The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

New Guy, Old Questions.

Drumlug's picture

New Guy, Old Questions.

Hi everybody. I'm recovering from a brawl with cancer that I'm winning (yay) but it has left me unable to continue my career finishing drywall on stilts and working from skinny scaffolding in tall stairwells. I needed something else to pass the time. So hey... bread! And honestly finishing drywall on stilts was waaaaaaaayyyyy easier lol. 

Anyway, my question for today is... If you plan on cold fermenting a dough for 24 hours or longer, is there still a benefit to preparing a Poolish before mixing the dough? I'm just wondering if the added step further enhances flavor or if the 2 processes kind of cancel each other out, or even put you at risk of overfermentation.  

Any thoughts appreciated, please & thank you... Adam

foodforthought's picture

Most of my breads include a poolish and sourdough levain plus the doughs get refrigerated from anywhere between 18 to 72 hours. Poolish is so easy to make, I can’t make a case for not using it. Adam Ragusea and the Chain Baker YouTube channels have recently suggested that if you’re using cold fermentation, poolish and other pre-ferments might not buy you much in terms of additional flavor. Anyway, nobody’s been complaining about my baguettes, ciabatta or croissants, so I’m sticking with what’s been working well for me.

Good luck,


clazar123's picture

I used to make exclusively poolish WW bread and the reason I did was then I knew my starter was very active and the WW flour was fully hydrated. At the time I was doing it I was busy-job, kids, house, life. Rather than reactivating a starter with multiple feeds, I would make a poolish. Seemed easier to me, at the time. I think the flavor was about the same. So if I was thinking ahead, I fed my starter once in the am as it may have been sitting,unfed, in the refrig for a month. Then I would make a poolish and let it sit at room temp or in the oven with the light on. The next AM I would make the dough, refrigerate 12 hrs and then bake that evening. Or reverse the schedule and make it the next am.

I think the best fermentation flavor comes from the bulk fermentation more than the poolish. To me the poolish is useful in guaranteeing a really active yeast population that will then do its job while being refrigerated for a prolonged period. 

Have fun and cancer sucks. Been there-twice. Just persist.

Drumlug's picture

Thank you for the replies, I'm really enjoying the forum. Lots of good info here