The Fresh Loaf

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poolish baguette

basbr's picture

Amount of poolish in Hamelman's baguette and pain rustique

April 10, 2011 - 7:17am -- basbr

Dear all,

This weekend I received my copy of Hamelman's "Bread" and it's fantastic. I made a boule from his poolish baguette recipe and his pain rustique.

I was completely surprised by the difference in taste between the two breads. Both were terrific, but the pain rustique tasted like no yeast bread I have ever tasted. I was blown away.

Sylviambt's picture

Fortunately, these first baguettes taste lots better than they look. Pretty homely, really. Instead of the lean elegance of a French loaf, these are peasantly stubby. No gleaming crust either. And the crumb? Could be lots more open.  I figure the dough could have used considerably more time for both the bulk and 2nd rise because my kitchen is cold. I also think I should have let the pre-shaped pieces rest a full 30 minutes before attempting the final shaping. I'll definitely try these again, and perhaps substitute a bit of the bread flour with AP.

Here are a few pictures. They tell the tale. Top left: ready for bulk fermentation. Top rt: After one hour and one fold.

Middle left: pre-shaped. Middle rt: the stubby loaves. Bottom left: a look at the crumb.  Bottom right: just thought I'd throw in a look at my farm, Bull Brook Keep. This view is looking to the East.

Ryan Sandler's picture
Ryan Sandler

I never got around to posting last week, but I did get around to making yet another batch of poolish baguettes.  The only real change was to use King Arthur All-Purpose flour in the final dough (making up 2/3 of the total flour with the Bread Flour in the poolish).  Also, thinking that my lame was getting dull, I tried scoring with the other side of the blade (switching from "Method 1" to "Method 2" as dmsnyder terms them).  I wasn't enturely impressed with the results.

Results: Exterior


Results: Crumb


The results were okay--crumb had a nice texture, flavor wasn't bad, crust was well carmelized but kinda chewy.  Bottoms burnt, scores are a mess.  The previous two weeks the results had been so much better.  My fault or the flour?  Probably mine, but I'd had such luck before...

Partly discouraged, partly looking for variety, partly because I've been craving a sourdough baguette for a couple months now, this week (#15 if you're keeping track), I swapped out the poolish for 300g of 100% hydration starter (still used commercial yeast in the final dough though).  The dough wasn't nearly as easy to handle as the standard poolish dough--it was looser, stickier, and gave me grief shaping (somehow I managed to have one end sticking while the other end was over floured and sliding instead of rolling).  I did take steps to prevent burnt bottoms, raising my stone one level in the oven--this seemed to do the trick.

Results: Exterior


Results: Crumb


I wouldn't call this a success, per se--the crust and crumb are pretty ugly, no?--but the flavor was very nice, and the crust had a nice texture to it -- chewier than I'd want for a normal poolish baguette, but quite good for a sourdough.

Now here's the question:  I really ought to give the King Arthur AP flour another chance in a normal poolish baguette.  But I think the sourdough version has a lot of potential--if I could get more used to handling this dough, I think I could get something pretty nice here.  Which do I pursue?

(In all likelihood, this will be determined by whether or not I remember to take out and refresh my starter on Wednesday or Thursday next week, mind you.)

Happy baking, everyone.   I got some King Arthur durum flour as a Christmas present and tomorrow I'm baking Pugliese :)

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