The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Any thoughts on why my polish/sponge doughs taste worse than my “straight doughs”?

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chiaoapple's picture
chiaoapple

Any thoughts on why my polish/sponge doughs taste worse than my “straight doughs”?

 

I think it’s commonly accepted that the best breads are the product of long, long ferments, made with sponges, bigas, poolish and what not. Yet, all my “best” breads are those from straight doughs – mix, knead, rise double, shape, proof, bake.

For example, I recently made the toasting bread and buttermilk currant loaf from Hamelman’s book, but neither had the tastiness I would expect from the methods used. I’ve also made a number of time-consuming breads in the past that did not live up to expectations. So, I’ve found myself mostly making those simple “quick” breads that one mostly associates with amateur REGULAR bakers… But gosh darn it, I want to be able to call myself an amateur ARTISAN baker!

Oh, and back when my sourdough was still alive (I went away for the summer, and it did not survive my absence), it produced pretty nice breads, so I do concede that sourdough is great.

 Anyone experience the same type of dilemma?
crumb bum's picture
crumb bum

Hey Chiao

Sourdough aside I have not made a whole lot of straight dough breads.  I have always made a preferment because thats what all the info on good bread out there tells us.  I would like to compare straight with a couple of rises vs a prefermented bread for taste sometime.  I have read that preferments affect the properties of the flour making it more extensable or elastic I can't remember which.  In the french bread world competition the US team had to and I quote "make extensive use of preferments"  in order to be able to use the weak French flour.  I would also think that prefers would make that starch/sugar enzyme conversion more effective than a straight dough.  Nice clear answer huh.

Da Crumb Bum

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Bake what you like the way you like it.  That is the Art.  
Some of your comments sound typical to low altitudes.  Are you at sea level?   Mini Oven

chiaoapple's picture
chiaoapple

Yes, I think I'm at sea level. Thanks for the advice -- I'll be baking what makes me happy!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I find the yeast gets tired fast at sea level, which speeds up fermenting times, or shortens the time they peak. (If that makes any sense.)  Try using just a pinch of yeast in the preferment and like Sourdough-guy suggests, shorten the preferment time, and then after, when mixing all your ingredients, I suggest throwing in an extra teaspoon or two of yeast.  

I generally use more yeast and baking powder (with bk pwd cut back on salt) in my recipes at sea level.    :)