The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Questions about Poolish

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nuttybaker's picture
nuttybaker

Questions about Poolish

I made a poolish the other day for the 1st time.  When I pulled it out of the fridge, it looked like it had seperated. There was a yellowish liquid around the foaming poolish.  I just mixed it up and used it in my french bread dough that I was making. My question is:   is it supposed to look like that and should I have left it out on the counter instead of putting it in the fridge. I was following Peter Reinhart's recipie in Crust and Crumb for the tean USA french bread.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

If there is a little activity from the yeast on the counter it tends to mix it up more.  In the cold fridge, it can happen that the flour often settles to the bottom and the water rises to the top.  It shouldn't be a problem. 


I haven't seen much separation when the flour and water are equal weights or 100% hydration but it can happen.  Many times I'm too sleepy to notice.  I mix up the poolish before going to bed and then in the morning the cover is off and the whisk starts mixing everything back together before I can see around my coffee cup.  :)


Mini

nuttybaker's picture
nuttybaker

Thanks Mini, It's confusing when you are doing this for the 1st time and you see so many different ways of doing the same thing.  When I mixed it back up I just thought, I will go ahead and go thru all the steps to make my bread and see what happens.  I did not like this bread as much as the lean bread recipie in Peter's book Artisan breads for everyday- it had much better flavor and was an easier recipie.


 


 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Poolish is one way to coax flavor from a flour, there are others too.  I was amazed what it did for my bland tasting flour many years ago.  One of the first things I learned about on TFL.  There were fewer ways of doing it.  I left mine out on the counter all night.


I pasted the recipe on my scale so I wouldn't have to think too much.  Then the next day I decided what to do with it.  I plugged my poolish into many recipes.   Just subtracting the poolish from the ingredients.  It was one way to get a jump on the loaf and flavor without too much effort.  I had only one kind of wheat flour back then and lots of it. 


Mini

wally's picture
wally

Mini's right about the separation that comes from leaving it in the fridge.  Poolish should be left out on the counter, and the ideal temperature for an overnight mix (12 -14 hours) is in the low 70s F.


Here's a picture of what a ripe poolish looks like.



Larry

nuttybaker's picture
nuttybaker

Larry, Thank you so much. Learned a lot today about this subject from you and Mini- you've both been great- Thank you sooooo much for the picture too!


Nutty baker

hanseata's picture
hanseata

dealt with poolish other than leaving it out for a few hours during daytime at room temperature. Thanks for the information.


Your poolish looks downright dangerous, Larry, about ready to explode...


Karin

killpineapple's picture
killpineapple

what happens if a poolish is left out for an entire day?  can it go bad

i started a poolish yesterday morning so i could make bread later that night.  well, beer and friends happened and the bread was put off until today.  even when leaving it out on the counter i get a little separation but there seems to be a decent amount of liquid on top.  it appears frothy like the yeast has been doing its job.  the bowl was covered with plastic wrap pretty well but i am fearing contamination. is leaving it out for a day bad?  luckily June Gloom has kept our house betwee 50-75F for the last day or so.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

no.  

killpineapple's picture
killpineapple

ok good.  it had an odd cidery smell to it, so i had thought it to be ruined

gary.turner's picture
gary.turner

The cidery aroma is mostly the alcohol that fermentation produces. The fruity portion is probably from the yeasts getting hungry.  When the carb (sugar) levels get low, a by-product is ketone, a relative of acetone, e.g. fingernail polish remover. People on very low carb diets and diabetics will also produce ketones when carbo-starvation levels are reached. This can be especially true during weight loss when fat is being broken down to provide energy.

See "Krebs cycle" and "citric acid cycle".

Once fed by mixing the rest of the flour, the ketones will be re-absorbed by the beasties.

cheers,

gary