The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Stick a Fork(ish) in me, I'm done!

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

Stick a Fork(ish) in me, I'm done!

I was on vacation for a week and used my starter for nothing but pancakes (which, because they were watered down, came out more like crepes) and when we came home on Saturday, I knew that my usual tartine bake was not going to fit in with my weekend schedule. 

Fortunately, I had yet to bake from Flour, Water, Salt & Yeast and I decided to give it a go with a <gasp!> 100% All Purpose Flour loaf, using <gasp!> commercial yeast!

Of course, I could not start with a straight dough after eating so many country loaves and whole wheat variants of same, so I opted for the 80% Poolish variety of white bread, figuring that this would keep me from finding the bake overly bland.

This also provided me an opportunity to use my nifty Cambro buckets.

The top bucket has some bizarre i-Phone flash reflection going on. In person, the bucket looks just like the bottom one, only smaller.  The top bucket contains my poolish recently mixed. The bottom photo contains the remaining flour, salt and in the baby food container, the yeast for the final dough.  I was not sure if it was safe to mix the yeast with the flour and salt and let it sit overnight but figured it can be left in a glass jar unrefrigerated and be just fine.

The next morning, my poolish was over-ripe.  The book says it should be rounded on top, and tripled in volume.  Instead, it looked like it had collapsed some because the surface was a bit concave rather than domed.

I dispersed the yeast the following morning and added the poolish into the larger bucket.

I did not remember to photograph the bucket before it was time to shape the dough.  Nor did I photograph the dough in the baskets.  The dough was a lot more pillow-like than my tartine doughs. It was very soft. It was also a bit more difficult to handle because it seemed like it was ready to deflate at any moment. Either that or it was just looser dough.

The finished loaves (a bit blurry) looked pretty good, though I overcooked the bottoms (need to raise the oven rack back up a notch).  They did not burst and I wonder if that is the result of my poolish/biga being overly developed prior to dough mixing.

The truth is, I could hardly tell if I was proofing seam side up or seam side down. But these photos make me think I did it seam-side down since I did no scoring.

And, finally, another crumb shot:

Let me say that the bread was delicious. Even though the bottom was burned a bit, it just added to the flavor. It is a very soft bread, a bit more difficult to cut, but oh so delicious with butter.  It made a delicious grilled cheese sandwich too.

And the following day (today) it made a fantastic peanut butter sandwich.  My wife says I should only make white breads like this, but I did remind her that we've had some delicious wheat and rye breads too and she agreed.  Plus, of course, I have a very expensive grain mill and can't possibly shelve it.

Next time I make this bread, I will mix the poolish a little later in the evening so that it is ready to go closer to 12 hours later.



dabrownman's picture

sandwich bread that would go with anything in between.  So do you like this better than the same one made with sourdough?   I think I would go for the SD version.....Well Done and

Happy Baking

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

I have a difficult time remembering how my breads taste and if I can't eat them side by side, I don't know what I prefer.  Plus, I never made a 100% AP Flour sourdough loaf before.  The sourdough loaves has always contained a portion of whole wheat flour.

I will probably make this loaf again, using 20-30% whole wheat and see how it comes out.  It is hard to say if the schedule was any more convenient than the sourdough bake. Still need to keep better track of times!

Kiseger's picture

would be fun to try a side by side with SD to see, but this looks really good!  Definitely worth trying with whole wheat too!   I've been making 100% French T65 flour SD this week and the flavour is excellent but I'm like you in that I usually put whole wheat, rye, spelt etc in the mix, so it's been fun to try plain old white SD.....definitely great for sandwiches and grilled cheese toasties.  Thanks for posting this!

CAphyl's picture

David:  It is fun to try baking with white flour and yeast for a change, and your loaves look fantastic. The grilled cheese is making me hungry, and I just ate lunch! I think baking the loaves with whole wheat and other flours will make some very nice bread in the future.  Thanks for sharing.  Best,  Phyllis

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

I am on the second loaf today, and it still made a great sandwich.  Ordinarily I would have expected a burned bottom to ruin the taste of the bread, but I find that it actually adds a lot of good flavor to the bread.  This formula is definitely a keeper and I look forward to modifying it as well as doing it properly (i.e., without an overdeveloped poolish).

Jason1876's picture

I have the same issue on the over-proof poolish/biga, what I did is either cut down the time 7 - 8 hrs instead of 12, or use fridge cold water and do the 12 hrs proof.

Im not really sure, but I think if the pre-ferment is over-proof (slack), the bulk fermentation should take less hrs, otherwise the whole dough will turn really slack and spread out everywhere, I guess.

I think its seam side up when you baked it, if u wish to have a wild open then cut deeper, I guess, if u like ears, cut with an angle.

your bread looks amazing and its 1127am here and it makes me really really hungry.