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April 26, 2023

Tips for a top pizza restaurant: how to make a great pizza dough using the biga?

How to make pizza with biga
Image by Rudy and Peter Skitterians from Pixabay

If you’re developing your own recipe for your (maybe future) restaurant, you might be actively working to define a way to make a great pizza dough.

In this previous blog post we unlocked the secrets behind perfect pizza dough. Among those precious tips we shared with you, we briefly covered the topic of pizza dough made with the biga.

But what is the biga in detail? And more important: how to make pizza dough with the biga?

Within this blog post, we’ll give you a brief, easy and practical guide to make a pizza by using one of the most traditional cooking techniques from Naples, the very hometown of pizza.

First things first: what is the biga?

The simplest definition of biga we can provide is that of a pre-dough.

Technically, it’s a pre-ferment made of flour, water, and yeast. It’s the key ingredient in making a flavorful and chewy pizza dough, since it’s been used for ages to obtain a soft, crunchy crust.

The biga functions as a yeast, substituting both instant yeast and sourdough starter in recipes that call for them. Its strong gluten network results from using high-protein flours, which form gluten, and from the high presence of lactic acid.

The biga is prepared using brewer’s yeast and develops through both lactic acid and alcoholic fermentation, which results in a lactic acid production. Here lies the main difference with the sourdough starter, which undergoes natural fermentation through the action of bacteria.

Another difference is in the preparation. The sourdough starter is produced by mixing water, flour, and sugars such as honey or malt, whereas the biga is prepared using only flour, water, and yeast. Additionally, the sourdough starter is more challenging to prepare than the biga, which is also quicker to knead.

The best thing is: preparing the dough using the biga gives you a fluffier (on the inside) and crunchier (on the outside) crust. Your customers’ mouths will start watering as soon as they see their pizza! 

How to make the pizza dough with biga: a step by step guide


– 00 Flour

– Water

– Yeast

Quantities are up to you. The dough’s hydration depends on the quantity of water and salt you use. High hydrated dough will give you a softer, thicker Neapolitan style crust; less hydrated dough will create a thinner crust.

Find the balance that better represents your own style and that fits better your target customers’ preferences. 

First step: make the biga

That said, the first step to make a fabulous dough with biga is… making the biga!

1) Put the 00 flour in a big container. 

2) Add the yeast and mix it up.

3) Start pouring the water, little by little.

Then mix them up and start kneading. Keep pouring the water as soon as you see that flour is absorbing the water and gaining texture.

It doesn’t need to become smooth during this phase. Just move it to another container and make sure to seal it tight to prevent any air from getting in through the lid.

Then put it in the refrigerator and let it rest for at least 24 hours. Way better if you wait for 48! 

Second step: transform the biga into the real dough

Once the 48 hours are up, it’s time to mix the biga into the dough. Start by putting the biga into a mixer and turning it on to melt it.

There are two kinds of mixers you can use: a spiral mixer and a planetary one

Usually a spiral mixer is a better choice because it allows you to work more dough in the same amount of time. You can use a planetary mixer when you prefer a machine capable of mixing not only dough but also other ingredients. 

Anyway, once you’ve put the wannabe dough in the mixer, start adding water, flour, and salt slowly. Put a handful of salt any few seconds and not all together to avoid over-salting.

This is also the phase when you need to decide what hydration level you desire. Always keep in mind that higher hydrated dough always requires high temperatures, and therefore hot, performing, ovens. You should go for quality ovens anyway, but if you want a gorgeous, fluffy Napoli style crust, this becomes truly compulsory!

Let the mixer work for about 20-25 minutes, then transfer the dough to a box and let it rest for an hour.

Third step: get the dough ready to be cooked

After its well-earned rest, it’s time to adjust the consistency of the dough. In order to do so, add flour until it becomes thicker and smoother

In order to prevent it from drying too much, add a small amount of oil if necessary. At this point, your dough should be compact and smooth, with a texture that must almost feel aphrodisiac to the touch.

Give it a good massage and form it into equal sized dough balls. Move the dough balls in another container and let them rest for a little bit.

Wait 30 minutes, and… cheers! Your pizza dough is ready to use! 

If you need to wait before baking it, you can put the dough in the refrigerator for up to 6 hours. Don’t exceed this time frame: keep in mind you have already left the dough fermenting for 48 hours!

This will give you a total fermentation time of a rough 55 hours, which is perfect for achieving that delicious chewiness and flavor in your pizza crust.

From a great biga to an outstanding pizza for your restaurant: time to bake!

Now that the dough is ready to be transformed into a delight for your clients’ palates, just be careful not to mess it up with the baking.

It’s the final, decisive, step! And most likely, the most essential one.

How to bake a pizza properly is not the purpose of this brief dough guide. But still, we’ll keep stressing out our mantra: don’t forget that heat is an ingredient for your pizza.

So, if you want to see a crowd of hungry visitors outside your pizza shop, keep striving for quality and invest in a top-notch oven. Because an excellent, superior commercial pizza oven will let you make an outstanding product in the most efficient way.

Great taste leads to great profits!

If you need a quote for a top class oven or some advice to make your pizza restaurant achieve success…

just fill in the contact form and reach out to us!

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