Sunday, March 16, 2014

More Bread: Poolish Makes Perfect

Continuing with the Forkish book, I tried another bread, on a day with no expectation of power outage at baking time. This one was what he calls his "Harvest Bread with Poolish." The recipe calls for 10% whole wheat, for which I substituted organic pumpernickel, and 5% wheat germ and 2% wheat bran; I used all wheat germ, or 7%. I seem to like more hydration, or maybe I was a little sloppy when adding water, so increased that too—probably to 80%. This dough is about 50% poolish. Interesting.

Poolish after 13 hrs
The bread is just as Forkish describes: buttery and aromatic. It is soft, flavorful, with a moist open crumb and a nice crisp crust. In addition to being very good, this bread suits my lifestyle, at least on weekends. You mix the poolish at 6:00 pm, leave it on the counter overnight, mix the dough at 7:00 a.m. next morning, and bake around 10 a.m. A couple of folds early in bulk fermentation.  A total breeze. Much more convenient, and better taste and texture, than the Saturday Bread.

In fact, I am a little worried about just how easy and convenient. Bread like this is just about the best thing to have for breakfast, toasted or not, with butter, and jam or not. And just about the best thing to have for lunch, with a good cheddar or gruyere.  And just about the best thing to have for dinner, with a salad or some sautéed mushrooms and wine. Or both. Pretty soon you’ve eaten half a loaf in a day. Half of a two-pound loaf, that is. Yikes!

Thank goodness I have friends who like bread. 


racheld said...

Oh, Jane!

I love your "head for bread," for it's much like a "hand for pie crust," (which I've also never had).

You experiment with exotically-named flours; I grab the Martha White with Hot Rize Plus or the little packet of Cornbread Mix, which I prink around with with flour and eggs and jalapenos. You adjust the hydration, I say, "Just get the batter to where it's kinda between dumplin' dough and cake batter."

Many warm Spring wishes this magical First Day!


Jane said...

And happy spring to you, racheld. I certainly hope this is it!

We all have our particular tolerances (and lack thereof) when it comes to cooking or anything else. I just happen to like anything to do with baking.