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  • #761 by plusacht on 09 Oct 2021
  • I see now - the MasterBiga has a 60% hydrated recipe for a Pizza Classica.  It's probably a good recipe, I just haven't tried it yet.

    50 hours is much too long in balls for a 100% biga. The dough balls must be used ideally within 4-12 hours, 16 hours is the absolute max I would say. If you go too long, you will not see the puff you're expecting and all the sugars are gone leading to a pale crust.

    I have one more question on the 4-16 hours range. What if I deep freeze dough balls after preparation and at a certain time unfreeze them (put in fridge, slowly warming up). How does this impact the time?

    For example:
    1. Prepared dough balls - rest for 4 hours.
    2. Deep Freeze
    3. Unfreeze 10 hours at 4C and 2 hours outside fridge
    total time: 4+10+2 = 16 hours

    Am I overthinking this or do I need to calculate it like this?

    PS: I just baked a batch at 65% (18 hours in fridge) and the results are much much better compared to my earlier post. So yes, 60% is too low and 50 hours in fridge is far too long for a 100% BIGA. So you were spot on - thanks
  • #762 by DoouBall on 09 Oct 2021
  • Donít freeze dough balls - results will be unpredictable and generally not worth it IMO. Also if you could, please start a new thread and post your questions there from now on. Iíd like to keep this thread focused on general biga baking results and recipes. Iíll be happy to make comments and help you on your own thread. Thanks!
  • #763 by plusacht on 09 Oct 2021
  • Donít freeze dough balls - results will be unpredictable and generally not worth it IMO. Also if you could, please start a new thread and post your questions there from now on. Iíd like to keep this thread focused on general biga baking results and recipes. Iíll be happy to make comments and help you on your own thread. Thanks!

    Thanks and yes will do!
  • #764 by vodoman on 30 Oct 2021
  • Hi
    i have red the recipe and i like it very much but what i am concerning to know if i can make Biga without mixer since i don't have one
    and i only use sourdough for health matters instead of commercial yeast, so is it also ok the stick with the recipe without commercial yeast ?
    thanks
  • #765 by DoouBall on 31 Oct 2021
  • Hi
    i have red the recipe and i like it very much but what i am concerning to know if i can make Biga without mixer since i don't have one
    and i only use sourdough for health matters instead of commercial yeast, so is it also ok the stick with the recipe without commercial yeast ?
    thanks

    Yes, it's possible to make biga without a mixer and it's possible to make it using sourdough.
    However, it's quite hard to dissolve a preferment at 45-50% hydration by hand to make your final dough.

    I recommend that you use a sourdough sponge instead, which is like a biga but at 64% hydration. It's not quite the same as a biga, but it shares many of the characteristics. Make your sponge like this:

    28g mature liquid sourdough at 100% hydration
    67g water
    113g flour

    Mix until no dry flour remains.
    Let that double and you're then ready to make your dough.

    I recommend making your dough like this

    600g flour
    424g water
    90g sourdough sponge (35g water, 55g flour)
    18g salt
    18g oil

    Hydration = (424+35)/(600+55) = 459/655 = 70%

    This is a slightly modified version of Scottie Rivera's sourdough recipe he shared on Breville webinars. He usually uses a 100% hydration starter, but I find that the stiffer starter is less acidic and stronger. I've also toned down the total hydration to 70% for easier (but not easy) handling but to still be wet enough to allow a biga-like open structure.

    After the dough is ready, run your bulk at room temp for 3-4 hours with some folding and then stick it in the fridge overnight.
    6-7 hours before baking, take it out of the fridge, form your balls and wait until they double before baking. You may need to move them to a warm spot if they're not fermenting fast enough or stick then back in the fridge for a bit to slow them down if the reverse happens. Good luck!
     
  • #766 by vodoman on 31 Oct 2021
  • Thank you very much for reply
    surely, i will try this ASAP
    and i will post it
    but i guess total hydration is 67%

    Yes, it's possible to make biga without a mixer and it's possible to make it using sourdough.
    However, it's quite hard to dissolve a preferment at 45-50% hydration by hand to make your final dough.

    I recommend that you use a sourdough sponge instead, which is like a biga but at 64% hydration. It's not quite the same as a biga, but it shares many of the characteristics. Make your sponge like this:

    28g mature liquid sourdough at 100% hydration
    67g water
    113g flour

    Mix until no dry flour remains.
    Let that double and you're then ready to make your dough.

    I recommend making your dough like this

    600g flour
    387g water
    90g sourdough sponge
    18g salt
    18g oil

    This is a slightly modified version of Scottie Rivera's sourdough recipe he shared on Breville webinars. He usually uses a 100% hydration starter, but I find that the stiffer starter is less acidic and stronger. I've also toned down the total hydration to 70% for easier (but not easy) handling but to still be wet enough to allow a biga-like open structure.

    After the dough is ready, run your bulk at room temp for 3-4 hours with some folding and then stick it in the fridge overnight.
    6-7 hours before baking, take it out of the fridge, form your balls and wait until they double before baking. You may need to move them to a warm spot if they're not fermenting fast enough or stick then back in the fridge for a bit to slow them down if the reverse happens. Good luck!
  • #767 by DoouBall on 31 Oct 2021
  • Thank you very much for reply
    surely, i will try this ASAP
    and i will post it
    but i guess total hydration is 67%

    You're right, the hydration was not right - I've updated the numbers. It should be 70% total hydration now.
  • #768 by dragonspawn on 03 Nov 2021
  • In a lot of places I see recommendations to make the biga with very strong flour to be able to handle the long ferment. On the other hand the biga as a technique was created to strengthen weak italian flours before they got access to harder us and Canadian wheat. And even the italian master biga app says to use strong flour - what gives? And my personal observation shows that it indeed gives a lot of strength to the dough. So why use strong flour.
  • #769 by DoouBall on 03 Nov 2021
  • In a lot of places I see recommendations to make the biga with very strong flour to be able to handle the long ferment. On the other hand the biga as a technique was created to strengthen weak italian flours before they got access to harder us and Canadian wheat. And even the italian master biga app says to use strong flour - what gives? And my personal observation shows that it indeed gives a lot of strength to the dough. So why use strong flour.
    The modern biga was codified by Piergiorgio Giorilli and has set parameters including

    100% strong flour
    44-45% hydration
    1% fresh yeast

    16-18h at 18C

    MasterBiga is designed as an easy to use app that makes Giorilliís biga available for those without 18C - at room temperature and fridge or a combination.

    Both of these are the modern form of biga. Biga used in the past with weaker flours is possible too, but will not handle 18h fermentation. Itís often recommended to reduce the hours to 12-14 for weaker flours, but less flavor development will occur in this shorter time.

    Why use stronger flour? In additon to better flavor from a longer buga, if youíre trying to make a puffy canotto with 70-75% hydration, a stronger flour better helps support this.
  • #770 by Chippy95 on 07 Apr 2022
  • Hi everyone,

    Just spent the last few days skim reading through all 39 pages of this thread  :D

    So much great information. I'm very new to pizza making, I bought myself an Ooni Karu late last year. Tried making Roberto Susta's biga recipe as my very first attempt. Needless to say it ended up in the bin  :'( mainly because of my inexperience and also my mixer wasn't big enough for the volume of dough.

    I made a poolish using a Vito Icopelli recipe from YouTube the other week. It turned out okay, especially for a newbie. See photos attached. The 2nd pizza I left in the oven a bit too long. I just used the stone from my Ooni in the kitchen oven due to the weather outside. I have the Dallagiovanna La Napoletana Pizza flour at the moment. But I think I will get some Caputo Nuvola Super or some Pizzuti Vesuvio paired with a lower W rating one when I next make an order.

    I love the canotto style and would love to be able to emulate it. I know it's mostly personal preference, but the one I've seen and liked the most is from a guy called Vincenzo Abbate, the corniciones he manages to achieve are unbelievable. https://www.instagram.com/vincenzo_abbate83/

    I messaged him on Instagram and he said he could sell me his recipe with instructional videos for 250 euros. I think I'll see how I manage with the plethora of information here first!

    Let me know what you all think!

    Many thanks in advance.

    Matthew
  • #771 by DoouBall on 07 Apr 2022
  • Hi everyone,

    Just spent the last few days skim reading through all 39 pages of this thread  :D

    So much great information. I'm very new to pizza making, I bought myself an Ooni Karu late last year. Tried making Roberto Susta's biga recipe as my very first attempt. Needless to say it ended up in the bin  :'( mainly because of my inexperience and also my mixer wasn't big enough for the volume of dough.

    I made a poolish using a Vito Icopelli recipe from YouTube the other week. It turned out okay, especially for a newbie. See photos attached. The 2nd pizza I left in the oven a bit too long. I just used the stone from my Ooni in the kitchen oven due to the weather outside. I have the Dallagiovanna La Napoletana Pizza flour at the moment. But I think I will get some Caputo Nuvola Super or some Pizzuti Vesuvio paired with a lower W rating one when I next make an order.

    I love the canotto style and would love to be able to emulate it. I know it's mostly personal preference, but the one I've seen and liked the most is from a guy called Vincenzo Abbate, the corniciones he manages to achieve are unbelievable. https://www.instagram.com/vincenzo_abbate83/

    I messaged him on Instagram and he said he could sell me his recipe with instructional videos for 250 euros. I think I'll see how I manage with the plethora of information here first!

    Let me know what you all think!

    Many thanks in advance.

    Matthew

    Welcome to the thread, and this is a good start!

    If you are new to making Canotto pizza, my recommendation is to get yourself some Caputo Nuvola Super, and do a 65% hydration pizza dough with 30% biga, something like the first recipe in the thread works very well and is not too difficult to handle. You can also get the MasterBiga app and follow their Pizza Canotto recipe.

    For handling techniques, I would watch the videos of Vincenzo Capuano

    https://www.youtube.com/c/VincenzoCapuanoviveredipizza%C3%A8meraviglioso

    and watch the entire playlist from Marco Fuso with Arla Pro:

    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLlXOMSzNXTIsFDpBCi3qya11NIfIpsZOk

    This is a golden resource and will help you understand how to make dough with biga or with high hydration or both.

    I don't think you need to drop 250 quid to learn Canotto this early in the game. Try the resources in this thread first and if you find yourself progressing too slowly, you can take a class.
  • #772 by jcazalas on 26 Apr 2022
  • Good afternoon everyone!

    Been lurking here for a while and using the gold in this epic thread to improve our pizza game. Really wish Nuvola Super was commonly available here in the States...for the most part, it's been unavailable.

    Regardless, I've had good luck with other high W-rated flours and have pretty much stuck to the process described by the OP, which brings me to my question.

    Normally, if I want Pizza on Friday, I make the biga on Wednesday, refresh and bulk on Thursday in the refrigerator (for up to 24 hours), and on Friday, ball up, rise for 3 hours at RT, and enjoy pizza for dinner. With a lot of pizza, it's sometimes too hard to store the bulk dough (or even individual balls) at cold temp (fridge) for 24 hours. In lieu of this, I'd like to do the following:
    • make biga on Wednesday late night
    • refresh on Thursday and bulk rise for only ONE hour
    • still on Thursday, make balls and rise them, *slowly*, for up to 24 hours at room temperature.

    And it's that 3rd bullet that is hanging me up...the Biga app is great, but it assumes a CT bulk rise for 24 hours, make the balls, and then end with a two or three hours rise. I want to do the refresh, bulk for an hour, and then rise the individual balls, slowly, for 24 hours.

    Why? Two reasons:
    • storing that much bulk dough in the fridge can be challenging, and
    • I sometimes don't have the time to make balls the day of. So if they can be made the day before, with less yeast in the biga, then this would be ideal.

    The question: how much less yeast? Attached is a picture from the app, showing the amount of yeast, but this assumes a 24 CT rise, ball 'em up, and then a 2-3 hour rise till cooking. So with a 1-hour RT bulk rise and a 24-hour RT rise for the individual balls, how much less yeast is appropriate?
  • #773 by DoouBall on 26 Apr 2022
  • And it's that 3rd bullet that is hanging me up...the Biga app is great, but it assumes a CT bulk rise for 24 hours, make the balls, and then end with a two or three hours rise. I want to do the refresh, bulk for an hour, and then rise the individual balls, slowly, for 24 hours.

    So if you can't use the fridge to store your balls for 24 hours, and you can't make the balls same day, then my recommendation is don't use biga!

    Biga works by replicating yeast within the preferment and giving you a dough with a much greater push than you would get using the same amount of yeast in a direct dough. As a result, you are forced to either use the doughs within 2-6 hours at room temp (depending on the %biga in your dough and your ambient temp), or store them in the fridge up to 24 hours (ideally using 30% or less biga in your dough).

    If you need to keep dough balls for a long time at room temp without blowing out, avoid biga. You can eitehr go direct with IDY or sourdough. A sourdough based dough is able to survive for 24 hours at room temp while you slowly use the balls up. This guy keeps his dough for up to 3 days at room temp using a sourdough method: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6f08oI8xDPc&lc=Ugwh2lBRSu7Q7hX5Tmp4AaABAg.9a8d_HvNvkW9a9Vdqm9V8f&ab_channel=MassimoNocerinoPizzaMassimo
  • #774 by ButteredPizza on 14 May 2022
  • I'd like to give this a try, at the moment I'm half-way through reading this topic over the last week and half.  To keep things simple, I'd like to try the recipe on the first page, before going to sourdough versions.  I have good control of temperature.  Questions:
    1. If I wish to bake same-day as mixing the final dough, correct that:
    a) 6 hours ball time, at 70F/21C
    b) autolyse the additional flour/water before mixing in biga

    2. Is it possible to use other metrics to gauge fermentation?  I'm used to a spyglass/doughlette with sourdough, with a target to bake 60-100% rise.  Based on what I read in this topic thus far, the biga doesn't really rise, maybe one could measure the pH?  Then, once mixed, I wonder whether measuring rise of the final dough would be useful?  This is mostly to try and create a correlation in my head and better understand what's going on.

    3. What are target diameters for 250g and 280g dough ball? 

    I am somewhat impulsive and want to bake tomorrow, hence skipping the fridge.  The plan is to use whole farts' 0365 brand organic bread flour for the biga, which is non-malted, and the only strong flour I have access to at the moment - no clue on the W value, but, I know it can take a pretty high hydration from past experiments.  It's either this, or Anna Napoletana 00 flour (which is strong but becomes very stretchy/lax with no spring back and I think has a W of 270-280 if research is correct).  Final flour will be grocery store brand that's also unmalted, lower protein in 10% range.  I will consider purchasing the nuovolo super later, looks like fun; there's a specialty store in Los Angeles that sells it in small quantity, also central milling high gluten flour.
  • #775 by Pete_da_Bayer on 15 May 2022
  • I'd like to give this a try, at the moment I'm half-way through reading this topic over the last week and half.  To keep things simple, I'd like to try the recipe on the first page, before going to sourdough versions.  I have good control of temperature.  Questions:
    1. If I wish to bake same-day as mixing the final dough, correct that:
    a) 6 hours ball time, at 70F/21C
    b) autolyse the additional flour/water before mixing in biga

    2. Is it possible to use other metrics to gauge fermentation?  I'm used to a spyglass/doughlette with sourdough, with a target to bake 60-100% rise.  Based on what I read in this topic thus far, the biga doesn't really rise, maybe one could measure the pH?  Then, once mixed, I wonder whether measuring rise of the final dough would be useful?  This is mostly to try and create a correlation in my head and better understand what's going on.

    3. What are target diameters for 250g and 280g dough ball? 

    I am somewhat impulsive and want to bake tomorrow, hence skipping the fridge.  The plan is to use whole farts' 0365 brand organic bread flour for the biga, which is non-malted, and the only strong flour I have access to at the moment - no clue on the W value, but, I know it can take a pretty high hydration from past experiments.  It's either this, or Anna Napoletana 00 flour (which is strong but becomes very stretchy/lax with no spring back and I think has a W of 270-280 if research is correct).  Final flour will be grocery store brand that's also unmalted, lower protein in 10% range.  I will consider purchasing the nuovolo super later, looks like fun; there's a specialty store in Los Angeles that sells it in small quantity, also central milling high gluten flour.

    Hi there,

    I am trying to answer some of your questions. Hope it`s not too late for your first attempt.

    1
    a) Same day dough works great with biga. I would let it rest for 1-2 hours in bulk and 5-6 hours in balls; should do for a 33% Biga at the temperature mentioned.
    b) I have to admit, that i`ve never tried it before, so I donīt know, if autolyse of the remaining flour/water has any positive effects. It surely does no harm.

    2
    a) You could use this method starting with the main dough. It doesn`t make any sense to gauge the biga. Itīs more a thing of feel and smell.
    b) 240-250 for 30 cm diameter, 270-280 for 33 cm

    Malt comes into play with a higher percentage of biga, since the sugars tend to be eaten up. With 20-33% biga you shouldnīt have any problems with the unmalted flours, that youīve mentioned.

    Good luck!
    Peter





  • #776 by ButteredPizza on 15 May 2022
  • Thanks for the reply :)  First attempt was unsuccessful, because I decided to try using the masterbiga app and forgot to change from fresh to dry yeast, so had way too much yeast (I didn't realize until after several hours into the biga ferment, so I turned my proofing chamber temp down to try to compensate, but, with "feel and smell" method vs. something concrete, it's all a shot in the dark).  Pies baked up, anyway, and results were tasty but not what I was looking for.  I also tried half the dough foccacia style and it came out very chewy.

    I did try the autolyse, and after about 7 minutes the biga was incorporated in my mixer, however little clumps did remain throughout.  I am thinking these clumps are normal?  I don't see how they will integrate without manually smushing them into the dough, even with longer mixing time (dough became too warm and I did not want to overmix at this time).  We'll see next time I try this :)

    Next try will be Alex's official method in the first post to fridge the final dough.  Going to be a couple weeks before I get a chance to try, and hopefully I'll have correct >w300 flour by then.

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