To Make a Biga

Yeasted Starter

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


Appears in

Making Bread at Home

Making Bread at Home

By Tom Jaine

Published 2005

  • About

The Italian biga is a piece of matured dough with a speck of yeast in it. It gives loaves a more interesting texture than they would get from a simple yeast dough ripened for only a few hours.


  • 225 g/8 oz unbleached white plain flour
  • 7 g/¼ oz fresh yeast
  • 90 ml/3 fl oz tepid water


Make a well in the middle of the flour, crumble in the yeast and add the water. Mix to cream the yeast, then extend the mixing to incorporate the flour.

Mix until all the dry flour has been taken up, then knead on a work surface to a stiff and smooth dough. Leave in a bowl covered with clingfilm overnight (12 hours or more) at a temperature not less than 21°C/70°F.

It should rise once and fall back again before being used for a bread dough as detailed in the recipes for Ciabatta, Italian Country Bread and North Italian Rye Bread.