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(Experiment 243) Poolish bread 72%

Poolish is a French pre-fermentation method that can be used in bread and pizza dough.

At 72% hydration, it is still easy to work with dough that gives a decent result. Its got a nice balance of crust flavour, moist interior and good flavour.

You need 

Poolish

  • 170g water room temperature
  • 170g All-purpose flour
  • pinch instant dry yeast

Dough

  • 340g bread flour
  • 3g instant dry yeast
  • 200g lukewarm(~90F) water
  • 12.5g salt
  • 340g poolish ( put all of it)
Instructions
  1. First, you want to make the Poolish in advance, 4 hours is the minimum but the sweet spot where you get the most flavour is 14 to 16 hours. So plan accordingly. Simply put all the Poolish ingredients in a bowl and mix with your hand. Cover and let it do its magic at room temperature.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, drop the Poolish, yeast and add all of the water. Break it off with your hand, it will make the water milky. Add the salt and flour and keep mixing with your hand to combine everything together. Do this for ~2minutes, yes it will be ultra sticky. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes.
  3. Wet your hand as the dough is very sticky at this stage.  You want to do 4-6 stretch and fold; you need to have folded over all of the sides. Stretch and fold are done by grabbing each “side” at a time and bringing it to the center.
  4. Example: take the right side of the dough and stretch it in the air ( DON’T break the dough) then fold it in the center. Repeat for each side. See this video
  5. Let your dough rest for 30 minutes.
  6. At this point, redo a series of stretches and folds. The dough will stick be sticky so wet your hands. Cover and let it rest for 30 minutes.
  7. Now it’s time for the final series, at this point you shouldn’t need to wet your hands. The dough will be sticky but manageable to do the stretch and fold. If you have an issue, no worries just wet your hands. Cover and let rest for 40 minutes.
  8. It’s now time to shape the dough. On an unfloured surface dump the dough and preshape into a light boule using the dough cutter doing a gentle circular motion ( you basically want to bring it into somewhat the shape of a ball), you should only swirl it on the countertop in order to achieve this, usually, 2 full 360 turns will do the job. Let rest 5-10 minutes. Don’t play too much with the dough.
  9. Put a light coating of flour on top of each boule. With a dough cutter or scraper, unstick the boule from the surface and flip it over. Shape your dough into a batard and place it into banneton dusted with either rice flour or all-purpose flour.
  10. To make batard, once flipped. Gently fold the top to the middle, then do the same for the left side, right side. Then fold the bottom completely to the top. Make sure the seam is pinched. Note that the surface you will be looking at with the seam is the bottom. See this video to see it in action.
  11. Transfer in banneton, lightly flour, and let it rest for an hour. After 30 minutes, preheat a cast-iron combo cooker in your oven from cold to 500℉ for 30 mins. Remove  from oven, sprinkle some flour on the bottom ( what you are looking at in the banneton) then gently reverse the banneton over the pot.
  12.  Optionally you can score the top (check this video to learn how to score bread). Lightly flour the top of the dough then you need to score it about 1/4 inch deep.
  13. Reduce oven temperature to 480F,put the lid on and bake for 18 mins
  14. Remove the top from the combo cooker and bake for an additional 20 minutes, or until the loaf is a deep brown.
  15. Remove and cool on a wire rack for an hour.

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