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Conversion? Anyone? Anyone?

mekales's picture

Conversion? Anyone? Anyone?

Hello All!

Quick question. I need a measuring conversion for 13/16 cup of Biga.  I'm working on my first Biga tonight and want to bake tomorrow, but the recipe I have calls for 13/16c  Does this mean anything to anyone? I guesss I could just use a "little less than a cup", right? How vital is this measurment for adding Biga to the Pugilli recipe?  Thanks all, your help make me look like I'm a natural genius to family and friends when I turn out loaf after loaf of amazing bread! Thanks to you all!

KenK's picture

It's 3/4 cup plus one tablespoon; if that helps any.

Janknitz's picture

1.  Weigh an empty measuring cup (grams are easiest).

2.  If you have a scale that will do it, use the tare function to set the scale back to 0.

3.  Fill the cup with the biga.

4.  Divide the weight by 16 to get the weight of 1/16th.

5.  Remove an amount equal to the weight of 3/16ths from the measuring cup

The (baking) world would be SO much easier if everyone measured by weight.  If I was in charge . . .


Edith Pilaf's picture
Edith Pilaf

There are 16 tablespoons in a cup, so it's 13 tablespoons, or 3/4 cup (12 tablspoons) plus 1 as the Ken said.

asegal0000's picture

8 ounces in a cup

13/16 X 8= 6 1/2 ounces

Janknitz's picture

There are 8 ounces of WATER in a cup.  Biga is water plus flour and 1 cup will not weigh the same.  

But I think the people who have pointed out that there are 16 tbsp. in a cup by volume have the easiest solution.  I'd still fill the cup and remove 3 tbsp--seems like the easiest way.  

Elagins's picture

back in the day, the old-school bakers worked by feel, and even today, measures and proportions have to be approximate because of differences in flour humidity, ingredient density and other factors. probably an approximation of 3/4 cup would work as well as 13/16 cup.

Stan Ginsberg

Mary Fisher's picture
Mary Fisher

Well said, Stan!


sphealey's picture

13/16 is a very strange fraction.  I would wonder if that is 1 and 3/16th (approximately 1.25), although that is an odd number too.

The real problem is that biga can have any sort of density depending on how far it has ripened, so a volume measure doesn't tell you very much.  The good part about that though is it means the exact amount doesn't matter.


yozzause's picture

Perhaps if you give us the other measurements in the formula we might be able to make a better guess, 13/16 does seem a rather precise instruction.the amount of biga is only likely to affect the time the dough will take to mature where as something like salt needs to be much more precise because of its influence on the dough.

regards yozza


mekales's picture

You are all awesome! Between density, humidty, by weight and by volume, etc. I really was lost before everyones help!  As I mentioned, this is my first venture WITH BIGA, so I am hesitant and know that in the next couple weeks, it will be another of those "by feel" things and this won't be an issue...
(other then my first attempts when I'm standing in front of the oven sobbing, in a cold sweat as I'm panicing over the lack of rise on the final bake... you know, you've all been there.) for YOZZA: Pugliese Recipe:

1/4 c water
1 1/4 ts Yeast
13/16 c Biga
2 1/4 c water
1 tbls. Salt
1 tsp. Salt
7 1/2 c Flour

Okay, Yozza - how much Biga? And you reply with 13/16 c I'm sending you computer virus with your reply!!!  ;)

Thanks guys!

tananaBrian's picture

The recipe's kind of silly as someone else mentioned.  The biga CAN have any number of volumes depending on how much the yeast has risen it ...measuring biga by volume is what's silly here.  The biga should've been made with a measured amount of flour/water/yeast ahead of time, and then the whole glob used in the recipe additional measuring.  IF someone made one large batch of biga and was dividing it out into several other recipes, then it might make sense to WEIGH a portion of it for each recipe, but I cannot agree with the volume measurement of a dough that's been rising for awhile ...makes no sense.



mekales's picture

Hello Brian!

Here is the link to the recipe I am using for the Puglise:

I'm in the last 1/2 hour of my second rise and I can already tell I used too little (just short of one cup) of the Biga... I guess I'm just going to take the simple way out and try again tomorrow with a different combo of recipes.

Thanks for your input...I really appreciate it!

Mekales (Greek = Michael)

Pablo's picture

That link shows a recipe calling for 200g of biga when I access it. Am I missing something?

Independent of that, if your rise isn't rising, perhaps it's a time or temperature issue.

Good luck.


Eli's picture

Would it be 81.2 percent of the cup? Strange expression in a formula but not surprising.

divide the 13 by 16 = 812... if a cup holds 168 grams of biga you would use 136.5 grams of biga? Which would be close to one cup of the flour weight? Around 17 percent in keeping with a recipe between 15 and 25 percent of the total flour weight (given a cup of flour is 140 grams).

Sound near?


yozzause's picture

Well the consencus seems to be  close to 3/4 cup so give it a go at that  and see what it comes out like, measurement by weight are just so much easier to work out.

If you do have scales measure and then jot down  the weights as well as you go and it will be interesting to see what they are. There appears to be two measures of salt and two measures of water!

regards Yozza

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Thirteen is a prime number and therefore a 13/16 fraction is... well... stupid... and for cups, out of place.  My guess is that it was a recipe originally in oz that got changed to cups or a mistake in reading the cup was involved.  Look at a two cup measuring cup.  Tablespoons are seldom listed but oz are.   It makes more sense to see  13/16 as 13 of 16 oz or 13 to 16 oz, the c. being used to show where the measurment came from.

Considering the amount of flour and yeast,  my guess is between 13 oz  and 16 oz of biga!   If it is volume that would be a deflated biga squashed into a 2 cup measure cup and showing to be between 1 1/2 to 2 cups of biga.  That would give you a larger portion in the final dough.  And a chance for more flavor and a better rise.

And what is with the salt?  tbls or tsps?  for 7 c flour one tbs (tablespoon) is about right.



KenK's picture

I'm at a loss to understand why a prime number as numerator makes a fraction "stupid". 

rhomp2002's picture

You are right.  If it is stupid then 3/4 cup would be stupid or 2/3 cup would be stupid

Edith Pilaf's picture
Edith Pilaf

Aside from whether or not prime numbers are stupid, as Paul pointed out above, the recipe that the OP is using actually calls for 200g biga, which is about 7 oz, which is approximately 13/16th of a cup (by volume, anyway).  Just stick with 200g.  That's why the serious bakers on this board stress the importance of using a scale. 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

or 3/4 cup is not stupid  

12/16 can easily be reduced to 3/4 

5/8 or 7/8 of a cup can be awkward

but the measurement 13/16 c.  is stupid.   Therefore there must be another explaination. 


mekales's picture

The Puglise turned out fantastic! 

And just so everyone knows, I used 1 cup of Biga.

I revisted the link and I think the system automatically converted from Metric Weights to "American" Volume, thus the peculiar 13/16 c

You are all amazing in your efforts and conversation! It was as much fun just having your posts as it was to see the final loaves come out of the oven!

Thanks for everything!