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heliman 01-29-2010 02:30 AM

Pizza Dough with Biga
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I found this biga based dough recipe quite good so though that I would share it with others for their comment. I am making the biga tonight for use with pizza dough tomorrow. The resulting pizza dough had a subtle sweetness to it which I found quite pleasant. I would be interested in getting feedback on this or any other biga based recipes for pizza making.


I created the biga component using BBA methodology (P107) and upscaled the percentage to my required dough size.

njsicilian 05-30-2010 12:30 PM

Re: Pizza with Biga
how many pies does the 5qt recipe make and would you do it again?

heliman 05-30-2010 03:33 PM

Re: Pizza with Biga
Latest variation and current recipe.

Flour 99.9 - 100.0%
Yeast 0.1 - 0.1%
Water 60.0 - 60.0%

Main batch
Flour 391.4 - 100.0%
Water 234.9 - 60.0%
Salt 10.8 - 2.8%
Starter 156.6 - 40.0%
Olive Oil 16.4 - 4.2%

Makes 810 grams.

texassourdough 05-31-2010 05:43 AM

Re: Pizza with Biga
Hi Rossco!

Are you using AP or bread flour? If it is the subtle sweetness you are like, you might want to run an experiment and treat the biga as a soaker - simply mis the flour with water and let sit overnight. That way the enzymes will make sugar but there won't be much going on to consume the sugar until you introduce the yeast. It would make an interesting head to head comparison.

heliman 05-31-2010 05:27 PM

Re: Pizza with Biga
Hello Jay ....

Back at work yesterday so brain is not working too well....

I am using "Superb" Baker's Flour - a high gluten flour used by a number of the local pizzerias here.

Sounds like an excellent experiment - will give it a go. Not familiar with that process though - sounds interesting.

On another matter - I am sifting through pics and stuff of the holiday and hope to be able to provide a summary of the pizza experience during Italian tour. There was so much to consider and it has really altered my thinking considerably. Most notable was the da Michele pizza texture - completely different to what I expected. I am wondering now if that is the "benchmark" to aim for or if I should continue making them as I like them and experiment accordingly....

PS: Just heard that I am on track to be "doctored" this Friday!

texassourdough 05-31-2010 06:50 PM

Re: Pizza with Biga
Hi Rossco!

Hang in there! Having only become Dr. Jay in February I am well familiar with the feeling... Baking will be a good way of using your time in the interim...

Soakers are used a lot in whole grain bread additives to prepare the grains (cracked wheat, oatmeal, whatever) so it won't absorb water from the dough during proofing. Reinhart uses soakers a lot in his whole gran bread book but goes beyond the additives, sometimes doing flour as well. It seems to be a neat trick to build flavor and supercharge the yeast. The bacteria will do a little overnight but the enzymes will create a fair amount of sugar which can accelerate the yeast the next day. And in my experience the bread often shows just a small touch of sweetness from having a bit more sugar in the final bread (that may be hallucination - look forward to your thought!) All you need to do is take your preferment flour/biga and not add the yeast. If you do it both ways simultaneously, the soaker based dough should need a little more room temp time (probably an hour or so) to catch up with the biga based dough. (Assuming both get retarded in the fridge for a while before being pulled to warm up and relax before baking.)

The reason I asked about the flour is your hydration is pretty low. You compensate by adding olive oil. Nothing wrong with that, I like oil in BF pizza dough also for it softens the potential toughness of BF dough.

Look forward to hearing of success on Friday!

BackyardPermaculture 05-31-2010 07:58 PM

Re: Pizza with Biga
Someone just lent me a stack of bread books, including all the Reinhart ones, so I'm looking forward to trying a few of these pizza dough techniques.

texassourdough 06-01-2010 06:33 AM

Re: Pizza with Biga
Peter doesn't use a soaker, or as I recall a biga, in any of his pizza dough recipes. He just does the retard. There will be nothing wrong with doing a soaker, however. Peter's normal pizza dough timeline is 8 to 24 hours with (basically) a refrigerator retard beginning 0 to 30 minutes after completing the mixing or balling of the dough (depending on the specific dough). IF you want to try the soaker approach you would want to begin that 6 to 12 hours before the mixing stage in order to provide enough time for the ezymes to do their thing and impact flavor. If you go much longer you will tend to lose dough strength.

The flour soak can be used on most any recipe. (Assuming a conventional one step mixed bread) Just subtract the water and flour in the soaker from the recipe amounts and mix it all up the next day. For bread you probably don't want to use more than about 50% soaker (i.e. half the flour in the soaker and half added dry in the mixing step) because of the loss of strength. For pizza dough that shouldn't be as critical. One could try mixing the water and flour early and only adding the salt and yeast at the mixing point. (I haven't tried that but it shouldn't cause any problems for pizza though the dough may be a bit sticky.)

Good luck!

heliman 06-04-2010 03:03 PM

Re: Pizza with Biga
Hello Jay,

Apologies for the delay in responding - things have been very hectic here of late. Our neighbour passed away earlier in the week from cancer so there was a funeral and some other activities to deal with there. Also, the PhD was conferred yesterday - yes, finally!

Keen to explore the soaker approach and I will probably get pizza activities going again by next week. Going out to a restaurant this evening and will be having a "pizza free" bash on Sunday (making them curry & rice) to celebrate the doctoring in the meantime.

Dr Rossco

BackyardPermaculture 06-05-2010 06:31 AM

Re: Pizza with Biga
Congrats on the PhD Rossco.

I've been trying to get hold of the Superb flour here in Brisbane, after reading your good reports on it - haven't had a reply from my email to the manufacturer yet.

Just been reading BBA tonight - lots to take in!


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