The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Baguette Poolish

Wei Hrn's picture
Wei Hrn

Baguette Poolish

I kept the poolish in an airtight container for about 4 hours now. Will the poolish be alright? I've open the cover now. Will it still rise?

petercook's picture
petercook

Hello, Your Poolish should be fine but that depends upon how much yeast you use. The recipe I use takes 14 hours. 1/4 cup of bottled water, 1/8 tsp of dried yeast. Mix and set aside.  In a one liter bowl add 90 gm of bottled water, 20 gm of Whole wheat flour, 8o gm of unbleached All Purpose flour, Then take 2 tsp of the yeasted water and add to the poolish. (throw away the rest of the yeasted water). Beat BY HAND WITH A SPOON about one minute. This preferment is a 100% hydration and the amounts used need to be subtracted from your dough recipe. I cover the poolish but leave a slight vent so it can breathe. Leave on the counter for 14 hours (at room temp, about 68-72 F). In the morning the poolish will have risen by double and the top will be covered with hundreds of tiny bubbles. This poolish develops much lactic acid (super mild) and it delivers a wonderful flavor to your bread. CAUTION: do not destroy your hard won flavor by machine kneading too much. Good baking to you.

Wei Hrn's picture
Wei Hrn

Why only 2 teaspoon? how does your poolish smells? My poolish have alcohol smell.

noonesperfect's picture
noonesperfect

It is very difficult to measure out extremely small amounts of yeast.  One way to do it is to put an easily measured amount into a cup of water, mix it well, and then use only a small amount of that yeasted water in your poolish.  You want to use very small amounts of yeast so that you don't get so much activity that the gluten begins to degrade or the yeast die from lack of food.

The alcohol smell is a indication that you have too much yeast activity.  The poolisis ay still be okay, but you should probably use less yeast next time.

 

Brad

Wei Hrn's picture
Wei Hrn

Then I need to use really really really less yeast. The alcohol smells strong. So What is the formula to measure small amount of yeast?

petercook's picture
petercook

First there is no exact formula for making a Pooish. There are probably as many ways to make it as there are bakers. But, that said, and this is only my opinion, but I believe that the alcohol smell is a good thing. Alcohol is one of several things which produce good tasting bread. Since I want to create a long preferment, to develop flavor, I know that I MUST do one of 3 things. A). retard it in the frig (which changes the organic acids and hence the flavor) B). Increase or decrease the hydration percentage (again the change in flavor) or C). dramatically reduce the yeast amount. Now, if I am going for a mild, faintly nut-like flavor, I use a 100% hydration Poolish with a TINY amount of yeast. So, in my example above I use LESS THAN 1/32nd of a tsp of yeast for a 14 hour preferment. How do you measure such a small amount? Simple. Measure out 1/4th cup of water in a very smal bowl. Add only 1/8th tsp of dry yeast, stir and set aside for a few mintes. Stir again and measure out 2 tsps of the YEASTED WATER and add to the flour and water. Throw away the remaining YEASTED WATER. P.S. in 1/4th cup of water there are 4 tablespoons and there are 3 teaspoons in a tablespoon so, that means there are 12 teaspoons of water in 1/4th cup and, in this case we are using only 2 out of the 12. Hopes this helps. Also, next time you get that alcohol smell go ahead and make your bread, If you don't like the taste then all you have wasted is a little time and a little flour.

Wei Hrn's picture
Wei Hrn

Is that means that I can take any amount of flour, water and yeast from the overall recipe to create my own poolish? I though the alcohol smell means the poolish is spoil because it doesn't smells like bread.. haha. Now i know that it is a good sign that my poolish I active. Does the yeast measuring method same for instant dry yeast and active dry yeast? I am using instant dry yeast.

petercook's picture
petercook

Yes, you can take any amout of flour, water, and yeast away from your bread recipe to create your own Poolish. However, you need to be aware that in very long preferments other things happen; like enzyme development that will change your dough. Most commonly, bakers use between 20-40% of the total flour to make a preferment. Also, you can do other things like changing the hydration % in your preferment which, of course, changes the flavor. EXAMPLE: a sponge uses only about 62% hydration and it usually is retarded in the frig. This develops different organic acids (sharper flavor: a little bit more sour) it all depends on what tastes good to you. I encourage you to search the web sites and look for preferments, sponge, poolish, biga and old dough. Good baking to you.

Sean McFarlane's picture
Sean McFarlane

Destroy flavor with kneading?

I am not certain i know what your talking about as far as this goes? Can you elaborate on your train of thought for me?

petercook's picture
petercook

Yes, it's quite simple really. When MACHINE kneading a dough two negative things happen. First concerns heat build-up due to friction. And the 2nd is areation of the dough which causes oxidation. Both of these things lead to tremendous loss of flavor. Especially in a lean dough like baguette dough. It is not possible to go into much detail as it would take many pages. If you would like to study up on this you can look up Professor Raymond Calvel and his "Improved Mix Method". In short, people in France complained that bread had lost it's flavor. Calvel determined the new electric powered mixers (many, many decades ago) were the problem. Please note that hand kneading DOES NOT cause this problem. Basically, he came up with a method of a short, low speed mix, followed by 20 min autolyse, followed by a short 2nd kneading at a slightly higher speed produced a much better bread than the "Intensive Mix". His method was a compromise between the laboreous hand kneading (which produced the best tasting bread) and the labor saving high intensity machine kneading (which saved the baker time and money and a lot of sweat) but produced an inferior bread with a VERY SHORT shelf life. Hope this helps you get started.

Sean McFarlane's picture
Sean McFarlane

I think you missunderstod me I didn't ask the question for myself.

That being said i would'nt want people to be dissuaded to shy away from machine kneading, and done properly the results can be just as good as hand kneading.

I was asking for elaboration because comments like that might scare some newer bakers, thanks.