percentage of poolish

So, is there any ideal percentage of poolish / starter to add to the dough recipe for the best flavor profile?

I've tried making dough in the past and adding a poolish, but it seemed I was never adding enough to bring out the flavor of the poolish.

So, if any of you do this, what percentage of poolish do you typically use to enhance the flavor of the dough?

Thanks in advance. :)

Tory Glenn
posted over 2 years ago

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10-20% seems common. To get the most flavor benefit, your poolish needs to be fully ripe but not collapsed. In my experience, if you go above 20% of poolish weight based on total weight of flour in the recipe, the pizza starts to taste bready. Basically, the poolish adds flavor but it also adds strength to the dough. Too much, and you're eating ciabatta with a tomato cheese topping. :)

This is especially true when you use high gluten flour and bake for 6+ minutes in a home oven - you can easily end up with a tough cracker.

Some California style recipes, like the Pizzeria Mozza recipe and the Chez Panisse recipe tend to go all out and use sponges that are 60% or higher based on the total weight of the flour in the recipe. I believe that these recipes were created by bread makers who wanted to get into pizza making. In my opinion, this approach generates a completely different texture and it's up to you to decide whether you like it better or not. It can work well for certain toppings and baking methods.

I've also read that poolish is not commonly used in Naples (birth of pizza). This isn't surprising to me because in my experience, direct doughs fermented for 2+ days result in consistently tender pizzas.

Alex L.
posted over 2 years ago

Ok, thanks for the advice, Alex :)

- Tory   over 2 years ago

Tory, I wanted to add that IMHO, using a sourdough starter as your source of yeast results in the absolute best flavor, at least for Neapolitan pizza. It blows away what you can achieve with commercial yeast, even using preferments like Poolish.

Warning: This may make it difficult to enjoy eating pizza at average pizzerias any more. There is a strong and wonderful flavor in the crust. After you find this out for yourself, it is very hard to go back to commercial yeast doughs. If you're interested in trying this out, this is my favorite process:

Alex L.
posted over 2 years ago

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