refreshed
- 200g White bread flour
- 133g water, filtered, 30 deg. C
- Blitz the Motherdough with the water in a liquidiser or using a stick blender, transfer to a mixing bowl.
- Add the flour to the Motherdough mixture. Bring together and knead lightly to a dough.
- Leave to rest at room temperature. Once a biga preferment is airy and full of life (and expanded by about double it’s original volume), it can then be incorporated into the final dough formulation by cutting into small pieces, mixed with the rest of the recipe’s liquid, and then incorporated into the remaining ingredients. This will ensure an even dispersion of yeast contained in the preferment, resulting in better bulk fermentation and proofing.
Now that we are entering summer you may need to ferment your biga at room temperature for only a few hours and then transfer to the fridge. The warmer weather causes an increase in enzyme activity which may interfere with the gluten structure of your dough and cause it to collapse or break apart.