The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


coffeetester's picture


Two different trains of thought are going on now. I am trying to learn the in's and out's of starting a sourdough starter. The second is I want to learn to bake really nice bread. Here is my dilemma:


1. My SD starter is only 3 days old and no where ready to start producing SD starter

2. I want to bake this weekend


I have done a couple of white loaf's in the past. I have used a baking stone and my cast iron bread pan (Rectangular and 3" tall). To bake this weekend I want to produce something SD like but am not sure how. Should I look at Poolish like they use in

Will this emulate the SD process. I want to practice getting a starter ready in advance to work out the timing issues associated with good SD artisan bread. Should I go with a basic white bread that has a relatively short rise time? I am an experienced cook but want to start practicing to be a good baker (Measure and weighing).

So my other question is baking technique: I want to use my Lodge 12" Cast Iron camping Dutch oven

There were a couple of good articles associated with using Dutch Ovens here to bake. Start with 500 degree oven with DO inside oven for an hour. Slide Boule into hot oven and reduce temp to 450 and bake for 30 minutes. Remove cover and bake until internal temp is "X" (Need to look it up but I think its 205).

As a starting bread baker I am expecting some failure but just want to bake some bread that tastes decent and is cooked correctly.




G-man's picture

I have used a poolish a couple times, mostly using a bit of unripe starter along with some yeast. The flavor was interesting. It is definitely not as deep as bread made with sourdough starter and nothing else, but it also isn't as relatively bland as bread made with commercial yeast. The bread will rise in about the same amount of time as any other yeasted bread and the method will be similar to other yeasted breads, with the exception of letting the poolish ferment overnight. Whatever you do, make sure you don't get any of that commercial yeast in your starter. There is citric acid available powdered, sour salt, if you want to make a sour bread, but it won't be sourdough unless you use a mature starter.


I have never personally used a cast iron dutch oven to bake bread so can't speak about what type of bread it produces. I have used a cast iron pan, which produced a pretty good loaf, but I'm willing to bet they're different enough that using one doesn't give any insight into using the other.


coffeetester's picture

That is very true. You could also say the same about cooks and bakers. One does not lead to the other.


I am going to try this method for baking

MadAboutB8's picture

I've made rustic bread and french bread (Hamelman's recipe) using poolish that was made 12-16 hours before making the final dough.

Even though the flavour were not exactly identical to sourdough, they still tasted really nice. They also got natural sweetness from a long fermentation from poolish.