The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

50% Biga Bread

HeiHei29er's picture

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


mwilson's picture

Looks great Troy!

The biga is a pre-ferment most underutilised and it's so refreshing to see it made well use of. Certainly, it is evident, to me at least, that the biga has done its job in providing lots of strength. Very strong and bold bloom there!

I'm glad you worked out a way to make mixing easier for you, the picture of the biga looks as it should.

It can be tricky to get the SD leavened version of the biga to work well, so well done on that front!

Nice bake!



HeiHei29er's picture

Thank you Michael.  Much appreciated!

You are exactly right.  The dough was strong right from the mix and stayed that way through bulk and shaping.  Based on how fast it went, I think I’ll have requests for this one again.  

Is there any real benefit to going drier with the biga? I see some that call for 45% hydration.  I think I could go lower than 55% with this mix method, but not sure if there’s benefit in it.

HeiHei29er's picture


Well, 24 hours later and not much of this one left when I got home.  Just enough to get a crumb photo.  😁

Abe's picture

This type of biga i've only done twice. More of a success the second time and it turned out very tasty. Looks delicious. 

HeiHei29er's picture

Thank you Abe.  Sadly, I haven’t even tried this one.  My wife and sister-in-law polished it off.  I think there might be enough left for some toast.  😁

This method worked much better than what I did with the 90% biga, but also higher hydration.  Need to make it again at lower hydration biga or higher PFF and see if it still works.

Benito's picture

Another hugely successful bake Troy.  i can’t comment on the biga hydration and flavour as I’ve never tried baking using a biga.  But it seems you have figured out how to get that dry biga well incorporated into your final dough.  


HeiHei29er's picture

Thanks Benny!  One successful attempt anyway.  😉