Old 03-30-2008, 08:26 PM
Dutchoven's Avatar
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Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 931
Default Re: Bread Making - Questions Galore!

Very good information indeed...exactly right...I unfortunately have a difficult time of fine tuning ingredients where I am and sometimes fail to realize it when I answer a post. In our experience with the ingredient we are able to get and a higher percentage of preferment in the final dough the poolish tends to give us better open-ness of crumb. The ciabatta we make with a biga is an enriched formula and results in a slightly denser crumb.
My understanding of the extensibility is that is is tested at a constant hydration of 50 percent and does not necessarily relate to % protein. I could be misinformed though. Overall flours react differently in each batch unless they are extensively tested. Some flours take higher hydration while others do not. I have found out through research that much of a flours ability to form a dough at very high hydration has to do more with the "damaged starches" in the flour.
"Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity. " Charles Mingus
"Build at least two brick ovens...one to make all the mistakes on and the other to be just like you dreamed of!" Dutch
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Old 03-31-2008, 07:06 AM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Brazil
Posts: 306
Default Re: Bread Making - Questions Galore!


I use the W indicator to figure which the farina type is. This indicator refers to the strength of the flour. Where I came from, the flour type is indicated by the use of one 0 to four 0s.
As rule of thumb and only as figuring purposes, I believe that higher Ws match with higher protein contents, even if this is not a true conversion.
So, if you forgive my inexactness and not scientific approach, I like to believe that flours with 220/250 W match with the ones with 7 to10% of protein content, flours with 260/300 match with 10-12 % protein and higher ones (stronger ones as Manitoba, as example) with 300/350 W match with 14-15% protein contents.
The P/L number gives the extensibility of the flour.


As I understood, the main difference between poolish and biga is the hydration.
The first one is a wet dough (or mixture) containing 100% of water to the same quantity of flour and the second one is a dry dough containing 35-45% of water to 100% of flour.
The biga is, normally, recommended to bread dough, as the poolish is recommended to pizza dough.
The biga tend to a more aromatized, cracker crust. The poolish leads a smooth crumb.
The opening of crumb, by other way, is directly affected by the hydration of the overall dough. It is possible to use biga or poolish to make a opened bread crumb, since the final hydration go higher than 60%.

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Old 03-31-2008, 10:30 PM
MoonshineBaker's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Moonshine Road, Camptonville, CA
Posts: 31
Default Re: Bread Making - Questions Galore!


Thank you again for the clarification. From what you have indicated, your recommendation would be for 45 g of water to 100 g of 14-15% protein flour mixed with 1 g of yeast. I presume you would knead the dough to develop some of the gluten. You would then let it ferment ( at room temperature??) for 15 to 24 hours to develop some acidity and ? convert the wheat starches to sugars. You would then use a ratio of 40% of this Biga with a lower protein flour = ~ 9%. Would you add more yeast when you add the Biga to the lower protein flour? How much salt do you add? Do you recommend one or two rises of the dough? Is this what you have in mind? This is a very different and interesting approach from what I have read on this blog and in Reinhart's books.

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Old 04-02-2008, 12:18 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Charlotte Bay, Australia
Posts: 264
Default Re: Bread Making - Questions Galore!

Originally Posted by david sewell View Post
Try using your wife's hair dryer. The size is ideal. Just enough blast. For fun I tried to see how hot I could get my oven. I stopped when it got to 550 C didn't want to stress the oven too much, but the temp really rockets up, actually far too hot for cooking. Never bother now, but it's fun if like playing with fire. Iv'e got girls and we must have at least 6 old hair dryers, give it a shot.
Thanks David, that's a good idea - I'll have to wait until I lay conduit and electricity cable to the shed and put another IP64-rated powerpoint near the oven... (my longest 15A capable lead is 30 m - I need 40 m!)


Luiz a.k.a. carioca
"I started out with nothing, and I've still got most of it"
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Old 04-06-2008, 02:52 PM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Brazil
Posts: 306
Default Re: Bread Making - Questions Galore!


Sorry by the delayed answer.
I am short of time, actually.
Answering your first question, yes, the biga is a hard/tight dough, 40/50% of hidration. 1kg flour, 450 g water, 1g (1%) yeast.
The objetive here is not to develop gluten as develop enzimes to better flavour and balance of dough. Just mix the flour with yeast and water.
The biga is ok when doubled or tripled in volume and just begin to decrease.
The convertion of starches to sugars is accomplished in the final dough mixture (second step)
30 to 40% of biga to weak W= 220/250 flour in the second mix.
Consider the necessary quantity of water and flour to obtain 65%+ of hydration.
It is not necessary to add more yeast. Depending on your schedule, you could do that, to accelerate the dough rise. Do not add to much yeast (2g could be ok)
Normally, 2.5 to 3% of salt will do the work. Do not mix the salt with the yeast or biga.
All the biga in a bols, then the water, mix, then the yeast (if one), add half of the flour, hydrate, add the salt and then the rest of the flour until a clean and smooth dough is obtained.
Let rise until doubled in volume (couple of hours)
Divide in individual doughs and shape as you like.
Rise until doubled. Do sharp cuts and bake.
Sometimes I use to use 350C and/or 250C in WFO.

I hope this could help you.
Next time I promise more time to answer your questions.

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