French Baguette with Poolish

French Baguette w/ Poolish - Bruno Albouze - THE REAL DEAL

Baguette with Poolish Recipe

Makes 4 x 9.6 oz (290g) baguettes - Make the poolish 12 hours prior.
Poolish is a relatively wet sponge (made with a one-part-flour-to-one-part-water ratio by weight). A poolish is one known technique to increase a dough’s extensibility and create airy crumb and a light taste of hazelnuts to the baguette. Larger breads over a pound (450g) are not recommended while using the poolish method. However, medium size ciabatta and flat bread work fine. Bread made with starters like poolish tends to keep better, compared to bread made from straight doughs.

Poolish Recipe
1 cup (250ml) water, tape or spring water at 70ºF (21ºC)
1.7 cups (250g) unbleached all-purpose flour
0.2g (a pinch) RapidRise yeast, instant yeast or 0.4g fresh yeast (double the amount of yeast during winter time; poolish only).
In a 2 qt (1L) plastic container, whisk water with yeast and flour. Scrape the sides of the container well with a rubber spatula. (If your container is too large the poolish won’t rise properly). Cover with plastic wrap and seal it with a rubber band, poke plastic with the tip of your knife and leave the poolish on the countertop at room temperature for 12 hours.

Baguette Recipe / 75% Hydratation
Fermented Poolish
1 cup (250ml) tape or spring water at 70ºF (21ºC)
2.7 cups (400g) all-purpose flour
1 packet (6g) RapidRise yeast, instant yeast or (12g) fresh yeast*
1.2 Tbsp (15g) Kosher salt
Flour for dusting.

*RapidRise and Bread Machine are different strains than Active Dry Yeast. RapidRise is grown with a higher level of nutrients and is dried to lower moisture content. The particle size of RapidRise is finely granulated to allow complete hydration of the yeast cells during the mixing process. The Active Dry Yeast larger particle size should be dissolved in water to achieve complete hydration prior to adding to the mixer. In addition, RapidRise yeast contains ascorbic acid resulting in increased loaf volumes. In bread making fresh yeast is the best option but it has a short shelf life.

Baguette Method
Always pour the water into the fermented poolish; it will come off easily without deflating the poolish. Pour the poolish mixture in the mixer bowl, add yeast, remaining flour and salt. Mix for 5 minutes on low speed and 5 minutes more on medium speed or until dough is smooth and comes away from sides of bowl. Since the dough is highly hydrated (75%); do not add more flour if it looks soupy at the beginning of mixing. The dough will come together toward the end. Cover dough with a wet kitchen towel and let rise for 60 minutes. Flour dough and transfer it onto a floured work surface (do not punch down). Divide dough into 4 x 9.6 oz (290g) portion. Deflate carefully and shape each portion into a loaf, skin side up. Cover to keep the bread dough from drying out and forming a skin. Let rest 20 minutes before shaping.
To shape loaves into baguettes flatten each loaf and try not to deflate too many of those lovely air bubbles. Fold down the top third of the dough and use the heel of your hand to seal the the edge. Repeat once. Use the palm of your hand to gently press and roll the loaf into a large baguette form, try not to go over the size of your baking tray. Lay baguettes seam side up over a floured linen cloth known as baker’s couche (to purchase them go to or use a thick fragrance free kitchen towel. Flour the top and cover. Let proof for about 45 minutes.

Position rack in the lower third of conventional oven or on baking setting only. Preheat oven to 500ºF (260ºC). For best results preheat oven for 20 minutes with an upside-down baking tray or a large pizza stone to create more thermal mass.
Carefully, flip and transfer the proofed baguettes (seam side down) on an upside-down baking tray lined with a silicon mat. Score the baguettes (only the skin do not go to deep) with a blade or a sharp knife to allow it to expand during baking and cautiously slide the baking mat onto the hot baking tray or stone, spray water to create steam and shut the oven door immediately. Bake baguettes for about 20 minutes.

To get the most volume from your bread, you need to slow down the formation of the crust the slower the crusts forms, the more time the dough has to expand by adding steam to the oven. Wait for the bread to cool completely before cutting into it. The flavor and texture continue to develop as the bread cools. Baguettes can be stored wrapped in kitchen towel for up to 3 days, depending on the current weather and humidity.

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