French Bread Formulation with Poolish
Very few things can compare to French Bread done right. The crispy chew of the crust coupled with the velvet texture of the crumb is remarkable. When fermented correctly, it has a depth of flavor that is unbelievable. It is hard to find. Generally, the French Bread found in America is glorified white bread. This is not that bread. This is a traditional French Bread with a pre-ferment called a Poolish (or sometimes called a start or Levain if made with natural yeast and maintained over time). The poolish is blended and allowed to ferment for 8-12 hours at room temperature before the dough is made. It will give a quality to bread that your customers will taste immediately, and keep them coming back for more. Some bakers go so far as to keep the Poolish in the cooler and keep it fed daily for added complexity. If you choose to do so, please check the mixture daily to be sure it hasn’t formed a green or orange mold, as this would indicate that unwanted bacteria is present. Whatever method you decide to employ to keep the start, this is an outstanding formula.
Mix all the ingredients together in a large food grade bucket. Cover and leave at room temperature until ripe, about 8-10 hours at 75°. Adjust yeast percentage accordingly.
FINAL DOUGH Add all the ingredients to the mixing bowl and mix on first speed for 3 minutes to incorporate the ingredients. Adjust the hydration as necessary. Mix on second speed for an additional 3 minutes, to moderate gluten development.
DESIRED DOUGH TEMPERATURE 75°F BULK FERMENTATION 2 hours, with a fold after 1 hour. Divide the dough into desired weights. Pre-shape, and when sufficiently relaxed, give a final shaping. FINAL PROOF About 1 hour. BAKING Steam the oven, load the bread, and steam again. OVEN TEMPERATURE 460°F. Bake time is dependent upon dough weight and shape.