Poolish Rye Bread

I recently posted about a wheat bread I made using the Poolish method.

As this was such success I thought I would try out a Poolish recipe this time using rye flour.

There are lots of steps and it takes most of the day, so it is best made when you are at home with other things to do in between.

A Poolish is a pre-ferment usually combing equal parts of flour and water (by weight) with some yeast.

This recipe is adapted from Bake it Better  – Bread – edited by Linda Collister, Hodder & Stoughton, 2015.

Ingredients – Poolish

  • 250g rye flour
  • 150g strong flour
  • 15g fresh yeast (7g dried)
  • 300ml  lukewarm water
  • 1/4 teaspoon of sugar

Method – Poolish

  • Mix the yeast, water and sugar in a jug
  • Leave for about 5 minutes.
  • Make a well and pour in the yeast mixture.
  • Bring it all together to make a thick lump free mixture.
  • Cover the bowl (a shower cap is good)
  • Leave at room temperature to rise for about 4 hours.

Ingredients – Dough

  • Poolish
  • 200g rye flour
  • 100g strong flour
  • 125ml lukewarm water
  • 2 teaspoons of caraway seeds
  • ½ tablespoon of salt
  • *
  • Milk to brush loaves
  • Extra caraway seeds for sprinkling on loaves

Method – Dough

  • To the Poolish add the water and mix to make a smooth batter.
  • Mix the flours and the salt.
  • Add the flour and salt to the Poolish  and mix.
  • You will have a soft and heavy, sticky dough.
  • Leave uncovered to rest for 5 minutes.
  • *
  • Add a little water if it feels too stiff.
  • Turn out onto a lightly floured board.
  • Knead the dough for 10 minutes (set a timer).
  • *
  • Put back into a large bowl and cover (a shower cap is good).
  • Leave to rest and rise for 1 hour.
  • *
  • Knock back the dough.
  • Roll into a ball.
  • Cover and leave for 1 hour.
  • *
  • Turn out onto a lightly floured board.
  • Knead a couple of times.
  • Divide into two.
  • Shape each piece into a ball.
  • Cover loosely with a dry tea towel and leave for 10 minutes.
  • *
  • Line a baking sheet with grease proof paper.
  • Knead and fold and shape each ball into an oval.
  • Place the two pieces on the baking sheet.
  • Cover loosely and leave to prove for 1 hour.
  • *
  • Pre-heat the oven to GM7 220°C
  • Put a roasting tin at the bottom of the oven to heat up.
  • *
  • Cut 3 slashes in the top of each loaf.
  • Brush lightly with milk or water.
  • Sprinkle with caraway seeds.
  • Put the loaves in the oven.
  • Quickly pour a glass of water into the roasting tin (the steam helps to give a good crust).
  • Close the door and bake for around 10 minutes.
  • Reduce to GM6 2O0°C  and continue baking for 25 minutes
  • Leave to cool on a wire cake rack.

Poolish Bread

A Poolish is a pre-ferment usually combing equal parts of flour and water (by weight) with some yeast.

The origin of the term Poolish is that it is named after a method used by Polish bakers around 1840 when it was brought to France.

However – Poolish is an old English version of Polish and this term seems to be most used in France where polonais is the word for Polish – strange!

Fermentation is carried out at room temperature for some time – long enough for the Poolish to bubble up and increase its volume. This can take anywhere from 3 to 24 hours.

Using  Poolish is said to give a light texture to the dough, develop a sweetness of flavour and also give a good colour in the crust.

This recipe is adapted from Bake it Better  – Bread – edited by Linda Collister, Hodder & Stoughton, 2015.

The original amounts made two very big loaves so I the second time I made this,  I cut it down, to make two small loaves – these are the instructions below.

Ingredients – Day One

  • 25g wholemeal flour
  • 150g strong flour
  • 10g fresh yeast (5g dried)
  • 175ml water
  • 1/4 teaspoon of sugar

Method – Day One

  • Mix the yeast, water and sugar in a jug
  • Leave for about 5 -10 minutes.
  • Mix the two flours together in a bowl.
  • Make a well and pour in the yeast mixture.
  • Bring it all together to make a thick lump free mixture.
  • Cover the bowl (a shower cap is good)
  • Leave a room temperature for 20 – 24 hours.

Ingredients – Day Two

  • Poolish from day one
  • 125ml water
  • 250g strong flour (maybe a little more)
  • ½ tablespoon of salt

Method – Day Two

  • To the Poolish add the water and mix to make a smooth batter.
  • Add 125g of the flour and mix it in by hand.
  • Add the salt.
  • Gradually add the rest of the flour until you have a soft but not sticky dough.
  • Add more flour if necessary.
  • Knead the dough for 10 minutes (set a timer).
  • Put back into a large bowl and cover (a shower cap is good).
  • Leave to rise till double in size – around 3 hours.
  • When it looks nearly ready – line a baking sheet with grease-proof paper.
  • Knock back the dough with your knuckles to deflate it.
  • Cut the dough into two pieces.
  • Leave them to rest for 5 minutes.
  • Knead each piece for 1 minute.
  • Shape each piece and put it on the baking sheet.
  • Dust them lightly with some flour.
  • Cover loosely and leave to prove for 1 to 1½ hours.
  • Pre-heat the oven to GM7 220°C
  • Put a roasting tin at the bottom of the oven to heat up.
  • Cut 3 slashes in the top of each loaf (oops I forget the 2nd time!).
  • Put the loaves in the oven.
  • Quickly pour a glass of water into the roasting tin (the steam helps to give a good crust).
  • Close the door and bake for around 30 minutes.
  • Leave to cool on a wire cake rack.