Difference in two baguette recipes
After baking whole-wheat and rye breads exclusively for about six months, I decided this weekend to try my hand once again at the elusive baguette. I returned to my old, trusted source, Dan Leader's Bread Alone, but also consulted the all-wise Internet, just to refresh my memory on all the tips and tricks to getting the perfect baguette.
That's when I ran across this recipe at the King Arthur site. The pictures at the top of the PDF were so exquisite that I wondered if, perhaps, I had come across the Holy Grail of French Stick recipes. I compared it to Leader's recipe, and after figuring out the baker's percentages, I discovered they were almost identical except for two points.
First, the KA recipe calls for using 100% of the prepared poolish in the final dough, whereas Leader's calls for 1/2 the poolish, but makes it up with more flour and water. Not so big a deal, in my opinion. I would rather not waste all that poolish anyway.
However, the second difference was a big one: KA's recipe called for over FOUR TIMES as much yeast in the final dough. It works out to be about 1.5 tsp, whereas Leader's recipe calls for 1/4 tsp (1/2 tsp if it's moist yeast). Even the percentage of salt is the same.
So, I guess my question is, who's right? And I'm sure the answer will be, "whatever works for you!." Still, I can't help but wonder why there is such a difference in yeast quantity in otherwise similar recipes. Is it possible that the KA recipe over-compensates for the possibility of weak yeast? Does the extra yeast even make a difference over the course of three hours? Perhaps they are keeping up their sales? Or maybe they're using a different kind of yeast? Perhaps I'm looking into this way too deeply!
I would love to hear some opinions on this. What do you folks think?
Happy Baking! (And Happy Independence Day for those of you in the States!)