Can I ferment a biga in the fridge for 36 hours before baking a pugliese loaf?

Recipe says to have the biga/poolish sit between 55 and 65 degrees fahrenheit for 12 to 24 hours, but I have no place in my house that is that temperature consistently- my home is too warm, probably around 72 degree right now. If I make the biga 36 hours before needing to bake, can I cold-ferment it in the fridge (37 degrees) and still get good flavor development and rise?

Kate Chambers
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1 Comment

BakerBren October 9, 2018
Yes, you will still get a good result if you retard (refrigerate) your biga, although I recommend making a desired dough temperature calculation when you mix your final dough to get the bulk ferment off to a good start at about 76°F. You can adjust your water temperature to achieve this. A long, cold fermentation will possibly develop more flavor. Alternately, you can add less yeast to your preferment (biga/poolish) and add a portion of your overall dough salt (but don't forget you added it when doing the final mix!). This slows the fermentation down and would allow you to preferment at a higher temperature for the 12-24 hours. Another and possibly easiest option for you is to simply ferment the biga as the recipe states, but for a shorter length of time. Try 8 hours at 72°F. Happy baking!
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