The Fresh Loaf

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what happens if you leave a Poolish too long?

pjstock's picture

what happens if you leave a Poolish too long?

My GoTo sourdough recipe (I think it was from Kinig Arthur Flour) uses a Poolish as an intermediate step and specifies that it can sit and stew for.... several days under cool conditions.
so I usually assemble the Poolish on Day 1 and bake on about.... Day 3 or 4.

Usually the Poolish is vibrant, bubbly and quite active when I come fo finish it off (with additiona flour, 4 sets of folds, shaping and proofing)

Sometimes though I get distracted or simply cannot complete the process on schedule.
Today for example I am trying to finish my Poolish after about... hmmm, it could be 6 days.
and the Poolish seems pretty dead. it has slumped in its container.

I've added the extra 240g of flour and salt and will do the folds.
But the mass feels dead. 

so what is happening? what has happened? what can I do to salvage this batch?


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

What temperature was the poolish for 6 days?  Did it fluctuate during that time?

(Leave it any longer it may become a sourdough starter. I'd say in the quiet stage.  But you just fed it .... So how is it behaving?  How does it smell?  Beery?

Ok, so turned out to be a bunch of questions.  Any answers?

pjstock's picture

I kept it in the fridge the entire time. So 5C / 41F or so.

The older batch just sagged it seemed. Went from bubbling and active to flat. Not many bubbles.

In the end i just went for it, added 240g extra flour and some salt. (Though i also cheated and added about 50g of new active starter as a booster)

Resulting Loaves turn out pretty well..