The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

PRE_FERMENT FLOUR PERCENTAGES

PaulZ's picture
PaulZ

PRE_FERMENT FLOUR PERCENTAGES

Hi all,

I'm relatively new to TFL and have a question (not too dumb I hope-) about PreFerment Flour Percentages. I have just received the latest copy of Hamelman's "Bread" here in South Africa (tks Amazon) and it's (PreFerment Flour Percentage) listed before every formula. Besides gathering info in the book that a higher percentage increases flavour as well as the keeping qualities, what's the advantage of taking note of the PFFP? How does the percentage help the baker? What are the pros and cons of higher or lower PFFP? What does a PFFP indicate?

(BTW - Dived right into JH "Bread" and tried the Poolish Baguette - hey presto, my best baguettes to date. I wanted to test the shelf-life longevity but the family devoured the four loaves within 2 hours!!!!)

Paul

Johannesburg

 

 

ananda's picture
ananda

Hello Paul,

Not a dumb question at all.

The amount of pre-fermented flour in a bread formula is crucial on many levels, with flavour being an, arguably, over-rated one of these.

Your pre-ferment impacts on: viable yeast activity; bacterial fermentation; dough ripening and strength potential on the positive side....and good flavour and taste.

However, an excess of pre-ferment, or an overly ripened one, will produce flavour which is too sour, too much acid for yeast fermentation, and excess protease activity meaning rapid breakdown of all quality aspects in the dough.

Balance is crucial!   Time, temperature and pre-ferment are all vital to achieving this

Best wishes

Andy

 

proth5's picture
proth5

to Andy's excellent explanation of the baking impact, knowing the percentage of pre fermented flour is crucial to running the calculations for the formula in baker's percentages.

Let's say I want to produce a certain amount of dough - this will give me a certain amount of flour for the total dough.  If I don't know the percentage of pre fermented flour - how can I calculate the amount of flour to be used in the pre ferment?  I can't.

Leaving out this factor is one reason why people get confused with baker's math....

Hope this helps.

Pat

PaulZ's picture
PaulZ

Thanks Pat. I think in essence if one can claculate the biga / poolish as a percentage of the total or overall formula, you'll be able to compute the preferment %. A bit like working out the angles of a triangle. If you know any 2 angles, you can compute the 3rd.

Andy,

Baked and tasted "Bread"'s Pain Rustique which has a 50% preferment. Was great crumb (soft, creamy with full texture and a great crust with enough crispiness to the bite but not enough to remove your dentures!)

proth5's picture
proth5

Well, yes I can work out the math  - but knowing the percentage of the entire pre ferment as a total of the overall formula is a limiting way of expressing things.  My head baker just told me to do the same formula as always, but instead of a liquid pre ferment, we now should do a firm one.

And, oh yes, I'm able to do the math to figure this out, but it would be very much easier if I had expressed the original formula with the percentage of flour pre fermented.

There really is some reasoning behind this - which is why it is slowly becoming a de facto standard.

I've done my time with spreadsheets with the best of them - and this is a simple, elegant way to write a formula...

Pat 

PaulZ's picture
PaulZ

 the picture is becoming a little clearer - bit by bit. From a practical POV, my JH "Beard" Pain Rustique is now 3 days old and the crumb has remained soft and moist, totally edible. (This is is a 50% preferment formula.)

Paul

 

That should be "Bread", not "Beard".!!!!!!!!