Advice Desired From Baker's That Regularly Use Biga Pre-Ferments
It has been at least 2-3 years since I last made and used a biga pre-ferment in a loaf of bread..
On Saturday, 03-14-09, I made a double batch of biga pre-ferment more or less following the recipe in the BBA..It finished proofing at 80F room temperature, and went into the refrigerator to retard at 12 noon on Saturday..For reasons that do not really matter to this query, I failed to either use the biga, or to freeze it, until today, Wednesday, 03-18-09..When I peeled back the triple layer of plastic wrap covering the S.S. bowl an hour ago, the biga had a firm smooth texture on top, with a nice, even, open, holely structure from the fermentation on the underside..There is a distinct, but moderate, alcoholic smell to the biga..The plastic wrap never became other than very slightly domed during this 4-day retard..
My question to regular biga users is this, "Do you think this biga will be OK to use in bread making"??..I know that book, after book on artisan baking says that bigas will last for up to three days in the refrigerator..Does any member have personal experience that contradicts this printed wisdom??..As I type this at 12.30 PM EST here in Maryland, the biga is sitting, covered with plastic wrap, and chopped into small pieces, on the oiled, wooden butcher block top of my kitchen cart to bring it back to room temperature..Hopefully, the biga will show some signs of life as it warms up, and I will be able to incorporate it into a batch of white sandwich bread..
The recipe for the double batch of biga that I made on Saturday follows:
Bruce's Biga--(double batch)
2 oz. (56.75g) organic whole rye flour - Lindley Mills
2 oz. (56.75g) organic whole spelt flour - Lindley Mills
20 oz. (567.5g) bread flour - Gold Medal
14.25 oz. (404.35g) water, 100F
0.11 oz. (3.12g) (1 teaspoon) instant yeast - SAF Gold
Total weight for this double batch of biga was 38.36 oz..After 96 hours of refrigeration the biga weighed in at 37.10 oz., for a moisture loss of 1.26 oz..
Thanks for any advice, and personal experience re. bigas that you might care to share on this thread..