The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Biga bread recipes

richak's picture

Biga bread recipes

I just made a basic whole wheat bread using biga and have the following questions:


  • What proportion of the dough should the biga be?
  • Does the proportion differ if i am making a whole wheat bread?
  • Should you add yeast again when you mix the plain flour and biga

My biga from yesterday may have over ripened. The dough tripled in size in an hour, but was too sticky to handle. Could well be because of ehe Indian weatherwthough. i didd manage to shape it somehow but would prefer a slightly stiffer dough.


I just tried making a biga with the following proportion: 100% flour : 55 % water : 0.25% yeast but i had to add at least another 3 tbsp of water to even bring it together. And this is after i used a kitchen scale for the first time ever. 

Help please.

albacore's picture

A biga should be 45 - 55% hydration with 1% fresh yeast, or 0.33 - 0.4% IDY. If using IDY you should rehydrate the yeast with a small quantity of the water at 40C before adding - it will not hydrate properly if added dry to the flour at such low hydrations.

The biga flour is normally 50-90% of the total flour.

Bigas are Italian and, as I see it, Italian breads were historically mainly white (happy to be corrected!),so a biga is made with white flour. If you want to incorporate whole wheat flour, I would suggest a white biga made with strong flour (in the UK I would use Canadian 15% protein flour) and then in the main dough add an equal quantity of whole grain flour, with a final hydration of maybe 75%.

Note that a biga must be fermented at a low temperature: 14-15C, normally overnight.

Also, given the low hydration, mixing by hand will be difficult!

Baking maestro Abel created a great TFL topic on a 90% biga bread which is a must read (and do!)



richak's picture

Thank you, Lance. I see where and in how many ways I might have gone wrong. I made the biga in the evening when the temperature would have been about 20-25 degrees C. I used active dry yeast. It didnt bloom when i added some warm water to it, but when mixed in with the flour, the biga doubled in size in just an hour. I think i should just toss it away. It's likely over fermented already as it's already been 14 hours.

Thanks for the recommendation, i'll read it.