The Fresh Loaf

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poolish

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gprice157's picture

Poolish Anyone?????

November 26, 2008 - 5:25am -- gprice157

Thanks to "fancypantalons" I am finally aware of "poolish," but suring the "Net" to find a "Recipe" only produced frustration with intelectual hyperbolic discertations on "Hydration Rates," etc. Please give me a straight forward recipe - ingrediant by ingrediant - line by line - specific measurement by specific measurement - and simple instructions on what to do with them.

JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

It's been a while since I posted, mainly due to ramped up work and family obligations, but I've not stopped baking. And, despite the fact that both of these breads are white, the vast majority of my baking is still 100% whole grain.

But, dangit, white bread -- I just can't quit ya.

I was particularly pleased with the poolish demi-baguettes that I made for dinner last night. I had my first acorn squash of the season, and had made a soup with it. For some reason, poolish baguettes seemed just the right accompaniment.



These are, without a doubt, the best looking baguettes I've ever made. Took a lot of less-than-perfect loaves, but I think I now understand how to shape these buggers so they don't look like a string bean with big bulbous ends, how to time them so they still have some room to spring in the oven, and how to slash them so they look like ... well ... a baguette.

The insides were lovely.



Today, they were starting to get stale, so I cut the leftover baguette in half and broiled it with some mozzarella, which we ate with a chopped up tomato from the garden. These were about 12 oz each, with 33 percent of the flour in the pre-ferment and a hydration of 66%. I used about 1/16 tsp of yeast in the poolish (135g of water and flour, each) and then about 2g instant yeast in the final dough (270 flour, 135 water, 8g salt). The poolish ripened for about 12 hours, but it's pretty cold in my house -- mid 60s at bestt.

Earlier in the week, I also made a white sourdough (20% of the flour in a thick starter at 60% hydration -- the starter was 100% whole wheat, and the overall hydration was about 75%) which I let retard overnight outside. It was lovely, but the top seemed as if it wanted to peel away. Was probably a little underproofed.



Again, I was pleased with the crumb.



Hopefully, things have calmed down enough so that I can post a little more frequently. I've missed this community!

KosherBaker's picture
KosherBaker

Here is my crack at terminology that is commonly used in bread baking. It's a start, with a hope that with some comments these will be corrected and added on to.

Poolish - A French term. Uses commercial yeast. An aged mixture that is made up of equal amounts of water and flour, by weight, and a small (tiny) amount of yeast. (1)

Biga - An Italian term. Uses commercial yeast. An aged mixture that is made up of water and flour, which may but do not have to be of equal amount. A tiny amount of yeast is also added to this mixture.A Poolish is really just a form of Biga. A Sponge is the English term for Biga. (1)

Starter - An English/American term. An aged mixture that is usually maintained in a very small amount, that is used to start or seed a larger mixture that is then called a preferment. A starter made from commercial yeast is called a straight dough starter and a starter made of wild yeast is called a sourdough starter.

Pate Fermente - A French term. A small piece of dough reserved from the previous batch of bread. This is the only preferment that may contain salt in it.

Preferment -  An English/American term. An aged mixture whose primary purpose is to impart a maximum amount of flavor to the resulting bread. This mixture is allowed to fully ferment before (pre-) being added to the final dough mix. Examples are: Sponge, Poolish and Biga.

Autolyse - A French term. A technique where gluten containing flour and water are mixed and aged for a desired amount of time to arrive at desired gluten development level and flavor characteristics. There are no other ingredients present except flour and water. And flour has to contain gluten.

Soaker -  An English/American term. An aged mixture whose primary purpose is to hydrate the dry ingredients that are to be used in the final dough. The dry ingredients are gluten free.

High Extraction Flour - An English/American term. It is a flour that is between White and 100% Whole Wheat. It has a certain percentage of Bran and Germ removed.

Patent Flour - An English/American term. White Flour which was extracted from the central most part of the endosperm. Is considered to have the highest quality of gluten. (1)

Clear Flour -  An English/American term. White Flour which was extracted from the outer parts of the endosperm. Around the part where the Patent Flour was extracted from. (1)

Notes:

Difference between Starter, Sponge, Biga and Poolish. Well Poolish has equal amounts of water and flour. Biga and Sponge are the same to the best of my knowledge. A Starter is more clearly defined in a professional bakery environment where a small amount of left over preferment is reserved to be used in the next preferment. The amount of preferment mixed contains a small excess that is fully fermented. Then the small excess is extracted to be used in the following preferment, and the current preferment is added to the dough for the current batch of bread.

---------------------------------------

(1) Source J. Hamelman "Bread"

 

Edit 09/14/2008

Today I saw a FAQ page so I thought I'd link to it from here:

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/faqs

sandrasfibre's picture

starter

June 23, 2008 - 11:38am -- sandrasfibre

Hello.  I have several questions about starters.  Please bear with me being new at this.  First, the starter I am using is 1 cup flour, 1 cup water, 1 tsp yeast.  First question.  Can I use wheat flour in my starter?  Second question.  I have read that after being refrigerated, it will last for two weeks.  Can I just work from this one starter for two weeks and not add to it to make it grow.  In other words, I would like to have a starter, use it and then make another starter.  I don't want one that I have to feed.  Is this possible?  Also, can I add starter to any bread recipe?  Can I use

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Baguettes


Baguettes

Baguettes crumb


Baguettes crumb


The latest episode in my ongoing quest for a classic baguette.

 Today's attempt was with the Poolish Baguette formula in Jeffrey Hamelman's "Bread." I made the poolish last night and made the dough and baked the breads this afternoon. I used Guisto's Baker's Choice flour, which makes a dough with a lovely, silky, soft, extensible quality. It's a pleasure to work with this dough.

 While I ended up with a wonderful tasting bread - crunchy crust and sweet tasting crumb, I was disappointed in the lack of bloom. I do believe my scoring of the loaves was good. I believe I was overly concerned about underproofing the loaves and ended up over-proofing them. If anyone with more baguette experience (and success) than I has other thoughts and suggestions, I would really appreciate them sharing. Making "the baguette of my dreams" remains a dream for now.

Here are photos of the baguette just after forming and placing on the couche and when proofed, just before baking:

Baguettes shaped

Baguettes shaped

Baguettes proofed

Baguettes proofed

Minor frustrations aside, today's breads were thoroughly enjoyed with dinner.

Baguette and Sunflower Seed Rye slices

Baguette and Sunflower Seed Rye slices

David

mse1152's picture
mse1152

Happy weekend! I made baguettes for the first time in a long time today. BBA's poolish baguettes. One mistake...the recipe, er formula, calls for 7 oz. of poolish. I made half a recipe of poolish from the book, which is really more like 11 oz., and dumped it all into the final dough. ooooops. But what are you gonna do with 4 oz. of leftover poolish?

This dough gets 4 hours of fermentation and about an hour of proofing. The baguettes came out sorta pretty, I thought:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I describe the flavor as 'clean', not at all yeasty, just wheaty. Very nice. PR recommends sifting 1.75c of whole wheat flour to replicate the ash content of the European flour used in the original formula. When I sifted my KA whole wheat, almost none of the bran was left in the sifter, so I used his second suggestion: using only a few tablespoons of WWF, and unbleached for the remainder of the dough. The bread still had plenty of identifiable bran in it. The bread is very lightly salted. I'm really happy with the flavor and texture.

But here's my question. As you can see, my slashes filled in to bring the exposed dough up to the level of the crust. There are no 'ears'. This has been the case with most of my breads. I did the PR technique of pouring 6-8 oz. of boiling water into a cast iron pan in the bottom of my oven, but no other steaming or spraying beyond that. If you look at some other baguettes on TFL, like these or these, there are definite sharply-defined ears. It's a minor thing, since I'm happy with the way this bread turned out, but I'm just curious as to what is keeping this from happening on my breads. Any ideas?

Sue

foodoflife's picture

How long to keep poolish?

February 21, 2008 - 4:36am -- foodoflife

Hi all,

I am new to this forum, and was seeking some advice.

I have prepared a poolish using active yeast, brown sugar, water/flour to equal parts.

Kinda forgot about it sitting there on the side, this was 2 days ago. It is covered with cling film.

My question is, would the poolish still be ok to use, or should I just start again?

Any advice would be greatly received.

Thanks

Cain

JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

I realize that I seriously risk tanking my whole grain cred, here, but lately ... I've been taking a shine to poolish. It'd been a long time since I'd worked with yeasted pre-ferments, and aside from an occasional baguette here and there, I'd not make a serious white bread in quite some time.

But after the New Year, in the course of just a couple of days, I made three poolish baguettes and one poolish ciabatta.

I used Jeffrey Hamelman's masterpiece Bread as a guide. I was so pleased with the baguettes, that for the ciabatta, I modified my sourdough spreadsheet to accommodate commercial yeast breads with pre-ferments, and inserted his formulas.. Aside from scaling each recipe down (I made a half-batch of poolish baguettes, which made three demi-baguetts, and a single 1.5 pound ciabatta), the only other change I made was to add a tiny speck of yeast to each poolish. With the baguettes, since they required about 1/10 gram of yeast, I added one gram of yeast to 19 grams of water and then added two grams of the solution to the poolish.

This was a pain.

So, next time, I just eyeballed about 1/4 of 1/8 tsp of yeast. Both ways turned out fine.

The biggest takeaway for me from making both of these breads is that, so long as the bread is handled firmly but gently and the loaf is well-shaped, the crumb can still be very open without a super gloppy dough. The baguettes, for instance, are just 66 percent hydration and the ciabatta is 73 percent. Of course, the poolish probably helps, since it denatures the protein and makes it more extensible. All the same, the lesson for me stands - good handling goes a long way towards getting an open crumb.

Sourdough is still my preference, but, wow, I'd forgotten how tasty a good, simple loaf of French bread is: nutty, buttery with a strong wheaty flavor that lasts, and lasts, and lasts.

Here's the photographic results. Recipes are below.

Poolish Baguettes

I'm finally starting to the hang of shaping these buggers.


I cut these in half the next day to make garlic bread and cheese bread to go with pasta.


Ciabatta with Poolish

This is, without doubt, the prettiest ciabatta I've ever made. I didn't score it - it just opened up on its own.


And an interior shot. Not as open as some ciabattas I've seen, but open enough for me. Next time, I'll bump the hydration up to 75 or maybe 78 percent.


Recipes

Poolish Baguettes (Makes 3 demi-baguettes of about 8 oz. each):
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: 5.3 oz
  • Water: 5.3 oz
  • Instant yeast: Just a speck (about 1/32 of a tsp)

Final dough:
  • All of the poolish
  • White flour: 10.7 oz
  • Water: 5.3 oz
  • Salt: 1.5 tsp
  • Instant yeast: 1/2 + 1/8 tsp

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.

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 for about 5 to 10 minutes, 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.

Divide the dough into three pieces, and preshape into rounds. Cover and let them rest about 20 minutes. Then shape into baguettes 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.

Ciabatta with Poolish (Makes one 1.5 lb loaf):
Overall formula:
  • White flour: 100%
  • Water: 73%
  • Salt: 2%
  • Instant yeast: 0.36%
  • 30% of the flour is pre-fermented as a poolish at 100% hydration with .07% yeast


This is all in grams, because I used my spreadsheet - Hamelman uses ounces.

Poolish:
  • White flour: 136 grams
  • Water: 136 grams
  • Instant yeast: Just a speck (about 1/32 of a tsp or 1/10 of a gram)

Final dough:
  • All of the poolish
  • White flour: 318 grams
  • Water: 195 grams
  • Salt: 9 grams
  • Instant yeast: A heaping 1/8 tsp or .5 grams

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.

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 let it sit for one hour. At one hour, give it a stretch and fold, followed by two more every 30 minutes. Then let it ferment for one more hour, for a total of 3 hours bulk fermentation.

Remove the dough onto a well floured surface, and pat it out into a rectangle, carefully degassing any truly gigantic bubbles that you noticee. Let it rest for about 90 minutes.

Tranfer to the oven, dimpling it with your fingers if you desire, onto a hot stone at 460 degrees with steam for about 35 minutes or so. Let it rest one hour before slicing.

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