The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Poolish Baguettes

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Poolish Baguettes

JMonkey

I don’t make white breads often, but there’s nothing quite like a few homemade baguettes to accompany an elegant meal. This recipe was adapted from “Bread” by Jeffrey Hammelman.

Overall formula:

    * White flour: 100%
    * Water: 66%
    * Salt: 2%
    * Instant yeast: 0.36%
    * 33% of the flour is pre-fermented as a poolish at 100% hydration with .07% yeast

Poolish:
    * White flour: 160 grams or 1.25 cups
    * Water: 160 grams or ½ cup + 3 Tbs
    * Instant yeast: Just an eeny-weeny pinch (about 1/32 of a tsp)

Final dough:
    * All of the poolish
    * White flour: 320 grams oz or 2.5 cups
    * Water: 160 gram or ½ cup + 3 Tbs
    * Salt: 9 grams or 1.25 tsp
    * Instant yeast: 1 to 2 grams or 1/2 + 1/8 tsp

The night before: Preferment
The night before, dissolve the yeast into the water for the poolish, and then mix in the flour. Cover and let it ferment at room temperature for 12-16 hours. Once the poolish has bubbles breaking on top and has started to wrinkle, it's ready. It'll also smell really nice - sweet and nutty. Mmmm.

Mixing and dough development
For the final dough, measure out the water and pour it into the poolish to loosen it up. Then pour the entire mixture into a bowl. Mix together the salt, yeast and flour, and then add it to the bowl as well. Mix it all up with a spoon and, once everything is hydrated, knead it the traditional way, until it passes the windowpane test. Cover and let it ferment for two hours, giving it a stretch-and-fold at the one hour mark.

Shaping
If you’re making baguettes, divide the dough into three pieces, and preshape into rounds. Cover and let them rest about 20 minutes. Then shape into baguettes about 12 inches longg and cover, letting them rise for about 1 hour to 90 minutes.

Score and bake on a preheated stone in a 460 degree oven with steam for about 25 minutes.

If you want to make a round or a batard, you’ll need to bake for about 35 to 40 minutes.