Bob's Incredibly Lazy Dough Process:
1. Mix one or two packets of dry yeast, or a little yeast cake with 2 cups warm water. Proof for 15 minutes. If there are bubbles, then add 1 to 1-1/2 cups of AP Flour (or other plain wheat flour, I do not use whole wheat, rye etc...). Mix and place in a ventilated container and refrigerate. The Biga needs to sit for at least 24 hours, 48 hours is the outside without additions.
2. After 24 hours, add 1/2 cup water mixed with 3/4 cup flour of choice, back in refrigerator for 24 hours. Do this every 24 hours you let the Biga sit. If you don't, it starts to go bad, not sour, bad.
3. This is your Biga, it will provide enough yeast to make up to an additional 4 cups of flour into a dough, with the appropriate amount of water. However, I get better results if I mix the dough ingredients with the Biga and refrigerate it another 24 hours. This minimizes kneading, as the gluten will form and mature on it's own with a slow rise.
4. On the day to bake, I remove and let the dough with Biga come to room temperature (really important) then turn out onto a moderately floured board, I will knead the dough for just a few minutes to tighten it up, picking up some flour along the way. Then proof and bake.
Real bakers make a Biga every night, or use a Mother starter, so that they always can make dough. This is not a soured starter, for that, you do need to leave it at room temperature for 4 to 5 days. Covered. Bugs seems to find a souring starter and die in it. Then it is a bad starter.
me: I don't drink anymore
Yelonutz: me either, but, then again, I don't drink any less