February 11, 2010

A Couple of Bigas - Baking & Pastry Project Week 19

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.


Mel's Kitchen said...

Ah-- you've inspired me again! I haven't cooked with a poolish or preferment since last winter! I've always wanted to try to crack my own rice...

I wish my family and I could tolerate soy a/o bean flours, as they ARE so much higher in protein and are healthy choices in our high carb world.

I love your shopping list; and especially love your "fresh galic"! If it's a typo please don't change it! Both my parents grew up in Boston area; it sounds so much tastier spelled that way! Who knew? And I'm half Irish, so Galic/Gaelic is always fine by me! ;)

I hope I'm not too forward or presumptuous in my comments nor that you mind me cheering you on!

Your blog is very exciting to me! You Go Girl! :D

Julia @Mélanger said...

Natalie, wow, love your bread adventure. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing what you produce. I didn't realise that biga included less liquid. Looking forward to learning some more about bread - on my agenda soon!

Natalie, aka "Sheltie Girl" said...

Hi Mel - I'm sorry your family can't tolerate the bean flours. They are wonderful to bake with and are very nutritious. If you can tolerate nut or seed meals you can add those to your breads for that extra nutritional punch.

I'm glad you like my "galic" typo. I can just hear it said in a Boston accent too.

I'm delighted you stopped by and commented on the project. I really enjoyed reading your latest post on stove top bread. Your potjie is pretty cool too.

Thanks for visiting!


Natalie, aka "Sheltie Girl" said...

Julia - Thank you for wonderful comment. I can't wait to see your bread projects when you get there on your monthly program. I can't wait to try out your pistachio nougat.

Thanks for saying "hi!"