Colomba with poolish
I implemented this recipe for the classical easter cake "colomba" from an italian pastry chef
but with some adaptions. The recipe calls for a stiff sourdough, something that I really detest because it requires many more attentions that I want to dedicate it and because it involves a lot of risks for the taste (acidity is always around the corner, not something you will like in a cake).
I replaced the stiff sourdough with two consecutive poolishes amounting to the same amount of flour; the water in excess was subtracted from the first dough. Moreover I started with my rye sourdough (100% hydratation), but in many other occasions my friends and I used a plain white wheat or durum wheat sourdough without the slightest problem.
Salt is essential to relent the enzymatic rection that deteriorates the gluten, thus I moved it from the second to the first dough. When I didn't I had a lot of failures.
This kind of cakes requires the use of a very strong flours. I used a "canadian" one (in italy they are called "manitoba", W >= 350).
The original recipe amounts to 1.5 KG; I rescaled the ingredients to get to 1 KG.
First poolish: 13 gr sourdough, 13 of flour (depends on your starter, mine was rye), 14 of water. Let triple.
Second poolish: add 40 gr of water and 40 of very high gluten/canadian flour. Let triple.
flour 260 gr
butter 70 gr
sugar 70 gr
2 egg yolks
water 80+ gr (I used 80 gr of egg whites, instead)
salt 4 gr
mix water, eggs, sugar and salt, dissolve very well and add 100 gr of flour; whip to create a smooth cream, add the poolish, mix well, add the remaining flour and work to get a smooth dough, add the butter in 2 turns and knead until the dough is perfectly smooth and elastic. It's sticky, better use a kneading machine or a bread machine (as I did). Let double in a warm environment.
mix 20 gr of sugar (I used 50) with 60 gr of flour and knead them in the dough, add 2 egg yolks (one at a time) and 1 teaspoon of honey, mix until they are perfectly embedded, add 55 gr of butter and knead the dough until it's perfectly elastic. Add some vanilla extract, some orange zest ( I used the grated zest of two lemons, instead) and 200 gr of candied orange zest, mix until they are perfectly distributed and let the dough rest for one hour.
Fold the dough and fill the mould as explained in the pictures in the linked article and let rise in a warm environment until the dough gets 2 cm below the border of the mould.
Cover the surface with the almond glaze (I changed it: 100 gr of almond finely chopped with 20 gr of durum flour and 120 of sugar, then mixed with enough egg white to get a very very dense cream), spread some almond on top of the glaze and cook at 180°C for 50 minutes.
This is the last I made, of the many;)
Unfortunately the glaze cracked because of the incredible oven spring.
The texture was a bit of a disappointment because it didn't come out as open-crumbed as in many other occasions. Taste is wondeful ;)