The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Whole Grain Poolish/Biga Formula

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Whole Grain Poolish/Biga Formula

Looking for a formula that does not use a mature sourdough starter but instead a biga/poolish type of preferment, but also has whole grain flour or at the very least whole wheat flour.  I have looked through the site and can not really find much whole grain/whole wheat breads that use a non-sourdough starter preferment.  Maybe there's a reason for this?

Formulas with any of the following flours would be appreciated:

Spelt, Stone ground whole wheat, Whole wheat, Rye



Franko's picture

Hi John,


Funny you should ask as I just happen to have made something along that line earlier this week. Not sure if the formula below is exactly what you're looking for, but adjust the ingredients and percentages any which way you see fit. The formula as is makes a good everyday loaf for sandwiches, is fairly quick to make and has excellent flavour. Hope this helps, and if you have any questions just ask and I'll get back to you.

All the best,


Multi-Grain Loaf with Preferment  
AP Flour100.00%107.3
ripen 12-16hrs @ 70F  
Multi-Grain Soaker  
7-Grain Cereal Mix100.00%180
Final Dough 1350
AP Flour80.00%378
Whole Wheat Flour20.00%94
Malt Syrup2.50%12
Sea Salt2.50%12
Multi-Grain Soaker80.00%378
DDT- 76F BF- 60-90 minutes Bulk Ferment  
with 1xSF in bowl at 40 minutes  
Total Formula  
Total Flour100.00%580
AP Flour83.70%485
Whole Wheat Flour16.30%94
7-Grain Cereal Mix31.04%180
Malt Syrup2.04%12
Sea Salt2.04%12
Total % and Weight232.88%1350
Total estimated hydration74.34%431
Total prefermented flour18.5%107


mini_maggie's picture

I've made the sponge recipe on page 8:

I like it best with yogurt or buttermilk, IMO.  Haven't tried keeping the sponge longer than overnight.

Forkish has a 50% whole wheat with biga, with all the white flour in the biga and all the whole wheat in the final dough...

dabrownman's picture

loaf looks killer.  You can also convert any SD recipe you like to  poolisj by dropping the SD and taking 15 % of the total flour and water to make the poolish.  Once the poolish is near ripe, just autolyse the rest of the flour and water and go about making bread like you always do - things will just happen faster is all - probably no need for a retard.

Happy baking John 

Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Thanks for the suggestions everyone.  I think I will go with Franko's formula less the malt.  Maggie, your spelt idea sounds nice too.  Dabrownman, thanks for that info...does poolish act any different with whole grain flours than a sourdough culture?  I think I am over thinking this poolish thing. 


daddio's picture

Does anyone have some experience with a combination of sourdough leaven and poolish?
I have been experimenting with Chad robertson's bread book (not the new one, havent got it yet), and for his baguette dough he's using both. I really like the added flavor the leaven adds in combination with the poolish, and I was thinking to do the same with some freshly milled organic 70% whole grain i was lucky to receive (not simple to find it where i live).

I'm going to try tomorrow the following:

100g poolish (made with 50/50 bread/ww mix, 3g yeast)
200g sourdough leaven (same flour mix)
800g water
25g salt
1kg flour (800g WW 200g bread flour)




Song Of The Baker's picture
Song Of The Baker

Like you, I have been wanting to try Chad's baguette formula which uses both levain and poolish.  Haven't got around to trying it though.  Let me know how it goes.


daddio's picture

I made the baguette dough from chad several times, it is excellent. I actually used the same dough for pizza and focaccias, the addition of leaven is definitely noticable flavor wise.
Of course making baguette using a home oven is never going to yield the same results as using a steam combo oven (believe me, i tried all methods to steam up a home oven for the first 10-20 minutes of baking, its practically impossible to achieve), the soaked towels method seems to be the most consistent, yet its a mess.. can't tell how many times my wife gave me the evil eye after a bagutte baking session (3-4 towels when proofing, plus 4-5 soaked towels :) ). I use baguette molds and alternating them on top of a baking stone in a steaming oven. I lose the nice bottom crust from baking directly on the stone, but i can bake 6 mini loaves at once this way.

Anyhows :) the WW with leaven + poolish is autolysing now, will keep you posted maybe with some photos.
I assume bulk rising and proofing times will be shorter as i added the poolish (as comapred with using only sourdough culture)


daddio's picture

I think i like what i see :) indeed my shaping skills need work, especially with such a wet dough, but 4 hours bulk fermentation were sufficient to be able to work with it +3 more hours final proofing. baked in cast iron for 20 minutes with lid on, and 20 off.
The taste is a light whole wheat, with slight sourness, but not enough to be considered sourdough.

I think i'm going to continue this route :) my wife seems to be happy with this already as a good sandwich bread for herlself and our daughter (which is the real parameter :) )

(Sorry if the photo is inverted..)