The Fresh Loaf

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What's the difference - starter vs poolish?

somegeek's picture

What's the difference - starter vs poolish?

What's the difference between a sourdough starter and a sourdough poolish?

Appreciate any input.  :)


arzajac's picture

None, but that's not typical usage.


"Sourdough Starter" usually refers to a preferment that only contains wild yeast and bacteria (sourdough).

"Poolish" usually refers to a preferment that only contains commercial yeast.


pjaj's picture

OK, then what's the difference between a Poolish and a Biga?

LindyD's picture

From the Handbook at the top of the screen:

Biga: a term used variously as a very stiff (~50% hydration preferment), or as a generic term for preferment.

There's a wealth of information in the Handbook, including a good glossary of terms.


fthec's picture

'Starter' is a generic term to describe prefermented flour.  It can be either wild yeasted (i.e. sourdough:  levain, chef, and various other terms) or can be made with commercial yeast. 

Starters made with commercial yeast typically fall into two groups:  poolish type(liquid/ batter-like consistency) or biga type (lower hydration; typically the consistency of regular bread dough).  Yeast addition is usually minimal so that the rise takes 6-18 hours, depending on method used.  Wild yeasted starters can also be similarly other words, liquid type or very dense with minimal water.


somegeek's picture

Thanks for the replies all.  I am the wiser.  :)