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Offline live4u

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poolish vs biga
« on: April 07, 2020, 05:49:48 PM »
How is poolish different from Biga? Arent they same?

TIA

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: poolish vs biga
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2020, 06:08:12 PM »
How is poolish different from Biga? Arent they same?

TIA
live4u,

Often the term biga is used in a very general way for a generic commercially leavened preferment, but technically it tend to be more specific in its construction. You can get a better idea as to how a biga, and also a poolish, are put together from these two articles:

http://web.archive.org/web/20040814193817/cafemeetingplace.com/archives/food3_apr2004.htm, and 

http://web.archive.org/web/20050829015510/www.cafemeetingplace.com/archives/food4_dec2004.htm

You can also see definitions for a biga and poolish in the forum's Pizza Glossary at https://www.pizzamaking.com/glossary.html#index_b and at https://www.pizzamaking.com/glossary.html#index_p

On the forum, you are likely to find several variations on the construction of a biga but they are usually of a much lower hydration value than a poolish. You will also find examples of the many ways that bigas and poolish are used in actual practice on the forum in terms of how they are prepared and managed, including how they are prefermented before using (e.g., at room temperature and/or at a cold temperature) and the duration of the prefermentation.

Peter


Offline live4u

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Re: poolish vs biga
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2020, 10:57:56 PM »
Pete
Thanks for the info. This helps me a lot to understand the difference. Appreciate it.

Regards
sreraku

Offline Arnaud

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Re: poolish vs biga
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2021, 03:12:14 PM »
What is the difference to the end result of the pizza from using from biga and poolish?  In terms of air, taste etc?
Thanks, Arnaud

Offline 9slicePie

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Re: poolish vs biga
« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2021, 11:38:24 AM »
What is the difference to the end result of the pizza from using from biga and poolish?  In terms of air, taste etc?

Interested in answers, too.

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Offline Jackitup

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Re: poolish vs biga
« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2021, 07:41:45 PM »
I would say in short, improved depth of flavor and texture.
Jon

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Offline 9slicePie

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Re: poolish vs biga
« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2021, 11:09:37 AM »
I've been trying to find a post that I remember recently reading on this forum, but can't find it.

It was someone's opinion about using preferments such as poolish.  They said something to the effect of, "why use poolish/preferment? since it's basically adding an over-proofed dough to the final dough recipe?"

Can somebody chime in on this?


At the same time, many people ARE using poolish and raving about how it enhances texture/flavor/digestibility...

Offline Jackitup

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Re: poolish vs biga
« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2021, 12:43:46 PM »
I've been trying to find a post that I remember recently reading on this forum, but can't find it.

It was someone's opinion about using preferments such as poolish.  They said something to the effect of, "why use poolish/preferment? since it's basically adding an over-proofed dough to the final dough recipe?"

Can somebody chime in on this?


At the same time, many people ARE using poolish and raving about how it enhances texture/flavor/digestibility...

There has also been many posts and videos, programs showing how some bakeries and pizzerias save a hunk of the previous dough for the next, as it has some of "the mother" from generations before!
Jon

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Offline Rolls

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Re: poolish vs biga
« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2021, 12:51:41 PM »
I've been trying to find a post that I remember recently reading on this forum, but can't find it.

It was someone's opinion about using preferments such as poolish.  They said something to the effect of, "why use poolish/preferment? since it's basically adding an over-proofed dough to the final dough recipe?"

Can somebody chime in on this?


At the same time, many people ARE using poolish and raving about how it enhances texture/flavor/digestibility...

I wouldn't put too much stock into what They said.

Learning to use biga and poolish correctly will no doubt enhance your baking, which is not to say that you can't also get outstanding results using the "direct method" ie. no preferments.  It's easy enough to search for threads on these topics.  Douball's thread Pizza Canotto with Biga is as good a place to start as any.


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Offline HansB

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Re: poolish vs biga
« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2021, 01:34:09 PM »
Poolish is not over proofed dough.  Poolish adds flavor and extensibility.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2021, 02:45:17 PM by HansB »
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Offline tntpizzasd

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Re: poolish vs biga
« Reply #10 on: September 09, 2021, 12:51:30 AM »
My very limited understanding as it relates to structure is that a poolish will produce a dough with a more uniform crumb, while a biga lends itself you producing larger bubbles more sporadically.

Offline 9slicePie

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Re: poolish vs biga
« Reply #11 on: December 22, 2022, 01:13:39 PM »
Bumping this old thread.  Some questions (for NEAPOLITAN pizza dough):

1) It's possible to get a flavorful dough and airy cornicione with the direct method, right?  (without any prefrements).  If yes, can you please provide some tips?

2) Between poolish & biga, which is the overall "better" in your opinion?

3) I gather that biga is easier to make; is this correct?

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: poolish vs biga
« Reply #12 on: December 22, 2022, 02:01:04 PM »
Quote
Bumping this old thread.  Some questions (for NEAPOLITAN pizza dough):

1) It's possible to get a flavorful dough and airy cornicione with the direct method, right?  (without any prefrements).  If yes, can you please provide some tips?

Absolutely. I'd guess that the VAST majority - like 99% - of NP is made by the direct method.

2) Between poolish & biga, which is the overall "better" in your opinion?

There is no answer to this question. I'd guess it's a pretty even split between the members here who have tried both. I personally don't like working with biga just because of the stiffness, and I can't say that I've noticed a meaningful difference in flavor or aroma vs a similar quantity of an otherwise similar poolish.

3) I gather that biga is easier to make; is this correct?

I would say no. Poolish is simpler just given the higher hydration if nothing else.
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Offline 9slicePie

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Re: poolish vs biga
« Reply #13 on: December 22, 2022, 02:10:26 PM »
1) It's possible to get a flavorful dough and airy cornicione with the direct method, right?  (without any prefrements).  If yes, can you please provide some tips?

Absolutely. I'd guess that the VAST majority - like 99% - of NP is made by the direct method.

2) Between poolish & biga, which is the overall "better" in your opinion?

There is no answer to this question. I'd guess it's a pretty even split between the members here who have tried both. I personally don't like working with biga just because of the stiffness, and I can't say that I've noticed a meaningful difference in flavor or aroma vs a similar quantity of an otherwise similar poolish.

3) I gather that biga is easier to make; is this correct?

I would say no. Poolish is simpler just given the higher hydration if nothing else.

Thanks!  Always appreciate your experience-filled input.

I want to give poolish a try, but maybe I should first focus on "perfecting" (strong word, I know) the direct method.

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: poolish vs biga
« Reply #14 on: December 22, 2022, 02:13:57 PM »
The hardest part of poolish is figuring out the proof time needed. Requires testing and tweaking.

It's not something I do a lot. Worked on it in these two more than anything else I've done:

https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=10237.0
https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=33831.0
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Offline scott r

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Re: poolish vs biga
« Reply #15 on: December 22, 2022, 02:49:20 PM »
I use a polish daily, and a biga at least a few times a month.   I can say for sure that a poolish is easier to deal with than a biga on a number of levels. 

A poolish is a 50/50 blend of water/flour (100% hydration) so its very easy to incorporate into your final dough with zero issues.  A biga should be done closer to 45% hydration and can be difficult to incorporate into your finial dough.  Some end up with lumpy doughs and others mix too long to get the biga incorporated doing damage to the dough.

A poolish works great at just about any temp from fridge to a hot room temp where a biga really should be done at 65 degrees or close to that for best results.  Having said that..  65 degrees is a great temp to use for poolish as well.

I find it much easier to know when a poolish has fermented properly than a biga.  With biga it looks the same to me when it has slightly under or slightly over fermented.  In my world slightly over fermented preferments or doughs are not allowed! :)

With a poolish its best to use as soon as it has no longer domed, and you will start to see some cracks on the doughs surface after the doming has stopped.  For me its an easy visual to see each time. 

One negative I hear is that because a poolish is 50/50 water/flour, unless you are making a 100% hydration dough, you cant use as much of it in the dough as you can a biga where you can make a dough with 100% of the recipes flour from the biga.  This is not a problem for me, as I would never want to make a dough with that much preferment in it anyhow.  In fact, I actually prefer less preferment in my doughs than most people suggest to use and I still find quite a large flavor boost in doing so.

As far as which is better... they both bring quite a bit more flavor to the table but the flavors are different.  For this I won't even attempt to describe the two flavors in words, but as far as I cam concerned they are both just as good as each other.  If a large percentage is used and there is an abundance of flavor because of that, I will prefer the poolish which some call "sweeter" over a strong biga flavor which can get a bit funky for me (but its still really great in normal amounts).

Now, its in the texture department where the two differ quite a bit and this might be one reason why someone would strongly prefer one to the other.   A biga will make the dough very strong and capable of trapping quite a bit of air.  This translates to an airier fluffier dough with a higher rise, but the price here is that the dough can be chewier and not as tender.

With a poolish, instead of getting larger voids you get lots of smaller ones.  The doughs can be more tender than a biga dough, and also somewhat crispier.  As far as I am concerned the giant air holes are nice for instagram, but when im actually eating the pizza I really like what the poolish does to the texture of the finished crust in my mouth.  I don't know if you have ever compared the same flour in a bromated form vs the same flour without bromate, but the poolish sort of does the bromated thing as far as its effect on the texture.

Both of these are wonderful for pizza and if I don't have one of them or wild yeast I very much miss the added flavor.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2022, 02:54:43 PM by scott r »

Offline 9slicePie

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Re: poolish vs biga
« Reply #16 on: December 22, 2022, 03:56:05 PM »
I use a polish daily, and a biga at least a few times a month.   I can say for sure that a poolish is easier to deal with than a biga on a number of levels. 

A poolish is a 50/50 blend of water/flour (100% hydration) so its very easy to incorporate into your final dough with zero issues.  A biga should be done closer to 45% hydration and can be difficult to incorporate into your finial dough.  Some end up with lumpy doughs and others mix too long to get the biga incorporated doing damage to the dough.

A poolish works great at just about any temp from fridge to a hot room temp where a biga really should be done at 65 degrees or close to that for best results.  Having said that..  65 degrees is a great temp to use for poolish as well.

I find it much easier to know when a poolish has fermented properly than a biga.  With biga it looks the same to me when it has slightly under or slightly over fermented.  In my world slightly over fermented preferments or doughs are not allowed! :)

With a poolish its best to use as soon as it has no longer domed, and you will start to see some cracks on the doughs surface after the doming has stopped.  For me its an easy visual to see each time. 

One negative I hear is that because a poolish is 50/50 water/flour, unless you are making a 100% hydration dough, you cant use as much of it in the dough as you can a biga where you can make a dough with 100% of the recipes flour from the biga.  This is not a problem for me, as I would never want to make a dough with that much preferment in it anyhow.  In fact, I actually prefer less preferment in my doughs than most people suggest to use and I still find quite a large flavor boost in doing so.

As far as which is better... they both bring quite a bit more flavor to the table but the flavors are different.  For this I won't even attempt to describe the two flavors in words, but as far as I cam concerned they are both just as good as each other.  If a large percentage is used and there is an abundance of flavor because of that, I will prefer the poolish which some call "sweeter" over a strong biga flavor which can get a bit funky for me (but its still really great in normal amounts).

Now, its in the texture department where the two differ quite a bit and this might be one reason why someone would strongly prefer one to the other.   A biga will make the dough very strong and capable of trapping quite a bit of air.  This translates to an airier fluffier dough with a higher rise, but the price here is that the dough can be chewier and not as tender.

With a poolish, instead of getting larger voids you get lots of smaller ones.  The doughs can be more tender than a biga dough, and also somewhat crispier.  As far as I am concerned the giant air holes are nice for instagram, but when im actually eating the pizza I really like what the poolish does to the texture of the finished crust in my mouth.  I don't know if you have ever compared the same flour in a bromated form vs the same flour without bromate, but the poolish sort of does the bromated thing as far as its effect on the texture.

Both of these are wonderful for pizza and if I don't have one of them or wild yeast I very much miss the added flavor.

This post is amazing.  Thanks.

Can you please clarify what "100% poolish" is? or "50% poolish" means?

Offline scott r

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Re: poolish vs biga
« Reply #17 on: December 22, 2022, 08:06:59 PM »
100% poolish = all of the final doughs flour is in the poolish.   50% poolish = 50% of the final doughs flour is in the poolish.

Offline 9slicePie

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Re: poolish vs biga
« Reply #18 on: December 22, 2022, 11:32:40 PM »
100% poolish = all of the final doughs flour is in the poolish.   50% poolish = 50% of the final doughs flour is in the poolish.

So, in the 100% version, there’s no other flour?   How is it poolish then (since you’re not combining it with more flour later on)?  Isn’t that just THEEE pizza dough, then?

Maybe I’m misunderstanding something.

Offline scott r

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Re: poolish vs biga
« Reply #19 on: December 22, 2022, 11:40:59 PM »
I don't hear of it being done with poolish, but I have heard more than once that 100% biga is being made by a few Italian pizzaiolo now.  So with those pizzas there is only water and sometimes more yeast added in the final mix.  They will also tend to add diastatic malt to 100% biga doughs to make up for a lack of color in the bake which can happen with high preferment doughs.

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