A 100% biga pizza is something any pizza lover should try making.
I will not call it Neapolitan pizza as you can only make Neapolitan pizza in Naples and in a proper oven. So, we’re not going to waste our time pretending here. What we will do is learn to make a delicious pizza by pre-fermenting all the flour giving it an extra flavour punch. When making a regular bread with a preferment or even a pizza, we normally only ferment a portion of the total flour in advance. Since this is a 100% biga dough, that means that all the flour will be pre-fermented before finalizing the dough. The dough is the preferment.
A biga is a ‘stiff’ preferment, meaning that is contains a relatively small percentage of water. 50% in this case. That makes this type of preferment ideal for making this type of dough as we can ferment it, and then add the remaining water with the remaining ingredients to bring it up to the final hydration percentage.
If you are a beginner and none of the above made any sense to you, then do not worry as you will be able to make this pizza without any of that knowledge with my easy to follow step-by-step instructions.
This is quite a forgiving preferment as it will not as easily over-proof. Perfect for a beginner baker.
This amount of dough will make two 10-inch (24cm) pizzas. If you want to make more, simply multiply the amount of ingredients.
Watch the video down below for detailed instructions.
For the biga –
300g (10.6oz) strong white bread flour
Two tiny pinches of yeast. This will make the dough rise in around 12 hours. *You can prolong this process and ferment it more slowly by adding just one pinch of yeast. Longer fermentation gives the dough a more distinct and stronger flavour and the crust will be crispier on your pizza.
150g (5.3oz) water at around 18C (64F), if your kitchen is around 23C (73F).
To learn more about dough temperature control click here.
To finish the dough –
40g (1.4oz) cold water
1g (0.03oz) instant dry yeast or 3g (0.1oz) fresh yeast or 1.2g (0.04oz) active dry yeast
6g (0.2oz) salt
20g (0.7oz) olive oil
For the sauce –
1 tin good quality chopped tomatoes, 400g (14oz)
5 cloves of crushed garlic, this is a lot, but I like my garlic. Feel free to use as much or little as you like
Olive oil for cooking
Salt & oregano to season
- Make the biga. In a bowl combine the water and the yeast. Stir to disperse. Add the flour and mix to a dough. Knead the dough until there is no more dry flour left. You do not want any lumps in this mix. Cover the dough and ferment it for around 12 hours or until visibly puffed up.
- While the biga is fermenting make the sauce. In a pan cook the garlic with salt in olive oil on medium heat for around 5 minutes or until it starts to colour. Add the oregano and the chopped tomatoes. Bring it up to a simmer, turn the heat down and keep cooking for around 15 minutes. Pour into a bowl and let it cool down. *You can blitz the sauce in a food processor if you want it smoother.
- Mix the remaining yeast with the remaining water and let it hydrate for a minute.
- Add the yeast water, olive oil and salt to the biga. Wet your hand with water and work the ingredients together until well combined.
- Tip the dough out on your table and knead it using the stretch & fold method for around 8 minutes until nice and smooth. The dough may still be a little sticky, so wet your hands with water when handling it. *Desired dough temperature 24-25C (75-77F). If your dough is warmer, then it will ferment more rapidly. If it is cooler, then it will take longer. Adjust proofing time accordingly.
- Place the dough in a bowl, cover it and let it ferment for 1 hour.
- Ferment for another hour.
- Divide the dough in 2 equal pieces using your dough scraper and a dusting of flour to prevent it from sticking.
- Shape the dough into tight balls.
- Place it on a tray, dust it lightly with flour, cover it up and let it ferment for 1 – 1.5 hours or until doubled in size. You can also place it in the fridge right after shaping for up to 18 hours. *During the final hour of fermentation preheat your oven to 250C (480F) fan off. If your oven can go higher, then preheat it to the highest setting. Trust me it will not be too hot! Don’t forget to preheat your baking stone or cast-iron pan if you are using one.
- Shape the pizza, top it with your favourite toppings and pop it in the oven. Remember that less is more! Do not use too much sauce or too much cheese as the base may not bake properly and you could end up with a puddle in your pizza.
- Bake for around 8 minutes or until the crust is nice and dark.
- Garnish with some fresh basil when it comes out of the oven. Let is sit for 5 minutes and tuck in.
Check out the breads with pre-ferment page for more delicious bread made with pre-fermented flour.
Keep in mind that the conditions in each kitchen are different, so fermentation times may vary for you. It is up to the baker to control the bread and react accordingly.
Watch the video here