The "BIGa" Mistake

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The moral of this story is, either: "Make sure you get an early night" or "Never despair...there are always surprises around the corner". 

I had intended to make ciabatta. So, the night before, I made the biga. 

I carefully weighed out a little water and mixed it with yeast. Then I added the flour and the water, covered it and left it overnight to activate and rise. 

However, at 5 a.m. I came downstairs and forgot to have a coffee. That always means I'm dozy, to say the least. Where on earth I got the idea from that I was making tangzhong, I really don't know. 

Anyway, I added the biga to a standard mix for tangzhong and then had a 'D'oh!' moment. 

So, what to do? Tip the whole dough into the bin and re-mix? 

No! You never know what might happen. 

Anyway, even in my somnolent state, I realised that this was not going to be a disaster. It was simply replacing a tangzhong starter with a biga and the rest of the ingredients were more or less the same for any loaf. 

Bread is all about magic and mystery. So I baked it. 

And it turned out wonderfully. It was soft, light and tasty. 

So,  what started out as a potential disaster, turned out into a successful recipe that I will be definitely using again. 

I'll explain what I did....

First I prepared the biga:

Preparing the biga

140 gms bread flour

80 gms tepid filtered water (or own-brand still water)

⅛ teaspoon active instant yeast

2 tablespoons warm water

Make the biga the night before you plan to bake

Mix together the yeast with the warm water. Allow it to stand for a few minutes

Stir the yeast mixture into a medium sized bowl. Add the flour and the water and stir until combined. 

Cover with cling-film or a shower cap and leave it at room temperature overnight. It can be left for up to 24 hours. 

Then I prepared the ingredients for the dough:

Preparing the dough

470 gms of strong white bread flour

259 mls water

1 tablespoon dried milk powder

1 oz unsalted butter

1 tablespoon demerara sugar

1 tsp salt

1 tsp active instant yeast

Then I added the dough ingredients to the biga in a large bowl and proceeded to mix and knead until I had a silky dough. 

I let it rise for an hour. Then, I knocked it back and shaped it for a large 10 inch round bread tin. 

I have to admit that I wasn't sure how much it would expand, so I gave it lots of room. 

After an hour, it had risen again. I dusted it with flour and baked it in a pre-heated oven at 180⁰C for 35 minutes. 

The I let it cool on a rack. 

It's lovely. 

and so soft inside....

Very happy baking.....eventually! 


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