A biga, or 'starter', adds flavor and extra leavening power to bread dough.

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Recipe Summary

prep:
20 mins
additional:
1 day
total:
1 day
Servings:
5
Yield:
5 cups
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Ingredients

5
Original recipe yields 5 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Place the warm water in a small bowl, and sprinkle the yeast over the top. Let stand until yeast has dissolved and is foamy, about 15 minutes.

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  • Measure flour into a large bowl. Make a well in the center, and pour in the yeast mixture and cold water. Use a sturdy spoon to mix it together until sticky and difficult to stir, but nevertheless thoroughly combined. Cover and allow to ferment for 24 hours in the refrigerator before using.

  • Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. To use, rinse a measuring cup in cool water, scoop out the amount of starter needed, and bring to room temperature.

Nutrition Facts

348 calories; protein 11.7g; carbohydrates 69.8g; fat 1.6g; sodium 4.7mg. Full Nutrition
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Reviews (7)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
12/28/2005
Biga or any other starter isn't something for the occasional baker. This recipe is simple and worked perfectly. I took it out of the refrigerator 6 hours prior to using it for ciabatta to get it to room temp and to increase the yeast activity. The ciabatta came out great! Read More
(66)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 3 stars
10/12/2005
I didn't have much success with this. There is only one recipe on this site that uses Biga (foccocia bread) and I didn't think it was very good. It was an interesting experience though and I am still interested in learning about bread starters but I don't think this is for beginners. I ended up with a lot of Biga left over after I tried the foccocia bread recipe so I modified the Amish friendship bread recipe (also from this site) the best that I could and used it for that. The Amish friendship bread was good and the fermented flavor of the biga in the bread was yummy but I think one needs to know a little about bread before trying this particular method. Read More
(35)
8 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 7
  • 4 star values: 0
  • 3 star values: 1
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 5 stars
12/28/2005
Biga or any other starter isn't something for the occasional baker. This recipe is simple and worked perfectly. I took it out of the refrigerator 6 hours prior to using it for ciabatta to get it to room temp and to increase the yeast activity. The ciabatta came out great! Read More
(66)
Rating: 5 stars
02/21/2005
This is the ONLY way to make bread - all breads! Read More
(38)
Rating: 3 stars
10/12/2005
I didn't have much success with this. There is only one recipe on this site that uses Biga (foccocia bread) and I didn't think it was very good. It was an interesting experience though and I am still interested in learning about bread starters but I don't think this is for beginners. I ended up with a lot of Biga left over after I tried the foccocia bread recipe so I modified the Amish friendship bread recipe (also from this site) the best that I could and used it for that. The Amish friendship bread was good and the fermented flavor of the biga in the bread was yummy but I think one needs to know a little about bread before trying this particular method. Read More
(35)
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Rating: 5 stars
01/20/2012
I like this formula. It makes beautiful strands. I have been keeping a batch in the fridge and when I'm ready to make French or Italian bread I put it in a big bowl and leave it on the counter top overnight. (or until room temp if you would rather.) I start to make my usual French or Italian recipe (for one loaf) adding all of this biga to it before adding flour. Proceed with your recipe adding only enough extra flour while kneading that it stops sticking to your hands. Finish as your own recipe directs forming two loaves instead of one. Read More
(11)
Rating: 5 stars
08/24/2011
I would like to point out, that biga means starter and there are quite a few recipes on this site that use starters. I had some really good success with my biga, but I was curious the consistency I should be looking for, mine is really thick batter, should I add more water or wait it out? Read More
(7)
Rating: 5 stars
04/16/2013
i am gonna make my starter now so i can have sourdough bread this wknd.. Read More
(4)
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Rating: 5 stars
03/21/2017
To use this you must understand hydration and calculate the changes needed in the original recipe. Read More
(2)
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