The Fresh Loaf

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I stopped using a poolish and still get great flavor

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booch221's picture
booch221

I stopped using a poolish and still get great flavor

I've always used a poolish for my no knead bread recipe. It called for one cup of APF and 6 oz of water and 1/8 teaspoon of  instant yeast. I would let it ferment over night and then mix it with 7 oz of bread flour, 2 oz semolina flour, 1-1/4 teaspoons of salt, 4 oz water, and another 1/8 teaspoon of yeast. I would let this triple in size (5-6 hours) and then refrigerate it overnight before baking. 

This takes a long time but makes a great smelling and tasty loaf of bread.

One day I decided to just mix all the dry ingredients and add 1/4 teaspoon of instant yeast and 10 oz of water. It takes about eight hours to rise, and still benefited from a night in the fridge, but it came out tasting the same as the bread made with the poolish. In a blind taste test, I don't think I could tell which was which. Others felt the same way.

This new method saves time and labor.

I suppose you could say, I was still making a poolish,  except I was using all the ingredients in the recipe, instead of just a portion.

Any thoughts on this? 

I've modified my no knead bread recipe on The Fresh Loaf.

More pictures of the entire process are here.

 

gary.turner's picture
gary.turner

Reinhart, in Artisan Bread Every Day, reached the same conclusion. Think of it as pre-fermenting the whole loaf. I do the same for most breads, except that I mix to the desired strength, then move to the refrigerator immediately for an overnight, slow ferment.

You can produce different flavor profiles by varying the hydration, time, and temperature of a pre-ferment, which is not as easy with a whole dough, not to mention the effects of soakers. For myself, I get a much more intensive flavor boost for lean breads using a poolish than I do with a retarded whole dough ferment.

cheers,

gary

booch221's picture
booch221

Thanks for the feedback.

So when you say "I mix to the desired strength" are you refering to how much yeast you put in? 

If I was going to move to the refrigerator immediately for an overnight, slow ferment, would I have to increase the amount of yeast in my recipe?

Now I'm using 1/4 teaspoon of instant yeast for 3 cups of flour.

gary.turner's picture
gary.turner

By strength, I mean the degree of gluten development. That may or may not be the correct term. For example, my sister likes a melt in your mouth toast, while I prefer a chewy, almost tough crumb. I mix the enriched loaves I give her to a weak translucent pane, and my own to a nearly transparent pane through which you can almost see the whorls of my fingerprint. Likewise, lean breads are mixed to pull a moderately strong translucent pane.

I tend to use more yeast than you, but the amount depends on your conditions, needs and methods. If the amount used, at your rising temperature, gives the rise time you want, then all is well.

cheers,

gary

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

Generally speaking, the longer the fermentation process the greater the flavor of the bread, within the limits of the gluten's tolerance for yeast and lactic acid activity.  What you have described could certainly produce a fine loaf of bread.  It would be interesting to blind taste test the two methods to a large panel of refined trained palates such as those in the wine or coffee trade.   The difference in taste between a really good loaf of bread and a great loaf of bread is subtle.

Jeff

taurus430's picture
taurus430

why you used a poolish for no knead recipe. The Lehey original recipe never called for a poolish nor does ABin5. Just mix it all and set it on the counter overnight for 18 hrs. Just curious as to how you started for no knead recipe using a poolish?

booch221's picture
booch221

" Just curious as to how you started for no knead recipe using a poolish?"

I saw it in a Focaccia recipe and thought I'd try it in no knead bread. My first no knead loaves were not very good. I just kept experimenting with all aspects of the recipes (flour types, hydration level, yeast, fermentation time, etc) until I got something I liked. The poolish seemed to make a tastier loaf than I was getting without it.  But to be honest, I went through so many iterations that I lost track of all the changes I made.  I think I mistakenly attributed flavor to the poolish that was coming from somewhere else. So it was a pleasant surprise to find I didn't need it after all.

Perhaps it was the combination of flours. For the poolish I would use all purpose. For the dough I would use bread flour and semolina. This makes a better loaf than using all bread flour or all APF.

 

 

 

taurus430's picture
taurus430

Jim Lehey's no knead explosion started with Mark Bittman in 2006. I came upon this in 2008 by accident and been baking this along with variations since. I saw this on YouTube and followed up baking it exactly as directed and never had a bad loaf. Any problems I'd be glad to help!