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A Couple of Bigas - Baking & Pastry Project Week 19

Posted Feb 11 2010 8:01am

Making Bigas

A pre-ferment used in Italian bread making is called a biga. It is a mixture of flour, yeast and water that is allowed to sit and ferment for 12 to 24 hours. There is less water in a biga pre-ferment as compared to the French poolish, which has been used some of the previous B & P Project recipes.

The poolish will look like a slurry when put together, whereas the biga will look a big like bread dough that's  just a bit too firm.  When you look at your biga, you're brain will tell you it needs more water, however it is the right texture.  An example of a biga pre-ferment bread that is commonly found in most bakeries is the ciabatta (coming next week).

A biga gives bread a more complex flavor, almost nutty in taste.  It's aroma is richer, yet not quite like sourdough. Overall, your bread develops in more in aroma, flavor and texture when using a biga.

What Am I Baking?

Almond & White Bean Lean Bread made with a biga (egg free & dairy free)

Cracked Rice & Potato Bread made with a biga (egg free & dairy free)

Shopping List

Brown Rice Flour (Fine or Superfine Grind)
Sweet Rice Flour (also called glutinous rice flour)
Arrowroot Starch
Almond Meal
High Protein Flours, such as: Soybean, White Bean, Black Bean
Whole Grain Flour, such as: Buckwheat, Millet, Sorghum, Quinoa, Teff
Instant Dry Yeast
Binding Agents, such as: Xanthan or Guar Gum, Chia Seed Meal, Agar Agar Powder
Olive Oil

Fresh Galic
Cracked Black Pepper
Assorted Brown Rices


Flours & Binding Agents: Authentic Foods , Barry Farm , Bob's Red Mill
Instant Dry Yeast: Barry Farm
Agave Syrup: Wild Organics , Native Seeds


Cookie Sheet
Coffee Grinder or Food Mill

What's Going On?

I was a very lucky woman and received a copy of the Culinary Institute of America's Baking & Pastry book along with their culinary dvd's from my family for my birthday and our anniversary. After watching all the DVDs, I decided to work my way through the CIA's Baking and Pastry book - of course making it gluten free. There were so many skills that I wanted to develop and work on. I hope you will be interested in sharing my journey with me.

Want more?

You can follow me on Twitter and on Flickr .

Other Baking & Pastry Project Posts

Index of the Baking & Pastry Project

Baking & Pastry Project #34 - Almond Buckwheat Batard with Poolish
Baking & Pastry Project #33 - Stollen
Baking & Pastry Project Week 17 - Sponge & A Poolish
Baking & Pastry Project #32 - Gugelhopf Crown
Baking & Pastry Project #31 - Panettone
Baking & Pastry Project Week 16 - Holiday Breads

Want More?

You can also follow me on Twitter, where I'm glutenagogo .
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