Effects of fermentation and soaking question
I don't know whether this question is geeky, but anyway: most lean dough recipes I've seen call for a poolish/biga fermented for a few hours (or retarded overnight) and then mixed in with a significant quantity of flour (let's say half poolish and half fresh flour or some such) to create dough, which is then again fermented for a small number of hours and then baked. I've a few questions about the effects of these:
- What if I make the entire dough, yeast and all, ferment for a couple of hours (or not at all), then retard overnight, de-chill and bake, versus create poolish, mix retarded poolish with fresh flour to create dough and bake? (The "Gosselin Method" in BBA is like the former). Is there a difference in flavor between these methods?
- Instead of using a preferment, what if we just use the entire flour quantity called for as a soaker, and then mix the soaked dough (unsalted and unyeasted dough) the next day with yeast and salt and then ferment for 3 hours and bake? I believe this is the original Gosselin method. What would be the flavor difference for this method vs the above two?
- I've read books where they say "too much preferment sours the bread". From my minimal amount of baking, this doesn't seem true if you retard the preferment quickly. In fact, the Gosselin method in BBA is basically all preferment. Does that sound right, or is my taste too undeveloped?:)
Essentially, the first two questions boils down to this: we can soak all the flour overnight, or some large percentage of it. We can add yeast to all the dough overnight, or some large percentage of it. If we're retarding, we can retard immediately after mixing the dough(if we do the BBA Gosselin)/poolish(most other things) or we can retard a couple of hours later. These 3 variables create 8 different combinations, and I'm wondering is there a marked difference between the various combinations. I suppose a better question would be about the effects of all the variables involved. Bread geeks, help!
I'm not a consistent enough bread baker to try all this and say that "the difference in taste is because of this method vs that method", nor do I have strictly controlled conditions, hence I thought I would ask.