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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Biga \Bi"ga\, n. [L.] (Antiq.) A two-horse chariot.


n. (label en historical) A Roman racing chariot drawn by two horses abreast.


Biga may refer to:

  • Biga (bread baking), a type of pre-fermentation used in Italian baking
  • Biga and Busca, two political factions in the 15th century Catalonian Civil War
  • Biga, Çanakkale, a town and district of Çanakkale Province in Turkey
  • Biga Çayı, a river in Çanakkale Province
  • Biga (chariot), a two-horse chariot used in ancient Mediterranean countries
  • Biga language, an Austronesian language of West Papua, Indonesia
Biga (bread baking)

Biga is a type of pre-fermentation used in Italian baking. Many popular Italian breads, including ciabatta, are made using a biga. Using a biga adds complexity to the bread's flavor and is often used in breads that need a light, open texture with holes. Apart from adding to flavor and texture, a biga also helps to preserve bread by making it less perishable.

Biga techniques were developed after the advent of baker's yeast as bakers in Italy moved away from the use of sourdough and needed to recover some of the flavor that was given up in this move. Bigas are usually dry and thick compared to a sourdough starter. This thickness is believed to give a Biga its characteristic slightly nutty taste. Biga is usually made fresh every day, using a small amount of baker's yeast in a thick dough, which varies from 45 to 60% hydration as a bakers percentage, and is allowed to ferment from 12 to 16 hours to fully develop its flavor.

Biga (chariot)

The biga ( Latin, plural bigae) is the two-horse chariot as used in ancient Rome for sport, transportation, and ceremonies. Other animals may replace horses in art and occasionally for actual ceremonies. The term biga is also used by modern scholars for the similar chariots of other Indo-European cultures, particularly the two-horse chariot of the ancient Greeks and Celts. The driver of a biga is a bigarius.

Other Latin words that distinguish chariots by the number of animals yoked as a team are quadriga, a four-horse chariot used for racing and associated with the Roman triumph; triga, or three-horse chariot, probably driven for ceremonies more often than racing (see Trigarium); and seiugis or seiuga, the six-horse chariot, more rarely raced and requiring a high degree of skill from the driver. The biga and quadriga are the most common types.

Two-horse chariots are a common icon on Roman coins; see bigatus, a type of denarius so called because it depicted a biga. In the iconography of religion and cosmology, the biga represents the moon, as the quadriga does the sun.

Usage examples of "biga".

Oh, biga man's ring, it's miles too big for me, and the setting must be an inch in diameter.