The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Ratios for poolish sourdough

adrianjm's picture
adrianjm

Ratios for poolish sourdough

I have been making sourdough on and off for a few years now. I'm still not very good at it, but at least my eaters think its ok. I want to be able to improve the rise (I think I overproof - the last rise is about 4 hours), and perhaps I need to look at the ratios a bit more. I'd like to know if I should change some of the ratios around a little bit. Here is my process:

350g bakers flour

325 ml warm water

130g sourdough starter

Combine at 5pm and leave to rise overnight

6am

Add to mix 150g bakers flour and 10g salt

Knead for 20 minutes until smooth and flexible, into a banneton and let rise til double in size

Turn out to a hot dutch oven and bake at 250/480 for 30 minutes, then turn out of dutch oven and bake in the oven for another 20 minutes.

 

I have changed timings around in the past, but I was thinking that perhaps there is an optimum poolish-to-final-dough ratio I should be following. Should I perhaps add only 300g to the inital poolish and 200 to the final? Or are there any other recommendations that could be made? Below is my last effort, seriously flat - this was proofed to at least 2.5 times original size so proofing time is my next adjustment.

 

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

Starter when used. Poolish is technically the wrong term for Sourdough. It's a levain and it's an off-shoot starter. 

Whether you use a starter as a seed and build a levain or you feed your starter and use some in your dough is just two different ways of maintaining and using a starter. Whatever has been prefermented and goes into the dough as the source of leavening is the starter. 

So you in fact had 805g of "starter" + 150g flour + 10g salt. What you're getting is baked starter. 

Here is a very nice recipe http://www.weekendbakery.com/posts/sourdough-pain-naturel/

They too call it a poolish as you'll see. Very clear instructions and nicely explained. 

P.s. too be sure we're on the same page when I say proof I mean the final proof. The first "proofing" we always refer to as bulk ferment. So when you say proof till 2.5x which one are you referring to? I'd never final proof till 2.5x as that will be over proofing. Just under doubled is a good guide. And for the bulk ferment your want to wait till you see its aerated and billowy then it's done. 

Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

Another formula you might try is the 1-2-3 ratio. That is 1 part active sourdough starter (what you have called a 'poolish'; a 100% hydration sourdough starter or levain), 2 parts water and 3 parts bread flour. And not to forget 2% of the flour weight in salt.

So try this:

  • In the evening (or the morning, depending on your schedule) mix 20 grams of sourdough starter with 40 grams of water and 40 grams of bread flour (total weight 100 grams). Let it sit overnight or for around 8 hours until light and bubbly - this is your levain (or starter, not a poolish)
  • Add 200 grams of water to the mature levain and mix to dissolve
  • Add 300 grams of bread flour and 6 grams of salt; mix well
  • Develop the dough in whatever way you prefer (mixing and kneading in a mixer; working the dough by hand in a variety of ways) until it is smooth and stretchy. Let it ferment until it is soft and puffy (it may double or more in volume; if you poke a floured finger into it, the hole will stay)
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured bench/counter. Pat and stretch it gently into a square or rectangle then fold it into a log or round shape. Tighten it into a nice shape and let it rise (final proof) for maybe an hour or two (depends on the dough and the temperature of your kitchen). If you poke a floured finger into it at this stage the dent should spring back slowly and partially
  • Bake
adrianjm's picture
adrianjm

Appreciate the input. I will try these methods. It seems I have been using a shortcut method - one which only has a single kneading session. Adding so much flour to the overnight session might also be causing some of the overproofing.  Time to start experimenting a bit. 

Thanks again.

 

Adrian

 

 

adrianjm's picture
adrianjm

The 1-2-3 loaf has turned out a treat! Thanks for the advice. Photo's do not do it justice. I'm going to try the recipe in the link from Lechem next. Love learning this stuff!

 

Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

Well done! The 1-2-3 formula is very versatile. You can swap out 15% of the bread flour for another flour (such as whole wheat, rye or spelt) and see how you like that too.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

bread the proof till it doubles is totally wrong for most SD breads.  What you want fir white SD breads is 90 to 95% proof and for those with a significant amount of whole grain 85-90% is the right proof  - not counting rye breads..  The hardest thing to judge in bread making in my book is knowing when the dough is properly proofed.  Folks have a hard time knowing when 90% proof is when the bread is in a basket.  It ususlaly means th bread has risen about an inch.  The way to know for sure is to make a bit extra dough next time and put the excess into a straight sided container that you can see through and mark where the dough is and where 90% proof would be.  When it reaches the 90% mark look at your basket and see what it looks like because it is 90% proofed too!  I think you will be surprised what it really looks like.

Happy baking

adrianjm's picture
adrianjm

Thanks.

The best way I have been able to tell whether its under proofed is when the top explodes from the body when it goes into the oven. Unfortunately too late at this time... :-)

Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

What a difference. No going back now the sourdough bug has hit you. Enjoy! and looking forward to your next loaf. 

adrianjm's picture
adrianjm

The best part is definitely the crust. I may need to make smaller rolls to maximise the surface area... :-)

HorseGuyJohn's picture
HorseGuyJohn

The starter is approximately 25% of the volume.

150 gr Whole Wheat Flour (or White)
130 gr Water
20 Grams Sourdough starter

Ferment in a warm dark location for 8 - 15 hours.

For the bread:

Your sourdough starter (levain)
300 gr minus 1 tablespoon All Purpose White Flour
(Optional)1 tbsp 100% Vital Wheat Flour (Gluten Flour) Note:  If you don't have gluten flour, don't subtract the tbsp of APWF
140-150 gr. Warm Water
1.5 tsp Kosher or Sea Salt
1 tbsp Sugar (Completely optional)

This is going to be a slow rise dough.  If you really want to speed it up, add another 15 gr of sourdough starter to the bread steps.  Adjust your water accordingly.  This is a WHITE bread so about 50% hydration.  I like to live dangerously and may increase it to up to 65%, especially if I use whole wheat flour.

Mix the levain and water.  Stir well until the starter is dissolved (ish).  Combine all the dry ingredients.  Add the wet ingredients and combine.  Form and loose ball. Don't knead.  Cover and place in the oven with the light on.  After 30 minutes, remove from oven and turn out onto a floured surface.  If the dough is sticky, sprinkle a bit of flour on top and spread it.  Gently degas the dough forming a circle.  Fold from one side to ¾ across to the other.  Fold opposite side over.  Fold top to bottom and bottom to top.  Turn over, brush off flour, replace in bowl, cover, and return to oven.  Repeat this step every 30 minutes or so for three hours.

 

When the dough has doubled in size, approximately 3 - 3.5 hours, turn out on floured board and do one last folding.  Cover in plastic wrap and leave be for about 30 minutes.  Then shape into a boule, place top side down in a rising basket, or place a floured non textured cloth in a metal collander or bowl, place boule in it and fold the cloth over.  Place back in oven for 60 minutes. Remove from oven, and place on counter.  Place dutch oven into the oven and crank it to as high a heat as it can go (I do 550º) Once the oven is at temp, turn your boule onto a piece of cooking parchment.  dust the parchment with flour or cornmeal to prevent sticking.  

At this point you can decorate your loaf or simply score it to encourage the oven rise.  Remove dutch oven, place the dough, parchment and all in the centre and cover.  Return to super hot oven.  Bake at super high temp for 10 minutes.  Turn down temperature to 450º and continue to bake for 20 minutes. Uncover the dutch oven and continue to bake for 8 minutes or more depending on your preferred crispiness.  (I let it go for about 15 minutes).  Interior temp of white bread is 200-205º when done.

Remove from oven and cool on a cooling rack.  HINT:  Do not slice bread until it is completely cool.  Slicing early can render the bottom crust too chewy and the crumb can be doughy. I know it is tempting.  IF the loaf is JUST for me, I will slice and eat the whole thing warm with butter. LoL

Rustic 50% Whole Wheat and Caraway Sourdough (63% hydration)

agmeneghin's picture
agmeneghin

Love the scoring around the girth of the loaf. That's some amazing oven spring.

HorseGuyJohn's picture
HorseGuyJohn

I usually get approx 1/3 oven spring with this recipe.  Comes from the folding, and the shcck the yeast gets from the ultra heat.  Little buggers eat like pigs when they know they are about to die. LoL

agmeneghin's picture
agmeneghin

I'm going to have to give it a try.