If you ever read my baker blog, you'll know that almost every week, regardless of what else I am baking, I bake a batch of pain sur poolish. I began baking a bread like this while reading The Village Baker. I've since adapted it to be even simpler.
This recipe really has become my control, my baseline for experimentation. Whether it be a new mixing technique, a new brand of flour, or a new baking schedule, when I apply a change to this recipe I have the easiest time perceiving how that change modified the outcome of my bread.
I'm offering up this recipe here because a few people have asked for it. But more than advocating this recipe in particular I'm advocating the method of finding something you like and using it as your baseline for experimentation.
My Pain Sur Poolish (Daily Bread)
Makes 2 loaves
1 cup flour
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1 pound flour
10-12 ounces water
1 teaspoon instant yeast
2 teaspoons salt
all of the poolish
Combine the ingredients for the poolish in a small bowl the night before baking. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave the poolish out at room temperature overnight.
The next day, prepare the final dough, either by using the autolyse method of flour and water first then the rest of the ingredients with minimal mixing or by combining them all and mixing until you have decent gluten development (8 to 10 minutes).
I typically fold the dough once an hour twice during primary fermentation, then shape the loaves and give them a longer final rise, typically around 90 minutes. Meanwhile, my oven and baking stone are preheating as hot as they can safely go.
Baking, with steam, takes me 20 minutes, 5 minutes or so at maximum oven temperature, the remainder at 450-475. I rotate the loaves once half way through the baking.
That is it. Simple, tasty, and a great recipe to practice with.
Do you have a bread recipe that is your standard? Please, share it!