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Yeast bread with poolish 50:50 wholemeal
This recipe makes a tasty 50:50 wholemeal / white loaf with reduced
salt and a nice crispy crust using supermarket flour and instant yeast.
Allow around 24 to 30 hours of clock time and about 1 hour of
preparation time including wash up. The ingredients cost less than
This recipe uses a total of 500g of flour and 290ml of water (58%
hydration) together with 3.5g of salt (about half the usual amount) and
roughly 1g of instant or quick yeast. I weigh the flour and the water
using a digital balance that reads to 1g. You need a large mixing bowl
for the poolish and dough and a smaller bowl to hold the wholemeal flour
and a set of small fractional teaspoon measures. I cook bread in a heavy
cast iron casserole as this helps the crust to develop in my little
domestic gas oven. I have baked this bread in a loaf tin as well but
with a less good rise.
The ingredients are broken down into two separate stages, the
'poolish' or pre-ferment and the main dough. This allows for a fuller
fermentation and the development of flavour over a longer period. See
the links at the end of this page for more information about
- 250g of strong white bread flour
- 230g water at tap temperature (18°C)
- 1/16th teaspoon of instant yeast (aka "a
- Add the pinch of yeast to the flour and mix well in a large mixing
- Pour the water into the bowl and form a rough sticky dough
- Cover with a damp tea towel and leave for 16 to 20 hours (it is
around 21°C here, probably cooler in the early morning) until
bubbling and active with a sweet smell.
- 250g of strong wholemeal flour
- Juice of half an orange or lemon and water to make 60ml
- 1/8th teaspoon of instant yeast (aka "a couple
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt (I use reduced salt, use
1 tsp (7g) for bread that matches the usual high street baker salt
content of about 1g per 100g of cooked bread)
- Mix the yeast and salt with the wholemeal flour in a small bowl (put
salt on one side of flour and instant yeast on the other then stir the
dry ingredients up)
- Add the 60ml of orange juice and water to the poolish in the large
bowl and mix in, breaking up the poolish
- Dump the flour salt and yeast mix into the large bowl with the
poolish and mix by hand and spoon until a rough dough forms. This takes
a bit of doing as the poolish tends to want to stick to itself and not
- Let the mixed dough rest for about 15 minutes to allow the new yeast
to get started
- Empty onto a clean surface and knead the dough for about 10 minutes.
Dough feels quite gritty and rough and tends to 'rip' while you stretch
it. Just fold it over and keep going
- Put a few drops of oil in the mixing bowl and put the dough back in.
Cover with a damp tea towel and leave for 4 to 6 hours or so to rise.
The dough should double in volume or a bit more and will show a 'dome'
in the bowl.
Shape and bake
- With wet hands, remove the dough carefully from the mixing bowl and
press flat on a clean surface to squash the larger bubbles.
- Fold each corner into the centre like an envelope and turn the dough
- Pull the dough along the clean work surface into a boule shape,
rotating after each pull so you get a tight ball
- Place seam side down into a well floured proofing bowl (or on a well
floured tea towel placed in a collinder or shallow bowl)
- Cover with a tea towel and leave to proove - about 1.5 hours or less
but do the 'finger test' to check the proof
- Meanwhile put a cast iron casserole and lid in the oven and warm up
to gas 9/240°C - it takes about 45 minutes to fully warm up my gas
- When prooved, carefully transfer the dough seam side up into the
casserole with floured hands. I use silicon oven gloves to handle the
casserole dish as they are rated to 250°C. Put lid on and bake for
- Check that the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow. If not, cook for
another 5 minutes or so on the oven shelf
- Cool on a rack or grill pan for about an hour before cutting
Cloake's How to bake wholemeal bread compares several recipes.
Includes the idea of using vitamin C to help the wholemeal flour rise.
I'm using the juice of an orange as suggested on another page
Flatbread (Pide) recipe. I did mine with rosemary instead of the
spice mix and I used 30% wholemeal flour for a bit of fibre. The breads
came out moist and chewy. Easy introduction to working with a
pre-ferment. I hand kneaded for the usual 10 minutes as I do not have a
mixer with dough hook
of Tom Jain's recipes. An older approach these days but introduces
the idea of the sponge
and ferments from Shipton Mill. Explains biga, poolish, sponge and
and how to use them. Source of the factoid "yeast activity halves
for each 9 degree celsius drop in temperature". The 9th root of 2 being
1.0800, this translates into the rule of thumb "increase fermentation
time by 8% for each degree below 20C (compound!)". The recipes on this
page have yeast only in the preferment, no extra yeast is used in the
and magic of breadmaking by Andy Connelly. An annotated recipe that
describes some of the science and history
Last modified:Thu Aug 15 22:34:36 BST 2019 | This is a Web