Cold Bulk Fermentation Using Poolish Starter


I am wanting to try out Tony's Neapolitan recipe and had a question about bulk fermentation when using a Poolish.

Just to go through my normal routine without using a Poolish - I normally cold bulk-ferment for 48-72 hours in a refrigerator, ball, store in dough box at room temp and then bake around 6-10 hours later in a WFPO.

I was wondering how or if this routine would differ when using a Poolish? I noticed that in Tony's book it says to ball and then cold ferment in the refrigerator, but, due to lack of storage space for my usual larger batches (around 8-10 balls), I'm unable to do so.

With that being said, is a Poolish starter the right way to go for me, with my only option being a bulk ferment in the refrigerator? Or, will my routine/restrictions still work well with some adjustments?

Hope you guys can help!


Rory Martinez
posted over 3 years ago

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I typically would do one or the other but not always both. Usually when or if you do both poolish and bulk the doughs structure breaks down making it un user friendly but the flavor is there. If I were to do both I would back off on the yeast. I think both are great seperatly and both give great results. A poolish to me has a more tangy flavor to it with a higher acidity. Really depends on what flavor profile your looking for. Hope this helps , please post some pics of your pizza and best of luck.

Tony Gemignani admin
posted over 3 years ago

Thanks so much for reply Tony!

I'm really interested to try the Poolish as I love the tangy flavour that comes with a starter such as sourdough.

As I really have no option as to bulk ferment (without my wife once again complaining that there's no space in the refridgerator) I was wondering if you could advise on how much I should back off on the yeast in your recipe? And, if I were to bulk ferment with less yeast, should I adjust any of my timings/techniques to make the dough a little easier to handle?

Thanks once again!

- Rory   over 3 years ago

I meant that if you were to do both I would back off on the yeast. As for the poolish here is what I typically do. No starter 1% yeast with starter .5% yeast or 1/2 % if that is easier, and that's with 10-20% starter even 25% starter is fine with a cold fermentation for 24-48 hrs. Hope this helps

Tony Gemignani admin
posted over 3 years ago

That's great, thanks Tony!
I'll let you know how I get on with backing off on the yeast and using the Poolish in the bulk cold fermentation. Excited to see what difference I can taste!
Thanks very much for your advice and for the book. It has been really helpful for me as a newbie.

- Rory   over 3 years ago

Hey Tony - just thought I'd update with how I got on with the bulk rise.

Poolish did the trick nicely. It had a great taste and slight tang to it which was really nice. I ended up splitting the dough into two containers to try and slow down the bulk fermentation a bit more which seemed to work. The dough was a little harder to work with than my usual but I much preferred the outcome. Just need to keep practicing.

I've attached a photo of one of the pizzas I made.

Thanks again for your help!

Medium image

Rory Martinez
posted over 3 years ago

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