pre-ferment and 1 rise vs. 2 rises
Posted: 01 April 2010 02:01 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Dear fellow bakers,

Hi, I am new here, but a long time lurker on these boards and a great fan of Rose’s books.  I have a bread baking question for you.  What’s the value of using a pre-ferment (biga, poolish, etc) plus 1 rise and a proof vs. doing 2 rises and a proof.  For all my breads, I usually do 1 overnight rise (started at room temp and finished in the fridge), followed by 1 more rise, and then a proof.  I can tell a huge difference between that and only 1 rise and a proof.  However, whenever I try recipes that call for pre-ferments, they usually only do 1 more rise and a proof after pre-ferment and I haven’t noticed a flavor improvement in them over my 2 rise and a proof method. 

Any thoughts?

Cheers,
-Helen

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Posted: 01 April 2010 02:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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HELENRENNIE;
  Good day Helen & welcome to our baking forum. First off Helen we must start off by describing the proper nomenclature
of “YEASTED LEAN BREAD DOUGH”. Simple reason is so everyone will know & understand each other. Helen, sfter your dough ingredients are mixed properly the dough is now ready for the “FERMENTATION” sequence. Or as some like to call it the 1st rise.
Then Helen when that is completed you must then re~distribute the gases that were formed in the fermentation process. you do that by gently rolling the dough ball on the counter for about 1, minute or also known as folding the dough. Now the “PROOFING” sequence begins. You can do more than 1 proof even 3 if you like ,that is up to how much yeast power is in the dough.

The value of doing a “PRE~FERMENT” is to develop the flavor of the yeasted lean bread dough. It gives the natural sugars & other properties of the ingredients a chance to blend & develop flavor. It is not a requirement…you can do it if you have the time & patience…I always do it as a matter of course, but to be truthful I cannot say my baked product is better tasting because of it.
  Helen, I hope I answered your inquiry. If not post back to me if you wish I will try harder next time, I promise.

  Good luck to you from Las Vegas, NV. Enjoy the rest of the day young lady.

  ~FRESHKID. wink

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Posted: 01 April 2010 05:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Hi Freshkid,

Thank you for the clarification on terminology.  Yes, I am talking about yeasted lean breads.  I didn’t realize you can have more than one proof.  I thought a proof was a rise that happens when the bread is in the final shaped form.  Using your terminology, I am guessing that I am doing 1 rise and 2 proofs?  Just to clarify, I am doing a rise in a bowl, deflate, then another rise in a bowl, then shape, and another rise in the shaped form, then bake.

My question is why would you only put some of your flour, water, and yeast through a pre-ferment stage?  Why not mix everything together and give it all an extra rise?

Thanks!
-Helen

~FRESHKID - 01 April 2010 05:42 PM

HELENRENNIE;
  Good day Helen & welcome to our baking forum. First off Helen we must start off by describing the proper nomenclature
of “YEASTED LEAN BREAD DOUGH”. Simple reason is so everyone will know & understand each other. Helen, sfter your dough ingredients are mixed properly the dough is now ready for the “FERMENTATION” sequence. Or as some like to call it the 1st rise.
Then Helen when that is completed you must then re~distribute the gases that were formed in the fermentation process. you do that by gently rolling the dough ball on the counter for about 1, minute or also known as folding the dough. Now the “PROOFING” sequence begins. You can do more than 1 proof even 3 if you like ,that is up to how much yeast power is in the dough.

The value of doing a “PRE~FERMENT” is to develop the flavor of the yeasted lean bread dough. It gives the natural sugars & other properties of the ingredients a chance to blend & develop flavor. It is not a requirement…you can do it if you have the time & patience…I always do it as a matter of course, but to be truthful I cannot say my baked product is better tasting because of it.
  Helen, I hope I answered your inquiry. If not post back to me if you wish I will try harder next time, I promise.

  Good luck to you from Las Vegas, NV. Enjoy the rest of the day young lady.

  ~FRESHKID. wink

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Posted: 02 April 2010 05:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Hi Helen,
Yeast is a fungus. What is important about that fact is that microscopic fungi are not motile. They reproduce where they come in contact with sugars. So imagine if you had one single yeast in the middle of your dough. It would reproduce and reproduce. The colony of active yeast would expand outward in a sphere until eventually the ball would be the same size as the dough. But, inside of the ball, the yeast would be dead or dormant because it would have consumed all of the sugars. In the process of consuming the sugars to make more yeast mainly carbon dioxide and alcohol would be produced. The polluting yeasts would have despoiled their only home.

This is what happens many times over when you make bread dough. The yeast reproduces in expanding spheres and left alone long enough would colonize all the dough. But the resulting dough would have a lot of alcohol and dead yeast in it which would affect the flavor of the bread. When dough is punched down/folded the yeast colonies are broken up and redistributed into contact with more sugars. The goal is to evenly populate the dough with living yeast that will consume the sugars and produce flavor and carbon dioxide.

The bigga/poolish method gives the yeast a chance to reproduce in a more liquid environment. When you add the bigga/poolish to your final dough the colonies are more easily and evenly broken up. This gives the dough a more thorough initial distribution of yeast.
I view the overnight rising/refrigerated method as producing the superior bread. The bigga/poolish method could be considered a shortcut. It produces good bread but doesn’t require as much planning and timing as the overnight method.

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Posted: 02 April 2010 03:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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HELENRENNIE:

  Good day helen. I am glad you understood my message to you. The only way I can answer your the question you posed in your last paragraph is to say “TRY IT BOTH WAYS”. Then you will know if it is worth your while to spend the extra time & effort on the pre~ferment (Also known as a sponge). I have done a biga some time ago maybe 3X… I do prefer doing the Poolish. There are rules in doing the poolish. Then there are certain ratio’s of total product mix to the poolish in per centage together with the other ingredients
  In any event Helen my friend if you are willing to try both to see if you can ascertain which is best for yourself, & if you post your recipe I will be happy to post back to you the best way to handle your recipe.

  Enjoy the rest of the day my friend.

  ~FRESHKID. grin

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