The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Biga + Soaker

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midwest baker's picture
midwest baker

Biga + Soaker

Today I'm making Peter Reinhart's 100% whole wheat loaf. It has a biga and a soaker that I made last night. I'm curious why, technically speaking, do these need to be done separately? Why couldn't a person just mix all the ingredients of the biga and soaker in one big ball and let them sit overnight? It would sure simplify things. I'll post a picture of today's loaf when it's done. I'd appreciate opinions about this. Thanks!

amolitor's picture
amolitor

I think that the soaker will, overnight, become relatively rich in sugars as the various enzymes break down the starches in the grain(s). The biga, on the other hand, will cheerfully breed up a population of yeast (and possibly lactobacilli, if this is a sourdough).


Keeping them separate means that the yeasts won't simply eat up all the sugar as it's made. When you make up the dough, you'll be introducing the microbes to a food source. Hopefully, they'll madly rise your dough, and then leave enough of the sugar over to make a good crust, and whatever else it is that sugars do in bread.


 

midwest baker's picture
midwest baker

Thanks for your explanation. I think I may try it sometime just to see. Mary

Frequent Flyer's picture
Frequent Flyer

....this method the last two weekends on 75% Whole Wheat loaves and really like the method.  The last loaves walked the line on overproofing, but produced very large, airy, loaves with good flavor.

midwest baker's picture
midwest baker

Do you mean you made the biga and soaker as one? and it worked out well? That would be great.


I've also been having trouble with overproofing even in the air conditioning, since it's so dang hot out.


Mary


BTW  My loaf (100% ww with reinhart's method) looks great. Haven't cut it yet though...hope it tastes as good as it looks. I'll post pictures after dinner.

Frequent Flyer's picture
Frequent Flyer

...to the biga and soaker method (epoxy) as seperate entities.  However, Reinhart has recipes introduced in "Artisan Breads Every Day" that are his next generation after the epoxy method.  The dough is made, kneaded for about 6 minutes, with three stretch and folds over the next 40 minutes and then placed into the refrigerator for up to 4 days. 


I have tried both and right now favor the epoxy method. 

midwest baker's picture
midwest baker

I have that book and will try the 100% WW next. All I've made from that book is pizza dough and it's great! Thanks, Mary

midwest baker's picture
midwest baker

Frequent Flyer's picture
Frequent Flyer

Nice loaf.