Poolish: a yeasted batter that hangs around for about 12 hours. Then gets added to a bread dough and turned into bread. Why? You use less yeast overall and in theory get more flavour in your bread.
Here are some baguettes made with a poolish today. Yes, I know we had baguettes already this week, but these are different. And, more importantly I was trying out Nils’ technique of keeping the slashes very wet during the first part of the bake.
They definitely opened up a bit more than they usually do, but the first lot were a bit flat because I kept opening and closing the oven door. The second lot I just sprayed twice all over once they had gone in the oven, rather than painting the slashes individually.
I guess, what this just reminds me, is that it is really really hard to be scientific about baking at home. In fact, I would say it is impossible! And I will stand by that :)
I had a thought today, would anyone want to read a blog called Fungus Breath? That’s what bread is really…
To make a bread like this:
Make a poolish with 150 grams of water, 150 grams of bread flour, and a pinch (1/8 tsp) of active instant yeast. Mix it up and leave it for 12 hours. Then add the poolish to 150 grams of water, 300 grams of flour, 10 grams of salt and a 1/2 tsp of active instant yeast. Mix and knead well. It’s a loose soft dough which benefits from being folded a couple of times. This will make three thin baguettes, or two bigger ones. Leave to bulk prove for anything up to three hours, depending on time and how active your dough looks, it might have doubled much sooner than that. Then shape into whatever shape you like, leave for another hour or so, heat your oven up to 240 C. If you are making baguettes like these, they take about 18 minutes on a baking stone. If you want to experiment with Nils’s technique you can read about it on his blog. He has got some amazing results, see here. But then, he is an amazing baker!