The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Converting straight dough to poolish

bscruggs99's picture

Converting straight dough to poolish

Can I just take the water and equal weight of flour for it (plus the yeast obviously) or is there a proper way to do it? My sandwich loaves have always been a straight lean dough but I want to try something different. I've read 30% of the flour but should I a for 100% hydration or still use all the water? I'm sorry if this has been covered before, I Googled and I can only find ambiguous answers. Thanks!

AlanG's picture

according to Hamelman's book.  The goal with any pre-ferment is to improve the flavor of the bread.  As too how much of the bread dough comes from the Poolish, that depends on the recipe.  I've seen some recipes where 1/2 the flour comes from the Poolish an some where it is 1/3.

bscruggs99's picture

Thats why I was going to take equal weights. So basically just however much flour I want to use from the recipe, use equal water?


Out of curiosity, for the sake of easy math, if my recipe is 1000g flour 600g water and I use 300g of both for the poolish, will autolyse on the remaining 700g and 300g still be beneficial or does the poolish make autolyse unnecessary?

Lechem's picture

To autolyse 700g flour with 300g water. Poolish improves the texture anyway as well as flavour.

So either preferment half the flour with equal amount of water by weight. Or 600g flour and all the water. Of course you can do any amount you wish. Just use a pinch of yeast in the Poolish and ferment till ready then make up the rest of the dough with a pinch more yeast. The more you preferment the faster the final dough. 

Here are some tips from a great website

alfanso's picture

Use ~0.23 grams of IDY for each 1000 grams of poolish flour.  Which is somewhere around 8/100 of a teaspoon.  That is seemingly a minuscule amount.  And it is, but it is all that is necessary.  The remainder of the yeast goes into the final mix.  

You will not be able to perform an autolyse with just the remaining flour and water, if that is your train of thought.  It will be way too dry and create clumps which will ultimately never be incorporated.  Mix the mature poolish with the final flour and water.  

You can either autolyse it all or just add the remaining yeast and salt at that point and go right into final mix.  The choice is yours to make.  You will just have to account for the fermentation time as starting at the point of adding the yeast durning the final mix.

bscruggs99's picture

Thanks guys. I was just curious about the autolyse. I was assuming the poolish would make it pointless but I'm the curious type so I had to ask.


Thanks again!

kendalm's picture

Is a bit tricky you mixing a 100% hydration with a low hydration which makes for a mess the two do not like to blend well. Pretty sure that's why the final dough is created by simply adding remaining flour and water to the poolish. Give it a shot but if you are trying to maximize flavor complexity at least in my experience a long 24 hour cold retard is superior to any poolish (btw I have tried mixing poolish and autolyse remains and didn't notice any improvement in flavor)

jimbtv's picture

For my baguettes I incorporate the poolish into the autolyse, along with a small portion of levain. There are those who would say this isn't a true autolyse and I understand why, but for a 20 minute autolyse it seems to work just fine. It also provides the additional water to properly hydrate the autolyse.

Another thing to consider regarding the poolish is that by the time it makes it into the final mix most of the gluten is past its prime. The larger the amount of poolish by proportion the less available gluten and nutrition for the final bulk fermentation. There may not be enough available gluten to support the final structure. More is not always better.

gary.turner's picture

My purely anecdotal evidence puts a poolish with 10% of the total flour, to no more than 20% of the total flour as the best balance for flavor and for structure.

That's my 2¢ American, and may not be worth that.


bscruggs99's picture

Thanks a lot guys. Maybe I'll try 20% and see how it goes