The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Final amount of yeast

aminet's picture

Final amount of yeast

I been wondering about the amount of yeast when making a dough with a poolish or pre ferment.

According to the the bakers's percentage, you need to add the same amount of yeast when using a pre ferment or not.

But..I thought the yeast in the pre ferment multiply as time goes by. Why add a another bunch of yeast when making the final dough?

Would you add less yeast than in the recipe when making the final dough?

By adding the amount of yeast in a recipe, the rising time will surely fasten but wouldn't the bread taste yeasty?

I hope someone can help me, its realy bothering me haha.

Its been a while since I made dough with a pre ferment but I think I've been using less yeast than stated in the recipe.


Mike Avery's picture
Mike Avery

The amount of yeast used in the final dough when using pre-ferments varies a lot, depending on the pre-ferment and the person who put the recipe together.


Here are some guidelines and thoughts:


In a normal straight dough, you use around .65 to .7% of instant dry yeast, around 2% of fresh yeast.

If you are using autolyse, a preferement without riser, that will not change the amount of riser in the final dough.


If you are using sourdough or levain, there should be no added yeast in the final dough. Added bakers yeast shortens the amount of time the sourdough has to work, decreasing the flavor in the bread.


In a classic poolish based bread, you use about .07% instant dry yeast in the poolish and another .035% in the final dough. (.2% and .1% respectively of fresh yeast.) This assumes you make a poolish at the traditional 100% hydration and that it will work about 12 hours at room temperature before you use it.


A Biga is a drier dough and uses more yeast. About .14% instant dry yeast in the biga , with another .28% in the final dough (about .35% and .7% if using instant yeast). This assumes that you'll be making your biga at the traditional 56% or so hydration and the biga will work about 12 to 18 hours at room temperature before you use it.


In his recent book on whole grain breads, Peter Reinhart stood this on it's head. He changes the percentages considerably, uses long refrigerated pre-ferments and then puts lots of yeast in the final dough to get it to rise quickly. He feels the flavors have developed in the long soaks and refrigerated preferments, so a quick rise is appropriate. In some cases, he uses more yeast than a classic straight dough would use.


So, there is a range of answers, depending on what you want to do.




aminet's picture

Thank you for your understandable answer !

It was a problem that I have been thinking about, since alot of instructions said to add the remaining ingridiants from the recipe into the final dough when using a poolish.

The baker's percentage is still a little confusing for me, but hopefully I can get used to it.

thanks again mike!