The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

How long do you leave your Poolish before you use it?

Robyn's picture

How long do you leave your Poolish before you use it?

I have been making our daily bread for many years now - I got the recipe from this forum at least 10 years ago (I think it was this forum). I tweaked the instructions a bit to make it easier to make/clean up, but otherwise have not changed anything. I usually make the poolish in the morning and finish the bread in the early evening. The last loaf I made (yesterday), I made the poolish the day before, so it had 24 hours to do its thing instead of the usual 8.

I have noticed the bread it made is still really soft and fresh today, when usually it would be a bit more firm by now. (Not a problem, as it is only ever made into toast.) So I was wondering, is this how the poolish works? You leave it for a little longer and the bread stays fresher for longer? Has anyone else found this to be the case?

(The bread is just a basic white loaf. I have tried to add grain and other things to it, but when I do it causes pitiful whining noises...)

ciabatta's picture

Yes a good preferment will help bread keep longer. Sourdough levains do the same. You should also explore Tangzhong, a water flour roux that is added to the dough that makes it exceptionally soft and lasting. 

Anon2's picture
Anon2 (not verified)

1% for fresh yeast of the flour

A third of that if using dried 

(Although I rarely use yeast preferring sourdough however the following rules apply either way)

Ready when it resembles a sponge and has a lovely aroma. 

deblacksmith's picture

I usually start my poolish and then about 6 hours later put it in the fridge overnight to use to pull and use the next day.  Sometimes the day after the next day.  My poolish is usually 50 percent of the total flour in the dough and hydration is 100 percent.  I don't like sourdough so poolish is my prefered method.  I use a small amount of yeast in the poolish, with more in the final dough but much lower than straight single day dough.  I make mostly bread pan loafs because that is what this old couple likes.   

Robyn's picture

Thanks - that sounds very similar to the recipe I use - always use a tin to bake in (pan?) for the very same reason; "because that is what this old couple likes." 

I usually put all the yeast in the poolish and none in the final dough and have never had a problem with rising, but I might try your method and see what happens.

I wasn't worried about the bread's keeping qualities as it only gets used for toast. We are not fans of sourdough, so thankfully don't have to go through the chore of making it.