Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Bread Baker's Apprentice: Poolish Baguettes and Pugliese

I'm jumping a little in and out of order here, but humor me. It's a challenge, not a contest...
Last week's contributions to the challenge were pane Pugliese, a ciabatta-like wet dough with semolina, and poolish baguettes, made with a long, wet, sponge. I did a terrible job of shaping both breads, and they split all over the place, and they were very good, the baguettes with goat cheese and the Pugliese with everything, including bread pudding. Jill tells me they're a vast improvement over two or three years ago's bread.

The poolish baguettes are so called because they are made with a poolish, which is a wet pre-fermented sponge of flour, water and yeast, made the day before and ripened overnight. This is then added to the final dough and helps with taste, keeping time, and gluten development. Almost all of the breads I make have some form of pre-ferment, whether it is a poolish (loose, wet), a biga (stiff, Italian), pate fermentee (old dough, French, somewhere between the last two), or a sourdough starter. I use most of these methods interchangeably.

The Pugiliese were part of my clay baker experiment, one in the pot and one out. This time, the open oven won, but the pot had a severe handicap in the form of a large piece of parchment stuck to the loaf, which had to be baked with it and took a long time to release. I didn't knead the wet dough at all, just mixed it hard and then gave it several folds over the next few hours.

Sourdough up next, although there are more straight-dough breads in the future as well. I'm thinking of adding Reinhart's Pane Siciliano to the lineup at Lily & Fig, which last week was a grand production of Oatmeal Sunflower, Brooklyn Sourdough, Challah, Teddy Bears, and lumpy Genzanese all in one wild morning. I don't have semolina, but I think even with AP flour, the fun shape and the sesame garnish would please people.


Unknown said...

Why is it called "poolish?" What is that?

Unknown said...

Oh, how interesting! Thank you for explaining that!

misterrios said...

The Pugliese looks pretty good, even the one that was in the clay pot looks great.

Plus the poolish baguette in the bottom right photo looks far better than how mine ended up.

Great job on these two breads!