Cranberry Christmas Bread: Biga

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes About

    1 cup

Appears in

The Baking Bible

By Rose Levy Beranbaum

Published 2014

  • About


Gold Medal bread flour (or half other brand bread flour, half unbleached all-purpose flour), see Note 1 cup (lightly spooned into the cup and leveled off) plus 2 teaspoons 4.8 ounces 136 grams
instant yeast ¹⁄₁₆ teaspoon . 0.2 gram
fine sea salt ¼ teaspoon . 1.5 grams
water, at room temperature (70° to 80°F/21° to 27°C) ½ cup minus 1 tablespoon (100 ml) 3.5 ounces 100 grams


In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and yeast. Whisk in the salt. With a silicone spatula or wooden spoon, stir in the water. Continue stirring for 3 to 5 minutes, or until very stiff and smooth. The biga should be tacky enough to cling slightly to your fingers.

Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap that has been lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray (or place it in a 2 cup food storage container that has been lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray and cover with a lid). Set it aside until almost doubled to 1⅔ cups in volume and filled with bubbles. At warm room temperature (80°F/27°C), this will take about 6 hours. Stir it down. Use it at once, or for best flavor refrigerate it for up to 3 days before making the dough.