50% Biga Bread
I originally tried this bread with the 90% biga version. I struggled with lumpy dough like others did and couldn't get them all out. Even with the lumps, my sister-in-law really liked the bread, and she asked for it again this week.
I decided to give it another go but approach it a little less extreme. The flours and hydration are the same as the original, but I reduced the biga to 50% of the flour and increased the biga hydration from 47% to 55%. In addition, this time instead of adding final dough water and starting to mix right away, I added the final dough water to the biga and let it soak for a 5-10 minutes to hydrate the flour a little more. Then, I gently worked it to start loosening it up. The Final Dough flour was added a bit at a time and worked into the loosened biga.
This method worked MUCH better. No clumps and a nice smooth dough formed after a few rounds of bowl kneading with 10 minute rests. My next attempt at this will be to keep the PFF at 50% but work the biga hydration back down towards 50%. My understanding is that there's a unique aroma and fermentation that occurs when the biga is sub 50%. But... that was from reading other threads and I may have misinterpreted the statement. Anyone with experience using low hydration bigas and if it's a noticeable difference from the 55% hydration version I used with this bread?
My sister-in-law hadn't arrived before I left for my work trip, so this loaf hasn't been sliced yet either. Will get some crumb shots when I get back home.
Biga after mixing
After Final Dough mix
After 4 sets of bowl kneading