The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

My First Poolish

  • Pin It
SusanLR's picture
SusanLR

My First Poolish

Hi--This is my first communication with other amateur bread bakers.  I'm getting back into bread baking, after years of heavenly white loaves and cinnamon rolls, and taking the plunge into artisan breads, especially wheat and whole grain loaves.  It may sound odd, but I'm starting with a recipe for baguettes, then gradually adding wheat/grains to the basic recipe.  Being a rank amateur, I'm getting my supplies from KA Flour/Baker's Catalogue.  Yesterday/today, I attempted a baguette recipe using their European-Style Artisan Flour.  The recipe required a poolish with room temperature pre-fermenting.  Problem: I keep my house at 67 degrees (I'm in the Seattle area so cool is the norm).  The poolish, and later the rising dough, felt COLD, though the poolish did produce some small-ish bubbles, but not the big ones described in the recipe.  I can't figure out how to produce conditions for an ideal, very slow rise atmosphere.  Any ideas?  I really don't want the whole process to take three or four days.

By the way, the final product--two, somewhat lanky baguettes--had a wonderful flavor and a decent texture, but not enough rise.  I'm already sold on the need for poolish, but need some suggestions for a somewhat more yeast-friendly environment.  I will be studying the lessons on this site, but wanted to share this first experience.

Thanks, SusanLR

Comments

Trishinomaha's picture
Trishinomaha

I live in Omaha, NE which can also be coolish especially in the winter. You might try putting the poolish in a cold oven with just the oven light on for heat. That brings the temp to usualy 75 to 80 degrees. Have fun! But remeber-- this can be addicting! lollol

Trish

edh's picture
edh

I live in downeast Maine, in an exceedingly drafty old house; our kitchen is typically around 58 f at night, maybe as high as 65 during the day. This was a real bummer when I was making yeasted sandwich type loaves, as I was always worrying about keeping the dough warm enough, and trying to move it into the living room to be near the wood stove.

I have to say, the discovery of poolish, and slack doughs that rise overnight, not to mention sourdough from this site have made life so much better! The bread I'm making is head and shoulders above what I used to produce, and I just let it sit as long as it needs to in order to rise. I've never had to go longer than overnight. Sometimes I've even stuck it out in my shop (that's more like 45) to slow it down a little. It takes a long time to get back to room temp, but most of my dough feels fairly cool to the touch, but springs just fine in a hot oven.

Come to think of it, I'm not quite sure what will happen come summer; guess I'll have to try retarding in the fridge...

Anyway, my point is don't worry if it's a little cool, just wait a little longer. I don't think it will take 3 or 4 days.

Have fun!

edh

SusanLR's picture
SusanLR

Thanks for the advice from several sources re: house temperature vs. poolish.  Evidently, poolish doesn't seem to mind cool temperatures, just like me.  Unfortunately, my oven light isn't working (thanks, Trish), but now I'm motivated to replace it.  I'm going to let the eventual loaf rise overnight on the counter, just as edh has done.--SusanLR