What is Poolish?
Poolish is a preferment type of starter dough popular with French bakers and used widely in their bakery goods.
Essentially it is a very wet dough with a highly active yeast culture which is then added to the dough. It is generally around 100% hydration, therefore equal parts of water to flour by weight.
This recipe comes from Vito Lacopelli’s famous Poolish pizza dough recipe on Youtube which is at the bottom of this post.
Sourdough vs Poolish – Are They Different?
So, what’s the difference between a poolish stater and a sourdough starter?
A poolish starter is made using yeast and 100% hydration (equal parts by weight of water and flour) while sourdough starter or levain is made with no yeast and around 70% or more hydration. It relies on wild yeast and acid producing bacteria for fermentation.
This in turn creates a more acidic taste in the final dough than poolish starter does.
What is the Purpose of Poolish in Pizza?
Using a poolish in pizza adds a greater depth of flavour and aroma profile that is unique to longer fermented doughs.
Due to the break down of proteins your pizza will have a crispier crust with a more enhanced flavour and texture. Features that are hard to achieve with normal quick dough recipes.
Your pizza dough will be easier to shape, feeling soft and fragrant and be easier to digest due to less yeast in the mix.
How to Tell if Your Poolish is Ready
Your poolish starter is most likely ready after 16 hours and the best way to tell is to lift the lid and take a look. It should be moist and spongy and have lots of bubbles on the surface indicating the poolish is active and fermentation is well under way.
There should also be a nice aroma to the pre-fermented poolish consistent with active cultures in the starter. Your poolish starter dough is now ready for action.
Recipe – Easy Poolish for Pizza
This poolish pizza recipe will allow you to make perfect fermented tasting pizza at home in a few hours, not days that you would traditionally need to do. (Just make sure to prepare the poolish around 24 hours ahead).
The addition of poolish to your dough will ensure your pizzas are taken to the next level, your friends and family will think you are the new “Pizza Maestro” in town.
So, let’s start:
Making the poolish
(This will make around 10 dough balls depending on what size you like).
300gm room temperature water
5gm instant dry yeast
5gm honey (this helps fermentation to be more powerful and natural).
Stir to combine then add,
300gm 00 flour.
Stir all together to a creamy consistency.
Cover and leave at room temperature for 1 hour, then place in the fridge for between 16 – 24 hours.
Making the pizza dough
Add 700gm water
Add all the poolish
Stir together then add half of the 1250gm of flour (625gm)
Stir though for a couple of minutes then add
40gm salt give a quick stir
Then add the rest of the flour and stir till combined.
Once roughly combined, tip onto a large flat surface and mix by folding and pressing, repeating until all the dough has come together. When it is all together it will be sticky so now leave on the workbench and cover with a large bowl for around 15 minutes.
Remove the bowl and place a small amount of olive oil on your hands and proceed to lift the dough from under the middle and drop back onto itself, a bit like folding making sure to keep the top of the dough ball on top. Repeat for a couple of minutes and the pizza dough will transform into a super smooth ball of dough right before your eyes, just like magic.
Once the dough is smooth place it into an oiled, air-tight container to rest for around half an hour.
Now it’s time to shape into dough balls. Once you have done this, place them into a lightly oiled container with a lid or some plastic wrap and set aside to rest for a couple of hours.
Making the Pizza’s
Grab your dough balls and drop into a container with some flour or semolina, flip them over to get them well coated and place on preparation surface.
Press out into desired pizza shape and start building. Enjoy your Poolish Pizza’s, yay..