Baguettes with Poolish

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Dough Yield: About

    38

    baguettes at 14 oz each

Appears in

The Simplest Breads are the most Difficult to Produce, and the baguette is high on the list of “simple” breads: simple, in that it is made with a minimum of ingredients; there are no strong flavors that dominate, and it is above all the flavor of the flour that prevails. Properly made, it is magnificent; poorly made, it is bland and insipid. One of the more beautiful aspects of the baguette is the amount of crust it has. A finished baguette should have a rich, russet crust, crackling and fragrant—don’t underestimate the virtue of a bold bake. At the same time, the crumb should be creamy and aromatic, with a cell structure characterized by lots of random-sized holes, with translucent cell walls (if the holes are big enough to hide a mouse, though, your shaping skills need some attention).

Production time can be reduced by 30 to 60 minutes, but the most superior results are obtained with a full 2-hour bulk fermentation. As with all breads, careful attention to detail throughout production is the best method to achieve consistently tasty results. Round loaves (boules), oval loaves (bâtards), and rolls can be made with this dough. Round and oval loaves of 1 to 1.5 pounds, and rolls scaled at 2.5 to 3.25 ounces give nice results.

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Pre-Fermented Flour: 33%

Ingredients

Overall Formula

U.S. Metric Home Baker’s %
Bread Flour 20 lb 10 kg 2 lb 100 %
Water 13.2 lb 6.6 kg 1 lb, 5.2 oz 66 %
Salt .4 lb .2 kg .6 oz 2 %
Yeast .22 lb, fresh .11 kg, fresh .13 oz, instant dry 1.1 %
Total Yield 33.82 lb 16.91 kg 3 lb, 5.9 oz 169.1 %

Poolish

Bread Flour 6.6 lb 3.3 kg 10.6 oz (2⅜ cups) 100 %
Water 6.6 lb 3.3 kg 10.6 oz (1⅜ cups) 100 %
Yeast .013 lb, fresh .007 kg, fresh ( tsp, instant dry) .2%
Total 13.213 lb 6.607 kg 1 lb, 5.2 oz

Final Dough

Bread Flour 13.4 lb 6.7 kg 1 lb, 5.4 oz (4⅞ cups)
Water 6.6 lb 3.3 kg 10.6 oz (1⅜ cups)
Salt .4 lb .2 kg .6 oz (1 T)
Yeast .207 lb, fresh .104 kg, fresh .13 oz, instant dry ( tsp)
Poolish 13.213 lb 6.067 kg 1 lb, 5.2 oz (all of above)
Total 33.82 lb 16.91 kg 3 lb, 5.8 oz

Method

  1. Poolish: Disperse the yeast in the water, add the flour, and mix until smooth. Cover the bowl with plastic and let stand for 12 to 16 hours at about 70°F.
  2. Mixing: Add all the ingredients to the mixing bowl, including the poolish. In a spiral mixer, mix on first speed for 3 minutes in order to incorporate the ingredients. If necessary, correct the hydration by adding water or flour in small amounts. Finish mixing on second speed for 3 to 3½ minutes. The dough should be supple and moderately loose. Desired dough temperature: 76°F.
  3. Bulk Fermentation: 2 hours.
  4. Folding: Fold the dough once after 1 hour.
  5. Dividing and Shaping: Divide the dough into 12- to 16-ounce pieces. Preshape lightly into rounds and leave on a lightly floured work surface, seams up, covered with plastic. Once the dough has relaxed sufficiently (10 to 30 minutes, depending on how tightly it was preshaped), shape into long, slender, and graceful baguettes. Place them between folds of baker’s linen, leaving enough space between each baguette so they can expand without tearing during final fermentation. Cover the loaves with baker’s linen and plastic to protect them from air currents and prevent the formation of a crust on the surface of the loaves.
  6. Final Fermentation: 1 to 1½ hours at 76°F.
  7. Baking: With normal steam, 460°F for 24 to 26 minutes for baguettes, depending on dough weight. Round and oval loaves: about 30 minutes for a 1-pound loaf, with round loaves taking slightly longer than oval ones.

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