Biga starter

I love bread, especially the traditional artisan style bakery bread you find in Italy, France or other European countries. Many of these breads use starters, which adds complexity to the flavor, a better texture and more. This simple recipe for a Biga starter is based on an Italian biga recipe. Keep some in hand for regular bread baking and enjoy the delicious aroma of fresh bread.

Biga Starter

Course: Bread
Servings: 5 cups
Author: Rustic Italian Food


Base Recipe

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour (or 3 2/3 cup high protein flour) 500 grams
  • 1/4 tsp (1 g) instant yeast or 1/2 tsp (2 g) packed fresh cake yeast
  • 2 cups warm water (100° to 110°) plus 2 Tbsp (500 g)

Feeding the Starter (in addition to starter)

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup warm water plus 2 Tbsp


Making the starter

  • Mix flour, yeast and water in large bowl (5x volume of ingredients). Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise for 12 hours or until almost tripled in volume. Now it’s ready to use for immediate baking.
  • If using for daily baking, store at room temperature. Feed three times a day.
  • If baking less frequently, store in refrigerator and feed every other week.

Feeding the starter

  • Scoop out 2 cups (bake, give away, etc). Replace it with 2 cups all-purpose flour and 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp warm water, stirring until blended.
  • If using a different amount of starter, replace what you take by 50-50 mix of flour and water by weight.

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