The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Poolish Hyrdration

louiscohen's picture
louiscohen

Poolish Hyrdration

Every source I've read says that poolishes are (traditionally) hydrated at 100%. But BBA's poolish page calls for 107% with bread flour; a CIA baking textbook has a formula with 106% for whole wheat.

Should I make my whole wheat poolish with more than 100% hydration (reducing the water in the final dough)?  Or will the Poolish Police burst in with a no-knead warrant and confiscate my scale and KitchenAid?  Or is the difference not perceptible without a better palate than mine?  

Thanks

PS 100% hydration eliminates one calculation.

rick9004's picture
rick9004

I have used 100% for poolishes.  I will also tell you that after reading baking sources for many years, variations of all recipe occur.  So ignore rules and nasty comments.  Give what you wish a try.  Then try another ratio and see what happens.

I've baked bread at home for over 40 years.  At times I have accidentally "over watered" my recipe.  Did I throw it out?  of course not.  If the amount of water was a bit over (say 5%) I just baked on.  Otherwise I might try to adjust with more flour.

One side comment...  Many recipe books are desperate to say that their recipe is the only one that works.  Other books like the CIA one are aimed at commercial cooking and baking.  Not necessarily for home bakers. I started to read a cook book from a famous restaurant chef.  She started out by saying that the reader and home cook must follow her recipes exactly, no variation.  That was the last page I read. 

 

louiscohen's picture
louiscohen

Thanks.  In fairness, baking is more precise than cooking - you can't make adjustments once the goods are in the oven, and not always at every stage before that.

If I might take advantage of your experience a bit,  any suggestions for on recognizing when the proofing is done and its time to bake would be helpful, especially for a high hydration whole wheat.