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Old 07-22-2016, 10:28 AM   #1
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Can anyone give me hints and tips for making bread with poolish and biga starters?

I have become interested in bread making recently, so far so good - results using basic bread recipes have turned out reasonably, but I'm interested in trying to do it with starter doughs such as poolish, biga, sourdough and mother dough and pate fermentée. I'm particularly interested in poolish as good foccacia dough is better - or so I'm told - if you use poolish, and I want to try making French baguettes with pate fermentée. Does anyone make these breads, and what advice would you give a novice on the subject?

Many thanks


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Old 07-22-2016, 10:51 AM   #2
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I made focaccia once. It was delicious but it's quite a commitment. My tip: I wrote down a checklist, including times, of each folding and resting step and checked them off as I went.

Here's part of the focaccia recipe from Cooks Illustrated, so you can see what I mean:

"Mix dough; let rise 15 minutes
Sprinkle salt, mix; let rise 30 minutes
Fold dough; let rise 30 minutes
Fold dough; let rise 30 minutes
Fold dough; let rise 30 minutes
Shape dough; let rest 5 minutes
Poke dough; let rest 10 minutes

You need to know in advance that making this recipe requires being at home for three hours straight, with the freedom to break free from whatever you’re doing so you can mix, sprinkle, fold, shape, poke and bake."

http://www.takingonmagazines.com/ros...-kitchen-2012/
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Old 07-22-2016, 12:39 PM   #3
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I've been pretty successful with no-knead dutch oven bread, but haven't tried other breads - yet. I'm planning to try some baguettes at some point. This one from Food Wishes looks promising:



His no-knead ciabatta is also on my list of things to try.



I picked up "Flour Water Salt Yeast: The Fundamentals of Artisan Bread and Pizza" by Ken Forkish at the local library. He does a good job of explaining the various methods, and everything is aimed at the home bread maker. After reading through I realized that this is more work than I'm willing to go through, so I've been stuck on the dutch oven breads.
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Old 07-22-2016, 01:09 PM   #4
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Many many thanks for the information. I'm currently researching focaccia, and I've always wanted to be able to make baguettes. So far I'v managed to dig up 74 regional recipes for focaccia, and the recipes vary - so do the toppings. Genoese focaccia, which is the plainest and the one we all know and love tends to be done with biga, but many focaccia's in the south of Italy use poolish as the starter dough, while Altamura (in Basilicata, in the very south of central Italy) focaccia uses a sourdough which produces a rather firm dough, because of the type of flour once ground semola flour, which is high in gluten. I look forward to sending some of the recipes I've found - they're fascinating! In the meantime, many many thanks for encouraging me along the road!

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Old 07-22-2016, 03:09 PM   #5
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I recall a video on making baguettes on ATK, so I searched for it:

http://www.cooksillustrated.com/reci...code=MCSCD00L0

Also took a look at YouTube. There are pages and pages of videos that people have posted on how to make baguettes!

The instructions from Food Wishes is on the top of my list. I've made a couple of his recipes, and they turned out well. His instructions are usually fairly simple and clear.
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Old 07-22-2016, 03:18 PM   #6
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Wow, thank you so much - now I can really get started to familiarise myself with the ins and outs of bread making, although it seems fairly obvious to me that there are still one or two tricks worth knowing yet if you want to get good at it! You soon realise that there's more to it than meets the eye! Thank you for your trouble.


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Old 07-22-2016, 07:13 PM   #7
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I have a book that's just for foccacia. The bigas or starters are nearly always started the night before and ferment at house temp. All kinds of fillings and or toppings, even just as simple as kosher salt.
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Old 07-22-2016, 07:52 PM   #8
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My favorite topping for focaccia is Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, along with rosemary. I love how the cheese gets all crunchy
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Old 07-22-2016, 09:57 PM   #9
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You can also go to The Fresh Loaf | News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts to get tips and tricks on bread making.

For a long while I was making baguettes that needed a poolish to be started 14 to 18 hours ahead of time, plus folds and rises every 20 minutes. But I agree with Tenspeed. Chef John makes a nice baguette and makes it look easy, too.
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Old 07-24-2016, 10:04 AM   #10
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My favorite topping for focaccia is Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, along with rosemary. I love how the cheese gets all crunchy
My favorite is jalapeño and cheddar.
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Old 07-24-2016, 12:46 PM   #11
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My favorite is jalapeño and cheddar.
That sounds good, too
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Old 07-24-2016, 01:42 PM   #12
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The reason I posted a request for help is this, translated from the Italian:

Olive oil Focaccia (Fugassa all'euio in Genoese) If you turn west at Genoa and head for Nice and the French Riviera, they call it 'Fugasse', and the recipe is almost the same - just shows that food has no real boundaries!

Anyway. here is the piece I found from the book Saints' Days and cuisine in Liguria (the Riviera part of Italy):

Ingredients: 1/2kg flour, 30g beer yeast, 1dl olive oil, salt.

Now a baker would know exactly how much water is required, but a mere amateur beginner wouldn't know where to start! Anyway, the recipe:

Make the dough with the flour, beer yeast and water; when it has fully risen, put it onto an oiled baking tray and spread it out by hand so that it fills the tray and remains no more than 2cm thick. Smear plenty of olive oil over the surface using the palms of both hands without exerting any pressure,. fingertips only Make the dimples all over the dough using both hands, then make a saline solution with olive oil in it and drizzle and spread this over the top. Bake in a hot oven for about twenty minutes.

This focaccia is the classic workman's breakfast in these parts, and is popular with many people - students, office workers, housewives, company directors, you name it, they all love it! It's delicious dunked in hot milk, or eaten crunchy as it comes out of the oven, or with a glass of good white wine. Everybody loves this bread, whose history dates back to Roman times. It has been used for the Sunday Mass Communion wine for centuries, especially for weddings for the Blessing of the bride and groom. In fact, it was so popular that the then Bishop of Genoa threatened some of the monks with excommunication for being greedy for it because it was so good! The same thing happened to wedding guests, who would tuck in to the focaccia in Church because it was so delicious. You had to get up to get it very early in the morning because by 7-30am it would already have sold out. But by the afternoon it's already past its best and you have to wait until tomorrow to queue again at the baker's!

I love that account, and I can tell you now that not much has changed since then.

Ciao for now


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Old 07-24-2016, 01:54 PM   #13
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Here is the ingredient list from the March/April issue of Cooks Illustrated for fougasse:

1/4 cup whole wheat flour
3 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour
Salt
1 tsp instant yeast
1 1/2 cups water
Cornmeal or semolina flour
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp chopped rosemary
2 tsp coarse sea salt

Makes two loaves.

They make really cool shapes with it. I haven't tried it yet.

https://goo.gl/images/mirgUv
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Old 07-24-2016, 03:26 PM   #14
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Quote:
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Ingredients: 1/2kg flour, 30g beer yeast, 1dl olive oil, salt.

Now a baker would know exactly how much water is required, but a mere amateur beginner wouldn't know where to start!
I'm not a bread baker, and I'm not a shill for Ken Forkish's book. However, If I was serious about making bread at home, I would purchase a copy and keep it as reference. His explanations made a lot of sense to me.

I think what would help you in determining the proper amount of water is baker's percentages, or the amount of ingredients as a percentage of flour by weight. If you go to Amazon and preview his book you will find part of the definition on page 41 (no page 42 in the preview). It's also defined on King Arthur's website:

https://www.kingarthurflour.com/prof...ercentage.html

As I recall from reading his book (it was last winter), Forkish uses this when making breads with biga and poolish. You need to include them when calculating the final amount of ingredients.

Hope this helps.
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Old 07-26-2016, 12:29 PM   #15
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Love your story about the focaccia di reston. Sometimes the stories that go with the food are more interesting than the recipe. Thanks.
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Old 07-26-2016, 07:12 PM   #16
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Czech holiday bread

One year I wanted to make this bread for my DIL, who is Czech, so I asked for the recipe.
I had to translate the recipe from Czech to English, change the metric measures to US, change the weights of ingredients to volumes (thank you Joy of Cooking),and I baked the bread.
It was supposed to come out twisted like a challah, but it came out looking like a giant Milk Bone!
It tasted good, though
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Old 07-26-2016, 09:19 PM   #17
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I do bake bread from starter, but I only bake rye bread. Made starter myself, took me a while though.


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Old 07-28-2016, 10:24 AM   #18
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One year I wanted to make this bread for my DIL, who is Czech, so I asked for the recipe.
I had to translate the recipe from Czech to English, change the metric measures to US, change the weights of ingredients to volumes (thank you Joy of Cooking),and I baked the bread.
It was supposed to come out twisted like a challah, but it came out looking like a giant Milk Bone!
It tasted good, though
I don't understand changing from weight to volume. Baking is usually more successful when measuring by weight.
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