The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Poolish question

rustica's picture
rustica

Poolish question

Hello,

I made a poolish following the Peter Reinhart BBA book last night in the hopes of making a ciabatta this weekend. However, before the poolish was quite done rising, I fell asleep, and it fermented for about 11 hours. :((  Is my poolish toast now? or can I still  use it in a ciabatta?

Any ideas?

 Thanks

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Your poolish should be fine. Use it!

BROTKUNST's picture
BROTKUNST

Indeed, your poolish should be fine since the yeast will multiply less quickly in a more liquid medium than in something more firm like a pate fermente. There should be plenty of food and 'space' for the yeast to a) not run out of food and b) not to poison itself with alcohol within 11 hours.

However, you may want to read this thread before you start the BBA Ciabatta: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/2117/ciabatta-challenge-bba-recipe

Being aware of the experience others had with this formula may save you some trouble or disappointment. It may be a good idea to  borrow some of the procedures of the M. Glezer's ciabatta formula in 'Artisan Baking Across America'. Keep the hydration higher than what PR suggest in the 'initial' formula. He comments on a side line to go higher with the hydration eventually, which may be at first more intimidating - but it is indeed necessary for a better, open-crumb ciabatta.

BROTKUNST

bakerson's picture
bakerson

I agree with Floydm. If it was really hot in your kitchen, and if the poolish fell back in on itself or smells fermented, then I'd consider throwing it out. Otherwise, I'd give it a try. Good luck.

rustica's picture
rustica

Thank you for all your replies!

Bakerson, the poolish did smell like alcohol this morning when stuck my nose into the container, but it was still a bit bubbly and airy. I guess I will give it a try and see how it turns out.

Brotkunst, funny you should mention that link regarding making ciabatta's. My first attempt of making the BBA ciabatta did end up rather dense and unsatisfactory, but after following the changes Zolablue suggested I was able to come up with a better crumb and holes!

This is my third round at making a good ciabatta! At this rate, I am going to have to distribute bread to the neighborhood :)

Elagins's picture
Elagins

I've found yeast to be incredibly hardy, especially when it's feeding on wheat flour (far less so with rye, which ferments away much faster). I've gone as long as two weeks without feeding my sourdough starter and then rebuilt it from under a cup to 4-5 times that amount in a matter of 24 hours or less.

Worst case scenario is that your poolish may have picked up some airborne wild yeasts, which in my view is not a bad thing.

If you have any doubts about the quality of your poolish, just give it another feeding (1:1 flour/water) with no additional yeast. It should come bubbling back in an hour or two.

BROTKUNST's picture
BROTKUNST

Since we talked about M.Glezer's Ciabatta (the Craig Ponsford version) .... this is what came out of my oven last night:

 

 

My Biga did not quite tripple in 20 hours but it was nevertheless very well expanded. I added an Autolyse of 30 minutes for the flour and water (without yeast, Biga and salt). Later for proofing I did not use my couche - I would expect that the loaves would just stick to the couche although it had been floured thoroughly.

 

I think there are four things important for a good Ciabatta: Folding, folding, folding and folding.

 

The loaves smelled by the way like heaven and the taste was remarkably intense.

 

Here a tip for anyone who has not baked this before: I use a 10"x9" dough scraper (14 Ga stainless steel sheet) to fold the dough during bulk fermentation. I spray the counter lightly with water and I make sure that the surface of my scraper has been dipped into water before the fold. I don't think it's good advice to flour the work area because one easily folds raw flour into the loaf. Initially the dough is just one big 'blob', but after the forth fold you'll see that you are on the right track. I decided not to use my couches for proofing ... this dough may just end up sticking on them. Instead I used oiled and floured parchment paper for proofing. I removed the paper after the covered ovenspring period (11 minutes).

 

BROTKUNST

 

BROTKUNST's picture
BROTKUNST

One more photo ... a close-up of the crumb

 

M.Glezer, Craig Ponsford's Ciabatta Formula

M.Glezer, Craig Ponsford's Ciabatta Formula

 

BROTKUNST

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

that make one want to lick the screen! Beautiful! I'd love to try this. Do you think I could fold the dough on a wooden cutting board with water? It's a huge board. I have tiled counter tops..that would be a huge mess!!

BROTKUNST's picture
BROTKUNST

:) That would keep the screen free of dust ! Thank You, Paddyscake.

 

I think you will have no problem with the wooden board - you may want to make sure that it is well seasoned (oiled) so that it will not soak up the thin layer of water too quickly. Maybe a lighter wooden board would tend to slide on the counter when you fold the dough (?) A full size baking sheet would not absorb water but you definitely would have to secure the sheet from sliding around - an inexpensive anti-slip mat like for carpets could solve that problem.

 

 

Most important is a wide-enough scraper - for folding and for placing the dough back in the rising bucket. You will have the dough on the board for just a brief moment.

 

 

Good luck with the formula ... I think the success will be almost guaranteed when you follow the steps in ABAA. I think that a benefit of my added Autolyse may be marginal considering the thin flour/water mixture but keeping -against the instructions- the flour off the counter and then the doughs off the couches is worth a second look.

 

BROTKUNST

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

All you need is a damp dish towel underneath the board and it won't slip or slide. So, I think I'm good to go, just have to get a bigger bench scraper. Thanks for the advice!

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Very well lit images of a beautiful bread. It looks like natural light without flash.  Are you using Photoshop and layers to build your product images? I have enjoyed your artistic flair in the posts.

Eric

BROTKUNST's picture
BROTKUNST

:) Thank you for noticing ... I try to avoid the flash whenever possible. My Olympus is not advanced enough to shoot natural pictures with flash. So I usually wait for the next morning (and takes pictures of whatever survived the evening before)

I use Paintshop Pro 8 to arrange the presentation ... just something I like to do. I print the pictures on a Canon C-200 postcard printer with the formula and notes written on the back. The C-200 prints are waterproof and are very durable.

BROTKUNST

KipperCat's picture
KipperCat

I'm full, and I still want to eat that!  Where on earth did you find a 10" x 9" dough scraper? I can see where that would come in very handy for transporting cut veggies also.

weavershouse's picture
weavershouse

Brotkunst, the photos of the crumb of your ciabatta are so beautiful it made me get busy. I've been loafing because I want to use up some of the bread in the freezer. I can't wait any longer. Great job!                              weavershouse

BROTKUNST's picture
BROTKUNST

Thank You, Weavershouse.

I think M. Glezer offered really the ultimate formula for Ciabatta. I tried, I think, every ciabatta formula from the other major publications but M.Glezer's seems to be rather easy to reproduce. The small adjustments in my procedure are insignificant compared to the whole concept - In my opinion it's important though to keep the flour off the counter, to rather use water or a water/oil-spray mix on the counter and to bake the first 11-14 min with a cover (Turkey Roaster Lid). Also the door of the oven has to be open a little to produce the crackling-crispy thin crust.

Without rolling myself in the cake here I have to say this was the best Ciabatta I have ever had .... including the ones I had in Europe.

On one of the next batches I want to see what difference KAF's Artisan Flour or Diastatic Barley Malt would make ... the current result is though already all I was looking for: The wheaty flavour, the open texture and the CRUST !

I think this loaf is a good example that All Purpose flour indeed gives you a slightly superior flavour than Bread Flour.

I like also the convenience of this formula ... if you prepared the Biga the day before you will have your Ciabatta on the table within less than 4 hours Start-to-Finish - Just in time  for dinner maybe even when you have to work.

BROTKUNST

rustica's picture
rustica

I have to say the 12 hour poolish turned out to be one of the tastiest breads I've eaten. The flavor was much better than the 3-4 hour poolish that I had been making previously. The problem I am running into however is that I just don't seem to be getting the holes that BROTKUNST boasts about in his amazing photography! Are those real :)

I don't have the Gleyzer book, but I have been following these posts and using the BBA Reinhart book. Here's what I have been doing, and perhaps you can point out my mistake.

After I add the poolish and make the dough and let it rest for about 3 hours or doubled in size, I cut the dough in half so it's easy to shape it later. Then I fold it letter style, but usually during this folding, it degasses quite a bit and falls a bit flat. I've tried folding from 2 - 4 times, but each time the results have been the same. I get good flavor, a decent crust, but very few holes to boast about.

How can I get more holes??

browndog's picture
browndog

Rustica, I wonder if you mean that you aren't doing any folding at all for the first, bulk fermentation, and then folding as much as 2-4 times when you're getting ready to shape it? I don't know the BBA recipe, but unless it's radically different from Glezer, most of your folding should be done in the first couple hours of bulk fermentation, not after.

bwraith's picture
bwraith

Rustica,

I may not have read above carefully enough, so maybe you've done all of these things already. However, to get big irregular holes, I would suggest the following.

1) Don't mix the ciabatta dough too much initially. Develop the gluten later, when you do the folding, not first thing during mixing. In the mixer, just mix it enough to get everything mixed together. It should bw very wet and not clear the sides of the mixer bowl as suggested in BBA but instead should be almost like a batter, not a dough. Just run the mixer enough to mix up the ingredients and not much more than that.

2) It should be very wet. The BBA poolish recipe is too dry. You need to add at least several ounces more water to the formula in the BBA. It will seem like mud after you first mix it, but if you are patient with it, the gluten will develop in a couple of hours with about 2 to 3 folding sessions separated by 30 minutes each.

3) Use AP flour, not bread flour.

4) Use water on your hands and the counter to avoid getting the dough too dry with flour from the folding process. Don't worry about it seeming very muddy. It should spread out over the counter for the first few folds all by itself over the course of a minute or so if it is wet enough. AFter about 3 folding sessions, it should seem more like a dough, but still a bit wet.

5) Use a fair amount of flour on the counter for the final shaping. That will give you the characteristic flour streaks of a ciabatta.

Bill

BROTKUNST's picture
BROTKUNST

Here is another picture from last night's batch. What you see is exactly what you'll get when you follow (for the most part) M.Glezer's intructions ... the formula she offered will yield this much bread:

 

 

 

BROTKUNST