The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Advice for a new baker

ifs201's picture
ifs201

Advice for a new baker

friends, I recently got my hands on the Ken Forkish book and made the 40% whole wheat with biga. I was really happy with how it came out for a first attempt! Then I tried the white bread with poolish and I found the dough hard to shape. I had replaced some of the bread flour to make about 25% whole wheat. My third attempt was the 80% biga recipe and again I made it about 25% whole wheat. I had a bit easier time shaping, but not as easy as the 40% whole wheat.  Because the dough has been softer in my last two bakes, I have trouble turning it over to seamside down during the folding phase and then my bread isn't splitting properly during the bake. My apartment has probably been around 80 degrees so I've tried to reduce the water temperature a bit. I would love to get thoughts/advice based on the photos. Thanks so much! The photos are the poolish, 80% biga, and then 40% whole wheat with biga. 

 

 

 
Levaineer's picture
Levaineer

In my experience, using a poolish results in a weaker gluten structure. I think the higher hydration of the preferment causes the gluten to break down faster. I'm guessing this is why you had more luck with a biga. I'd recommend using a biga instead, with a hydration around 65%-70%. With FWSY it also never hurts to lower the overall hydration. I'm guessing the hydration for the Poolish bread was around 80%. You can easily drop it to 70%, and even with 25% whole wheat you're still working with a fairly wet dough. I actually just made the 80% biga recipe a few weeks ago, and had to tinker a little bit to keep the gluten strong enough. Those loaves look great by the way. 

ifs201's picture
ifs201

Thank you! Do you think I haven't been folding enough (3-4x in the first 1.5 hours)? Or from what you've said maybe I should tinker with the hydration.

Ignacio Hinson's picture
Ignacio Hinson

It looks good and has fine flavor. One can also have this with tea.