The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Forkish- White Bread w/80% Biga

eddieh70301's picture

Forkish- White Bread w/80% Biga

I just received Ken Forkish's FWSY this past week. Started skimming through it and thought I would try this bread to pair with spaghetti. I only did 1/2 of the recipe as two loaves would be too much.

I followed the recipe except I used my KA mixer to incorporate all of the dough. The biga was made on Sat night at 6pm and sat in my oven until 815 this morning. I will say that the finished dough was very wet, more than I expected. I never worked with a 75% hydration dough and it was fairly easy to work. The recipe calls for two -three folds but I ended up doing 4 as the dough was still pretty wet after the 3rd fold. Probably could have done another one just to tighted it up a bit. I also do not have any proofing baskets to I had to improvise. Need to pick up a couple of round wicker baskets and use those in place of proofing baskets.

Granted I am still a newbie and I've made breads from Reinhart's book and AB in five and this one from Forkish was the best tasting and best looking yet. The crumb was great as was the color. The only fault is the bottom crust was too crispy as I had a little difficulty cutting through the bottom. Probably could have pulled it a bit sooner but overall I am very satisfied. This recipe is a definite do again.

Here's a couple of pictures. Go easy on me.


dabrownman's picture

I'll take the boldly baked bottom crust too!  So this bread wa 80% biga that sat out for 14 hours?   It sure worked!

Nice baking

eddieh70301's picture

Yes, 80% biga. Never had a crumb like that before. Wasn't sure how it would tover out as I've never used a Dutch over to bake before.

isand66's picture

Very nice open crumb and nice crust as well.  I bought his book on my Kindle but have not made anything from it yet.  Seems like a lot of people are having some success with his recipes.

Thanks for sharing.


AnnaInMD's picture

Congratulations on getting it that nice and raised. At 80% hydration, mine would definitely be a pancake.


eddieh70301's picture

I wish I had gotten more oven spring but for a first attempt, it wasn't that bad.

FlourChild's picture

You did a wonderful job on that loaf!  Working with the wetter doughs can be a challenge, but you managed a beautiful open crumb and lovely shape.

I also have loaves with a thicker, harder crust on the bottom.  What works for me (though I don't always manage it properly) is to catch the dutch oven at just the right amount of pre-heating.  I use cast iron, and it only needs 10" of preheating.  So I turn the oven on a full hour before I think I'll need it, but only put the cast iron DO base in the hot oven shortly before putting the loaf in.  

eddieh70301's picture

That's a good idea. I had my cast iron DO in the oven to preheat for the entire time, which took approx 30-45 minutes. Next time, I will put the DO in about 10-15 minutes before the dough goes in to try and see if that helps the bottom crust. It was so hard I had to cut it off. Even my pup wouldn't eat it. But she ate the rest of the bread.

mminasian's picture

I made this bread this weekend.  It actually came out pretty well all things considered.  It was my first forkish bread, and my first with this method.  The crust was delightful.  The dough however was incredible sticky.  I couldn't seem to get it to hold it's shape during folding.  I watched ken's youtube videos and my dough just never developed the requisite surface tension.  I ended up moving it to a smaller container (where it was touching the sides) to support it so it could get at least some gas.  Because it was essentially a blob, shaping was a non-starter.  I did my best to fold it up into a ball with generous flouring (although this ended up making a wierd ripple of flour through the middle where one of the fold had been).  Overall, I loved the texture, I loved the dutch oven technique, I have never gotten a crust like that before, I loved the biga flavor.  Anyone been able to sort this dough out?  The only thing I can think that went wrong is that I made a half batch, but still used the huge 12qt bucket he recommends...

Thanks in advance...

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imajkemp's picture

I tried it last night and it ended up as a giant dough puddle (which then ended up in the bin). I'm pretty sure mine collapsed because my biga wasn't fully matured. Still though, pretty depressing : (

Kiseger's picture

I love FWYS, such a great book, have had good results with it and the breads have a great flavour.  You got a great crumb there!  I use a cast iron DO as well, load the bread with a parchment sling and the bottoms have been fine.  I pre-heat mine with the oven, although I forgot once and it went in, with the dough, cold.....and everything came out fine.  I think someone on TfL did an experiment showing you get better oven spring if the DO is heated, but not sre if it makes a huge difference to pre-heat partially or for the full oven heating time.  Experiment and see what works for you!