The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Abels 90 % Biga as Boule

rudirednose's picture

Abels 90 % Biga as Boule

What a Bread!

I could not resist!

And here is mine :

 The loaf shaped as boule.

 The crackling crust.

 The crumb.

 Crumb detail.


 I scaled down the formula to 500 g total flour as allways at the first attempt to a new recipe.

Hydration of the Biga 44.4 %, overall 75 %

I used fresh yeast.

To minimize the problem around the incorporation of the biga into the final dough I cut the biga into little parts and made an "integrated" autolyse (so called by me) for 30 mn with all of the biga, the stoneground flour, and the water. Fore this reason I reduced the final fermentation time to 30 mn. Final doughweight 874 grms.

Baked with 5 mn steam, 10 mn steam+convection (interval 30 % to 70 % in 20 sec.) up to 240°C, steam out and convection for 10 mn 230°C, 10 mn 200°C, 15 mn 170°C.

Great recipe, Thx Abel! And great article to all around the biga! I learned a lot!

And great discussion! Thx all!



clazar123's picture

I made this yesterday. I must say that my porch (where the biga stayed at 60F for 15 hours) smelled WONDERFUL.

 I also did a 50% reduction of the recipe. I added a tablespoon of olive oil and my whole grain was a coarsely milled and more like cream of wheat cereal. Normally I would have autolyzed it but I just followed the general directions the first time.

I am curious how your final dough felt. Mine felt like a high hydration and very sticky dough-very similar to a ciabatta. I have done high hydration dough before but I didn't expect this one to feel that way. It has been very humid here so perhaps my flour required less water. I used Gold Medal Unbleached bread flour. Mixing was not a challenge-I threw it all in the mixer, mixed for 5 minutes, let it sit for 10 minutes to hydrate everything and mixed again. The gluten development, right from the start, was immediately apparent.

 Also my first bulk fermentation at 1 hour was not developed enough. I had half expected this as my starter was a little neglected. In anticipation, I added 2 g IDY along with the starter at the beginning-I added both to the initial warm water to dissolve.  1 hour after mixing the biga and final dough, I did 3 S&F at 30 minute intervals and that did the trick. It still was difficult to shape-almost like a ciabatta. Final proof was about 45 minutes. Unfortunately, my oven only does 375F with brief wild swings between 300F to 450f. It is a challenge to bake in. I did add steam for  first 10 minutes.

Crumb shot shows perhaps a touch underproofed. I expected a bit more flavor but it was actually a bland tasting bread, esp. after the lovely scent of the biga. The crumb was typical of bread made with high protein flour and I may try AP flour next time, as a personal preference.

So "Thanks!" to Abelbreadgallery for this concept bread. I will use a biga again. It was a remarkably easy bread with a mixer. Somehow I need to incorporate an autolyze for a higher percentage WW flour.That is where my heart really is with bread. Any ideas?



rudirednose's picture

Hello clazar, thx for your comment!

To your questions:


My overall formula:

Bread flour - 440 g - 88 %

VWG - 10 g - 2 %

Stoneground flour - 50 g - 10 %

Water - 375 g - 75 %

Fresh yeast - 3 g - 0.9 %

Seasalt - 10 g - 2 %


I made my biga with

bread flour 440 g, VWG 10 g, 200 g cold water, and 3 g fresh yeast.

To the bread flour: from a local mill but I dont know what content of proteine. Normaly 11.8 but is this the content of gluten or total proteine?  Gluten is 80 % of the total proteine! So I added the VWG to come to what Abel said: strong flour (12.5 to 14 proteine).

First mixed dry flour with VWG, then water with fresh yeast and then put the dry into the wet. Mixed 1 minute. My biga was exactly as shown in Abels picture. In the bowl I lightly presst the no-dough to a hemisphere to control whether or not the biga stays at the same volume! Let rest for 17 h at 12-13°C. After the fermenting-time there was no change in volume but a few impressive gas-bubbles between the 'lumps'! For me a sign that there was enough gluten left after this long time. ;-)

Now I put together in the bowl the biga, cut into little pieces, the 50 g stoneground flour, and 150 g of warm water. I tried to mix them but no success! So I decieded to do the 'integrated" autolyse for 30 minutes.

After this time I added 10 g seasalt, another 10 g water and tried to knead and it worked! Slowly but better and better the dough came together and became soft and smooth. I added another 15 g of water and after a few minutes of kneading the dough was perfect! 1 h bulk with s&f at the beginning, and at 30 minutes. All the rest like above!

I hope, this answers your question!

Best greetings!