The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Using Old Dough to start Poolish?

djones148's picture

Using Old Dough to start Poolish?

Have any of you ever tried saving a small piece of dough from a previous batch and using that to start a Poolish or other preferment instead of commercial yeast? Over time could any lactobacillus or wild yeast start to come into the picture if you continued doing it?

I saw Steve Sullivan used this technique with his mixed-starter bread in Baking with Julia, and I've heard some people speak positively about the results they've had from that recipe. 

suave's picture

You can do it, yes, but I would not do it more than once, since eventually it will sour.  In particular case of Sullivan's recipe I've seen people complaining about dull grey crumb and sour taste when they let the starter ferment a bit too long.  I baked it a few times without a hitch, and it's a nice bread, and a technique worth trying, although I'd say the procedure is a bit too invlolved for a basic French bread.

BvN's picture

I make beer. One of the concepts in the zymological world is culturing your own yeast  strains. Beer and bread yeast are the same species. Friends have reported success (no contamination) with culturing their own strains for over a year. The medium of reproduction is malt extract (to feed the yeast) and hops (an anti-bacterial) rather than dough. Sanitizing (kitchen) processes and the use of air locks keeps contamination at bay. The yeast produce CO2 which expels the air & airborn particles - the advantage of a liquid over a semi-plastic solid culture medium.

I am currently developing a "setting a sponge" best practice for using liquid, pitchable yeast in my dough. At the moment, I have a sponge in process and I hope it sets correctly. Like the fermentation of beer, this process is 100% room temperature. Wish me luck.

I am testing with 1 Tbs yeast slurry (cultured from Wyeast #1058), 1/2 cup holy beer, 1 cup de-clorinated, aerated water, and 1 cup bread flour. This will go into an Italian bread - which is very similar to a basic French, but without the sucrose.

Why? I don't like the cloying taste of sucrose (table sugar) in my bread. I want a more complex "fullness", which I hope to get from maltose and dexadrines. I also don't like the off-flavors (just my opinion) caused by lactic acids (sour dough).

I have used beer in my sauses and gravys for years. I deglaze my pans with beer rather than wine. I make my own beer because I got "addicted" to live, cask conditioned beer while working in England. Dead beer (pasturized or filtered - as required by US sanitation laws) just doesn't taste right - the after taste is dirty. The B complex vitamines can't hurt :-) After all, I am drinking live brewer's yeast !