The artisan sourdough bread using a poolish made from apple yeast water and bread flour.
Over the past years, I have tried using rye, whole wheat and wheat flour sourdough starters, even with the freeze-dried starters obtained from San Francisco! I found these yeast-based sourdough starters quite messy to use and cumbersome to maintain. I didn’t like having to deal with the discards whenever I had to feed the starter, and this feeding will be quite often if you wanted to maintain vibrant yeast activity. The containers had this sticky gooey dough and cleaning them was a chore. I tried using fruit yeast water starters before more out of curiosity, and they did give good results. I was not seriously into baking sourdough breads at that time. Recently, after discovering Ms Novita Listyani’s uTube videos, I found that fruit yeast water produced active starters not only faster in 3-4 days than a starter with flour, but in this method it is also easier to clean and to maintain an active batch of starters.
So I purchased online, two 500 ml glass jars with metal screw caps, sterilised them in boiling water for 10 minutes, and after cooling them, added in cubes of organic apples cut from about one and a half apples for each bottle. These weight about 250 gm apple fruit per bottle. Then I added 2 teaspoons of organic raw cane sugar and 400 gm of filtered water. Gave the bottles a good shake and stored them in my walk-in wardrobe where a dehumidifier kept the temperature in the low thirties (Centigrade). Twice a day, I shook the bottles and then unscrewed the lids to allow built-up gas to escape. After the third day, I could see a thick build-up of bubbles and the apple cubes floating indication plenty of yeast activity. By the fourth day, I filtered the contents out into a glass container and used the apple water to make a poolish to bake sourdough bread. The remaining filtered apple water was returned to the washed glass jars. I added 1 teaspoon of the cane sugar and kept the jars in the fridge. Subsequently, I drew from this stock of yeasted water to bake other breads. The yeasted water in the fridge can keep for about two weeks, but by then, it’s all gone!
I have baked several variations of bread using the poolish from apple yeast water and flour, and this is one of the variations.
For the poolish made the night before:
70 gm bread flour
70 gm apple yeast water
For the dough made the next morning:
All of the poolish
120 gm water
200 gm bread flour
4 gm salt
16 gm Olive oil (optional).
After thoroughly mixing of all the ingredients, the dough is allowed to rest for 45 minutes before starting Stretch and Folds, four times at 45 minutes intervals. This is followed by a rest period for another 45 minutes, and a Coil fold is done before allowing the dough to be transferred to a very lightly floured mat for the pre-shaping. The pre-shaping is followed by a rest of 25 minutes to relax the gluten strands before a final shaping is done and followed by bulk proofing in a rice-floured banneton for 4-8 hours in the fridge. The dough is then removed, slashed and baked at 250˚C for 25 minutes in a Dutch oven with the lid on, and another 25 minutes at 205˚C with the cover off.
The above shows the cold proofed dough (after sitting in the fridge for 4 hours) removed from the banneton.
Brush off some of the flour from the surface of the boule, do the slashing, and place the dough into the hot Dutch Oven.
After lowering the dough into the hot Dutch Oven and before quickly closing the DO with the hot lid, I used to spray water into the DO. Recently, I noticed in one of the uTube videos, the baker placing a couple of ice cubes into the hot DO before he closed the lid. This is the method I am trying out now as I believe the amount of steam created is much more and for longer.
Using Japanese bread flour, it’s noticeable that the crust is thinner and much more crispy than some other flours I have used. The crumb is whiter, softer and chewy or bouncy as well with the Japanese flour. In fact the crumb is so soft, that I find it a challenge to slice the loaf with a serrated bread knife!
“Bread for myself is a material question. Bread for my neighbor is a spiritual one.”