The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Taking the Biga out

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rossmac's picture
rossmac

Taking the Biga out

Hi all,


This is my first post here, so Hello!


I've just recently borrowed the Peter Reinhart book on Whole Wheat bread baking from the library and am starting to play with the base recipe. My first try didn't work out the greatest- not much rise in it, but I'm trying again and will keep at it!


My question is in regards to taking the Biga out of the fridge 2 hours before mixing together the final dough. In the recipe I make the Big & Soaker on day one then the rest on day two. My problem is that I need to start on the dough making first thing in the morning which means I either need to a) take the biga out of the fridge before I go to bed at night or b) just take it out in the morning and mix it through cold.


Given that it's pretty cold overnight at this time of year here I'm thinking option a might be best, but what do other people thing?


I know I might not get a reply before tonight, but even so it's worth asking, and will be interesting to see people's thoughts anyway. I'll let you know how it goes whichever way I choose to do it!


Regards,


Ross

flournwater's picture
flournwater

My copy of PR's Whole Wheat Bread recipe specifies a poolish rather than a biga so I may not be looking at the same information. 


You can try working (stirring) your poolish after you take it out of the fridge to warm it up quicker.  Peter is, I believe, looking for a period of slow fermentation with the overnight rest.  My version of the recipe says to allow the poolish to rest at room temp. for one hour.  That's apparently a bit different than the instructions you have.


Frankly, I think you might get away with using the poolish straight out of the fridge because the action of the paddle on the stand mixer will warm it up somewhat too.


I'm something of a gambler and I'm not very good at following rules.  Ordinarily, I'd follow the rules closely for the first attempt at a recipe but then I'd probably violate one rule at a time to see why the rule was important in the first place.  It's one of the ways I learn.  My mother always wondered how I survived childhood.


 

rossmac's picture
rossmac

The recipe I'm following is the 'Master Formula' starting on Page79. I'm assuming that it's the same book we're looking at! I'm not using a wild yeast starter, but jst using the Biga version, so perhaps that's where the difference is. Unless Biga and Poolish are interchangeable terms? Where in the book is poolish mentioned, it sounds interesting!


Anyway, thanks for the info- I think I'l try leaving it in the fridge overnight and just heating it up via stirring it as you suggest... unless anyone comes along with any other thoughts to the contrary just to confuse things :-)


 


Regards,
Ross

flournwater's picture
flournwater

Clearly, we're working form different books (both by PR) with similar but not necessarily the same recipe.  You're working (I think) from Peter Reinhart book on Whole Grain Breads and I'm looking at what he says about the recipe with the same label in The Bread Bakers Apprentice.   But I think they're close enough to make a judgement on the intent of the techniques outlined for PR's Whole Grain Bread.


My definition of a poolish is a biga with a higher level of hydration, less yeast, and without salt.  I like to use it in place of a biga when I'm looking for a more open crumb.  Whereas biga produces a firmer dough that shapes easily, poolish produces a slack dough that defies shaping almost entirely without a vessel to support it.

charbono's picture
charbono

Evidently, Ross is referring to the technique in Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Bread. 


If you leave a whole grain preferment at room temp for a long time, I would recommend less yeast and a little salt.