The Fresh Loaf

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Poolish method, need advice for last phase before baking

FabItMart's picture
FabItMart

Poolish method, need advice for last phase before baking

So, I have been working on this recipe for a bit, trying to make my first perfect loaf.

I make 200g of poolish and let it ferment overnight. Then 400g of strong flour 00, 270g of water, 13 g of salt. I let it sit for at least 30 minutes, then slap and fold 15-20 minutes and then let it grow throughout the day. When I come home the dough has grown nicely but I am always a bit uncertain on how to handle this last phase.

Despite I fold it and give it shape 30 minutes before putting it in the oven, it always tend to spread flat. it does not remain very round. What could be the cause? Once the dough is nice and airy after hours of growing, what do you do before baking it?

Thanks!

Maverick's picture
Maverick

Do you have any photos of the bread and the crumb (or any of how the dough looks prior to baking)? Those would help a lot.

Meanwhile, there are a couple things I can think of looking at this. First of all, it looks like you aren't adding any more yeast and relying solely on the yeast in the poolish. Since I always add yeast when I use a poolish, my experience is limited. But I do make sourdough often and this might be similar given the small amount of yeast and long bulk ferment. I would suggest that you may need a final rise longer than 30 minutes. I would also think at that hydration you might need to do a pre-shape and let it rest before the final shape to help tighten the skin. Also a banneton, towel lined bowl, or couche might help. It is also possible that it is overfermented and/or could use some stretch and folds during the day.

A couple more questions ... Do you score the bread? How do you get steam to your oven? Are you using a baking stone, Dutch oven, or what? Temperature of the oven? Basically all the details you can supply help.

FabItMart's picture
FabItMart

Thank you Maverick, for some reason I haven't been receiving notifications that you replied to me and was losing hope.

Yes, it is indeed very similar to sourdough but easier on the fermentation. You simply stop before the yeast starts producing that acidic taste typical of sourdough.

First some answers to your questions:

  1. I do score the bread but I need to get a bloody sharp knife/blade because currently I am more stabbing it than scoring it;
  2. I put a bowl with hot water at the bottom of the oven and I drop some in the process to give a first boost of steam. Reading a book I have, I have started suspecting that my crust is thin because I overdo the steaming. I want to try to not drop any water in the oven;
  3. I am using a normal electric oven and so far I have been following a recipe I found online and baked the bread following this procedure:
    1. 5 minutes at 240°
    2. lower to 180° for 40 minutes
    3. do 5 minutes still at 180° but leaving the oven a little bit open

Extra note: I used to bake using the fan forced mode baking 100% wholemeal bread, but as I transitioned to 20% wholemeal + 80% 00 flour (white), my bread was growing in the oven mostly on the side closest to the fan. Hence I am now baking with the static oven mode (with heat from both top and bottom).

Now some questions:

  1. When is the right moment to move the dough in a towel lined bowl?
  2. By pre-shape and then shape you simply mean that it might be helpful to do the shaping twice with some time in between?
Colin2's picture
Colin2

I've done poolish breads without any more yeast, and they do fine with enough time, but I worry this one is getting too much time: "let it grow throughout the day"  sounds like a while.  So a possibility is over-proofing in the bulk stage.  

FabItMart's picture
FabItMart

I understand that very long bulk phase might not be optimal, but this is the only strategy that I can fit in my routine. Poolish ferments in the night, dough (poolish+remainders) during the day (7:30-19:30 approx). Then I shape once (am shaping twice now, after last advice) and bake. By the time I go to sleep the bread is baked and I let it cool in the night!

Avo on toast in the following morning is pure joy!

Below my last attempt. I shaped it once (did not have time) but by folding it well (many times). The scoring didn't really work out (I think it was too superficial) and the crust is too thin.

I baked it 10 min at 250 degrees (static oven), 20 min at 200 (static oven) and 5 minutes at 200 (ventilated mode).

 

 

Colin2's picture
Colin2

This looks very tasty!  The other way to use a long period away is for the final rise, and do that in the fridge. 

Poolishes can always be started even earlier, and if need be parked in the fridge a day or two.  You would need around three hours when you are home to mix and do the bulk ferment at room temperature, but you could then shape, pop it in the fridge for a long cold rise overnight or while you're away during the day, and then heat up the oven and bake.

Maverick's picture
Maverick

Duplicate post, sorry