There are a variety of different recipes for this and I have tried several of them, but I always seem to come back to this one. It is very simple to make and only takes a few minutes to put together and should be made the day before you make your bread. You should also note that this is a very sticky dough.
What you need
- Active dry yeast...¼ tsp.
- Warm water...1 ¼ Cup
- Bread Flour...2 Cups (if you don't have bread flour, you can substitute with all-purpose...I've made it with both)
- Wooden spoon
- Large bowl (this puppy is going to rise from twice to three times its original size, so keep this in mind when choosing)
- Plastic wrap
- Bowl scraper (used if you move biga to a new bowl)
Putting it together
- In your bowl, add the water and the yeast
- Let stand until foamy (Great technical term there), about 5 minutes
- Add the flour and stir with your spoon for about 2 minutes
- You will notice that this is a very sticky dough. You will know you have the right consistency when the dough is stringy when it comes away from the sides
- Place plastic tightly over the bowl
- Most recipes call for you to add your biga to another well-oiled bowl. I, however, do not have a lot of bowls lying around, so I just use the same bowl I make it in
- Let sit on the counter for about 3 hours
- Transfer to the refrigerator
- Remove and let it come to room temperature before using
The photo at the top is of my first-ever biga. If you look closely, you can see how close it came to the top of the bowl.