To biga or not to biga that is the question….:-)

I have a lovely Italian friend who cooked a delicious meal for us on Saturday night. Bruschetta, cheesy garlic bread, breaded mozzarella and spinach & ricotta cannelloni all featured. Mouthwatering and all amongst my favourite things to eat. Bruschetta though is something which I adore, especially when abroad and you can taste the sun off the tomatoes. I thought that I would try a home made version of the ciabatta bread instead of buying a shop bought one and I was thrilled with the result! Crisp exterior and gorgeous airy chewy interior. Perfecto! You need to make a starter the night before making this one or a “biga” as they call it in Italy. Apparently this gives the bread depth of flavour so well worth taking this extra step.


125g strong flour
1/2 tsp yeast
1/2 tsp caster sugar
150ml lukewarm water

Mix all of the above into a batter and leave in a bowl covered, overnight. In the morning add

2tbsp olive oil
375g strong flour
1tsp salt
1tsp caster sugar
1tsp yeast
250ml lukewarm water

Few handfuls of semolina to sprinkle on tray & over bread

Hint: I used 1/2tsp of a 7g sachet of dried yeast for the biga and the remainder for the next morning.

Mix all the ingredients into a thick batter, cover once again and leave for two hours.
Flour your hands and use to pull gently from sides of bowl. Place the sticky dough on a baking sheet which you have oiled and sprinkled generously with semolina.
Stretch gently into a rectangular shape, sprinkle with semolina and allow to rise uncovered for 45 minutes.
Put into a preheated 220 degree oven for 20 minutes or until it sounds hollow when bottom is tapped.
Cool on a wire rack if you can manage to resist a slice or two or three…..

I served mine with my version of bruschetta comprising of a few chopped cherry tomatoes, minced garlic, oregano, salt and pepper. Drizzle a little oil on the sliced bread before topping with the tomato mixture. So tasty and vibrant! Enjoy!

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One Response to To biga or not to biga that is the question….:-)

  1. Colette says:

    I couldn’t agree more, especially having eaten brushetta in Italy. You really can taste the sunshine in their tomatoes. Will try this recipe :)

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