April Bread-Poolish

After whining about the scarcity of yeast a while ago, I wanted to make something a little more challenging than just your average yeast bread. One that didn’t use yeast or much yeast. Like sourdough —but not.

I started with a poolish: a mix of flour, water, and a pinch of yeast that sits for 12-15 hours before using it as the leavening in bread.


When I say a pinch of yeast, this recipe was very specific and exacting—the recipe calls for 0.1 gram/1/32 teaspoon. You want to measure, great. I’m doing a tiny “pinch”.

It’s called “primitive” art

Now the idea for making the bread with a poolish was to not use yeast, but that’s a negligible amount…although it does help to attract the other yeast in the air.

After the fermentation time was up, I mixed the dough—flour, yeast, water and the poolish, which was puffy and a bit doughy, not liquid. Just mixed a few minutes to moisten everything, then added the salt. Once that was incorporated, the dough was mixed for 20 minutes on low with the dough hook on my Kitchen Aid mixer.

I love my Kitchen Aid mixer. I believe it’s over 15 years old. Back to the narrative—

It was a softish dough, not maybe as soft as described in the recipe, but nice to work with. ( I was wearing a glove because I had cut my finger, and a bandaid doesn’t alway stick, you know?)

I set the timer to an hour, stretched and folded the dough before putting it to rise. This was done three times. A little over three hours.

The next step was to form the baguettes. I chose to make the Demi-baguettes—about 8 inches long, weighing about 190g/6.7 oz each. Then they were set to rise for an hour.

I did not take pictures of forming the loaves. It’s about as exciting as the above pictures to a non-bread maker but I love pictures of dough. I could have a gallery in my kitchen of bread and bread dough photos!


Meanwhile I turned the oven on (no photos of that either), and placed a heavy metal pie tin in the bottom of the oven for my ice “water”. Contradiction in terms. When it was time to bake, I slashed the tops of the loaves, dumped a couple of cups of ice cubes in the hot pie tin— which immediately began to sputter and melt—and quickly put the loaves in the oven. Hence “ice water”.

(I know, water with ice cubes in it is also called “ice water”.)

So hard to wait for bread to cool before tearing into it! As if I do. hahahaha

The end result was worth the wait. Oh. Contradicting myself again.

The bread was divine! Crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside, and of course, the aroma…ahhh, perfect!

(I don’t think these are the pictures of the actual loaves–they were about 10″ long after they baked. And darker. These are much longer. But a reasonable facsimile. I made these too.)

Thanks for reading. Part deux next…

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