Joe Jenne

White Bread using Biga

Mix the biga at 6pm, the dough at 8am, shape at 11am and bake at noon.

Biga

Dough

  1. Mix the biga well with pincer hands and cover overnight. It will triple 12-14 hours later and still be bubbling slightly and smell ripe.
  2. Mix the dry dough ingredients in a 12qt tub, mix in the water then add all the biga.
  3. Mix with one wet hand, alternating pincering with folding once incorporated. Fold the dough (see tips) three times in the first hour and a half.
  4. After 2.5-3.5 hours (depending on warmth) when tripled in size shape into a medium-tight ball with floured hands and drop seam down into a floured proofing basket. After one hour of proofing, test with a finger (see tips).
  5. Preheat the oven to 245C, with the dutch oven inside, 45 minutes before baking. Drop in the dough, score and bake while covered for 30 minutes. Then uncover for a further 20 minutes.
  6. Cool on a rack for at least half an hour before slicing.
tips
  • To perform a "fold" reach under the dough with a moistened hand and pull a quarter of it out and up until you feel resistance, then fold it over to the other side of the dough. Repeat this four times working around the dough and then invert the dough so it is seam-side down.
  • When proof-testing, push a finger 1/2 an inch in. It should not spring back immediately, it should not stay as it is. It should spring slowly and incompletely.
  • Switch scoring for baking seam side up for an organic look.
  • Check 5 minutes before finishing baking as it may be ready early.
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white flour             100%
water                    75%
salt                      2%
dried yeast            0.26%
biga                   **80%
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**: The biga percentage shows the fraction of flour in it out of the total flour - its contents are included in the percentages above.