The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

I'm looking to make a yeasty tasting but good bread, but I'm not ready for sour dough yet's picture

I'm looking to make a yeasty tasting but good bread, but I'm not ready for sour dough yet

I'm looking to make a yeasty tasting but good bread, but I'm not ready for sour dough yet. Any suggestions?

G-man's picture

Hey Rocky_Creek, welcome to the forums.

It sounds like what you're looking for is a poolish or a biga, which consists of just making some of the dough a day ahead of time. Mix equal parts flour and water (subtracting those amounts from the final recipe), add a much smaller portion of yeast than you would use for a regular dough, cover and let it sit over night.

This is one I made yesterday for Christmas dinner. I was aiming for a 1,000g loaf, about mid-size. I hope you don't mind a blend of weights and measures, I work with what I have:

200g/7oz flour

200g/7oz water

1/4tsp yeast

Mix those together, cover and leave on the counter overnight. If you'll be longer than about 8 hours put it in the fridge. It can sit for a while but I wouldn't wait longer than 3 days. More time = more flavor, but there is a peak and after peak it goes downhill.

On the day of the bake, add:

425g/14oz flour

175g/6oz water

a little under a Tbsp yeast

12.5g/0.45oz salt.

Mix, autolyze 30 minutes, knead, let rise about 30 minutes, shape, rise. Preheat oven to 450, slash your bread, spray the top with a bit of water and put in the oven. After 15 minutes, set oven to 375. After another 15 minutes, turn oven off and open the door a crack. Let the bread rest in cooling oven 10 minutes.

The crust should end up browned but not hard.


You could also go with the old dough method, which is pretty much just what it sounds like: Reserve a portion of the dough from a loaf you're making and use it as a starting point for your next loaf. You can keep it going indefinitely.

Emelye's picture

Using a pre-ferment like a poolish, biga or pate firmantee (old dough) is a great way to add flavor to your bread.  You can use varying amounts to see which flavor you like the best.  Peter Reinhart, in "The Bread Baker's Apprentice," uses up to 50% of the flour weight (not counting the flour in the pre-ferment) of the formula.  If you use whole what flour in your pre-ferment you get a different flavor profile as well, even if you use white flour in the rest of the formula.

Another method, one that I haven't tried yet, is to use old bread that has been baked already, also known as altus (iirc).  A search on this site should get you more information on that than I could provide.  Good luck!


G-man's picture

I definitely recommend using whole wheat in the preferment. It changes the flavor and texture of the final product quite a lot.'s picture

Great information guys. Thanks.