Bread Making Invite 4 All - Join a Collaborative Bread Thread
An invitation to all to participate in a thread that focuses on making bread that uses pre-fermented dough as part of the final recipe. I thought it would be fun to have an on-going discussion of this technique - experiments, tips, opinions, failures, successes - oh yeah - recipes too. Even if you've never made bread in your life, keep reading...making bread is easy, flexible for busy schedules and lots of fun.
I'm hoping to start a long thread with posts of all kinds - not just recipes but comments, evaluations, musings, etc - all on the theme of making bread with a pre-ferment. (Kinda like a collective blog.) The ingredients couldn't be cheaper and no fancy equipment is needed. We all can afford to experiment and share our results - failures and successes. I've seen some threads on forums.egullet.org
like the one I'd like to start here where members all make the same thing and post about it. The thread stays active for months and is fun and instructive to read.
To level the initial playing field, I was hoping we could all use the same recipe for the pre-ferment. I've been using Carol Field's biga recipe in The Italian Baker
. I posted an link to her recipe plus a few comments on her biga in this DiscussCooking thread Better Bread with Biga
but I've moved the link
and added some more notes so get an updated copy in one of two formats. (You'll need Acrobat Reader for the first link - most of you probably have this. If you don't, just use the browser format link.)
Biga Recipe: Adobe Acrobat Reader format
Biga Recipe: Browser format
The browser format is simply a giant image. When it first displays in the browser the print's so tiny you can't read it but simply move your cursor anywhere over the text and, if you use Internet Explorer you'll see this
- just click on that icon on the lower right corner to enlarge.
I've been using her biga in several kinds of bread but here are some additional comments on the biga itself...
This makes a very wet (aka slack) dough. It takes about 5-10 minutes to make but at least 8 hrs to rise. Let it rise at room temperature (low 70'sF) or preferrably even cooler (in the 60'sF). At any rate, it must triple in bulk
and when done will have bubbles on the surface like this
I usually make mine in the evening, let it rise overnight and then slap it in the frig in the morning. The author says the biga can be held a few days in the frig but I like to freeze mine so, when its cool, I package it in portions, label and freeze. Here's a few tips for freezing (and measuring)...
If you have a scale, use it, but if you don't you're in luck b/c X amount of this biga by volume pretty much equals the same amount by weight. I suggest making 8oz, 6oz or 4oz packages. If you lightly oil your measuring container the biga will plop out easily and it helps to lightly oil your hands too so the biga doesn't stick to you. Plop a measured portion in the middle of some plastic wrap, fold the edges over and then smoosh it into a flatish rectangle. Label it (I put the amount, date and whether I used AP or bread flour on the label) and then wrap again. The recipe for the larger amount yeilds about 30oz so you'll have enough for several bakings.
So, gals and guys, make that biga and get ready to rock 'n roll
I've been experimenting with white bread using this biga and in about 2 weeks I'll post the saga (and the recipe). But I'm hoping this thread will have picked up some interested members before then!