My Dad’s bread is the BombDiggity! For a long time, I was actually scared to make it. The man worked for a couple years perfecting his bread baking technique. My family would wait for him to generously provide us with a loaf, which disappeared that same day.
One time, I tried to do it without his guidance. Fail. I felt so poolish.
Finally, I asked for a proper artisan bread making lesson. I do not eat a lot of bread. My body and sweets and yeasts, no-no. When I do eat bread, I like to know what is in it.
The lesson went well and now I can make from Poolish to Finish! Plus, it’s really fun to say Poolish.
I opted to make the bread over a two day period rather than get distracted with kids and not get around to actually baking loaves, or letting them sit in the fridge overnight.
Day 1 – Make Poolish (bread starter)
This only takes a few minutes! Gather your ingredients. Vegetable or Olive oil. Salt, pure blackstrap molasses, high quality whole wheat flour, barely warm tap water, 1 heaping T. of quality yeast. A really big bowl.
If you want to make three loaves like I did, start with exactly 3 cups of lukewarm tap water. Pour it in the big bowl. Add in the yeast, a couple dashes of salt, a splash of oil, and the molasses. See video for how I measure the molasses.
Begin to stir in flour. I believe I used a little over 3 cups. You want it to be like a very thick cake batter.
It was nearly to the top of the bowl here.
Day 2 – dough
Start adding white bread flour to your poolish with a big wooden spoon. When it begins to form a SOFT dough ball, pour it out onto a mat. I use a silicon mat, it’s wonderful!
Keep your flour handy as you will gently add more until your dough becomes as soft and squishy as a baby’s tushie.
Gently press the dough into a rectangle and add some flour to the top. I also had flour under the dough to prevent it from sticking to the mat.
With a plastic paddle or metal turner as I have here, fold the rectangle in half. Add more flour, and keep up the process of pressing it into a rectangle, folding, and so on, until there are no more sticky spots on the dough and it begins to feel smooth and stretchy, but NOT stiff! Artisan bread should stay very soft. Do not knead it or it will become tough and lose it’s spongy, airy quality.
Form the dough into a ball and gently cover with plastic wrap. Leave for exactly 15 minutes. Press into a rectangle, fold, X 4. Form into a ball, and repeat. Do this process for a total of FOUR times.
Finally, you are ready to divide the dough up however you want. I divided mine into thirds and put them in loaf pans. Before doing so, I made two of the loaves into Honey Raisin Cinnamon bread by gently stretching it out, pouring on honey, raisins, and cinnamon, then rolling it up and placing it into the loaf pan.
Just warm your oven and then turn it off. Cover each loaf and let them rise for 30-40 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375 or 400. My oven gets HOT HOT HOT! So I do mine at 375. Meanwhile, spritz each loaf with water and sprinkle on some course Kosher salt.
When the oven is ready, bake the bread for 30 minutes. They are done. Let them cool in the pans for only 5-7 minutes and then turn out so the crust stays crusty!
Eat one loaf with your family immediately while it is hot. Give one loaf away (mine went to my chiropractor because she is awesome and helps my family through a lot and because we love her).
Save one loaf for sandwiches the rest of the week.