WHAT IS A POOLISH?
A poolish is a version of sourdough starter or preferment, except that poolish is made with commercial yeast as opposed to natural or wild yeast. The poolish contributes flavour in the same way that the natural starter does but without the bacterial fermentation, so there is none of the sour flavour from acetic & lactic acids. A poolish also increases the extensibility of the dough, helping to form an open, irregular crumb & a thin, crisp crust.
WHAT IS SOURDOUGH DISCARD?
Sourdough discard is the portion of your sourdough starter that is removed and discarded before feeding the remaining starter. It's an important step in maintaining a healthy & active sourdough starter but can waste a lot of flour if you’re not baking regularly. So instead of discarding the starter every time you feed it, it can be used in place of instant yeast. Please note, when using discard the higher presence of acetic & lactic acid will create much more sour flavours.
Kialla Organic Bread & Pizza Flour or Caputo Pizzeria Tipo “00” Flour
5g of instant dried yeast or 100g of sourdough discard
All of preferment mix
Strong white flour 250g (extra flour)
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1. In a large mixing bowl, combine 500g of flour, 500g water and 5g of instant dried yeast. Mix by hand or (use a Danish whisk) until well combined and there are no dry bits/lumps. Cover & let it rest.
2. Leave at room temperature (24-26 degrees Celsius) for 2 hours or until it’s almost doubled with bubbles forming in the dough, put in fridge (at 2-3 degrees Celsius) for 24 hours or longer (but no more than 3 days).
NB: If you want to make same day focaccia skip the fridge and head straight to step - 3. But if you want amazing tastinf focaccia than plan ahead & give your preferment atleast 24 hours in the fridge!
3. Take the preferment mix out of the fridge & add the extra flour, EVOO and salt. Incorporate by mixing with your hands until all the ingredients are combined, this should take 3-5 minutes. Then tip the dough out onto a kitchen bench & knead your dough for 10-15 minutes. You’ll start to see your dough become less sticky & start to come together into a smooth ball.
4. Place the dough back into the bowl covered & let it rest for 30 minutes. Then proceed with 2 stretch and folds (pulling the edges of the dough into itself) 30 minutes apart. Oil your bowl with some EVOO and place your dough smooth side up inside your bowl covered. Let it rest for 1 hour.
5. Once the dough has rested and grown by 50%, it is time to bake your focaccia. Pre-heat your oven to 320 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes.
Line your oven tray with some baking paper & spread some EVOO on top with your hands. Using a bowl scraper, gently run it around the bowl between the dough & bowl to help release it & tip the dough onto the baking paper. Gently stretch your dough out to fit your tray, giving it a 2-3cm thickness (or whatever your preference). Using your fingers, make dimples in the dough and drizzle some more EVOO, your choice of herbs/toppings (rosemary, par-cooked potatoes, oregano, thyme, caramelised onion). Bake for 20 minutes or until golden crispy!