Poulash - How spell? Definition?
  Re: (...)
Long ago I misplaced a book on French bread baking. The author used the word "Poulash" - (Spelling???) to describe a "stage" in the rising process.
I think
Will someone please tell me how to spell the word?....AND....comment on whether I am correct in using the word "Poulash" to describe a preliminary "rise" - where the recipe has progressed to a "batter" stage - not quite a "dough".
Too thick to pour easily?
Too thin to knead?
This is my first Post to this forum, please excuse missteps.
  Re: Poulash - How spell? Definition? by TerryK (Long ago I misplaced...)
I have not heard the term Poulash except one time on this forum and don't think anyone addressed it. So I can't help you there, but...

I found the article today and from what you are talking about I believe the term may refer to the 'making a sponge' in bread baking. Here is an article along with an Italian Bread recipe.


Bread Baking With Sponges
by Sidney Carlisle
Back in the good old days, bread was made at home. No one had the money to buy bread, even if it were available at the local grocery. A cook would set aside one or two days a week to make several loaves, supplementing with biscuits or corn bread between baking days.

Most bread was made with white flour, although some households also kept wheat on hand. When times were hard and money was scarce, one sack of flour usually had to work for everything, whether bread or cake, so white flour was the more versatile choice.

To begin preparations for bread baking, the baker "set a sponge" on the night before. (If you're under 50, you need to understand that a sponge is not yellow and stuck to one end of a mop.) The sponge consisted of flour, water and yeast. These ingredients were mixed with a spoon, covered with a tea towel or perhaps a blanket if it were the dead of winter, and left to set overnight. The yeast would ferment and produced a bubbly batter that smelled good. The next morning the rest of the bread ingredients were added to the sponge, forming a dough to be kneaded and set to rise as usual.

The sponge process adds tremendous flavor and texture to bread. It is the equivalent of an extra rise in the bread making process. Bread made without a sponge usually rises twice, once after it is mixed and once after it is shaped. Most heavy-crusted, old-world style breads are made with a sponge, also called a biga or starter. These breads, termed "artisan" by professional bread bakers, have a developed yeast flavor that is difficult to achieve in bread that has risen only twice.

by John Raven, Ph.B.
Dish Bread Recipe

Making a sponge is simple, if you can remember to prepare it the night before you want to bake bread. It takes only about five minutes to stir the ingredients together. Most recipes will indicate how long to let the sponge set. The longer the time, the more developed the flavor will be.
When ready to prepare the dough, stir the sponge gently and then add the remaining ingredients. The consistency of the sponge will vary, depending on the length of time it has set, the humidity in the room, and the temperature. The amount of flour may need to be adjusted, whether the dough is made by hand or in a bread machine. Add the minimum amount of flour indicated in the recipe. If the dough is too sticky, add one tablespoon at a time until it has absorbed enough flour to be easily kneaded.

The two recipes that follow produce flavorful, artisan-type bread loaves. The dough for either recipe may be prepared by hand, or by using the dough cycle of a 1-1/2 to 2 pound capacity bread machine. The process is easy and the bread is wonderful.

Italian Bread - Sponge Method
Please note that this recipe uses all-purpose flour, rather than bread flour. For the sponge:

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup lukewarm water

Combine the flour and yeast in a mixing bowl. Stir in the water. The mixture will be very thick. Cover with plastic wrap or a cup towel and leave at room temperature for 4 hours or overnight, but not longer than 12 hours.

To prepare the dough:

3 tablespoons lukewarm water
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour, approximately
Add the water and salt to the sponge. Stir in the flour, adding an extra tablespoon or two of flour if the dough seems sticky. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled in size, about 1-1/2 hours. (If using a bread machine, dump the sponge in the pan and add the other ingredients. Select dough or manual cycle. Leave the top of the machine up, and watch as the dough forms. Add flour if needed. Put the top down and let the machine continue to mix, knead and complete one rise.)
Punch the dough down and divide in half. Shape into two rectangles. Roll one rectangle from the long side and pinch the seam together with your fingers. Repeat with the other rectangle. Leave the two loaves on the work surface and cover with plastic wrap for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Grease a baking sheet with shortening. Pick up each loaf and stretch gently as you place it on the baking sheet. Sprinkle the loaves lightly with flour. Cover again and let rise 20 minutes. Using a serrated knife, cut three or four diagonal slashes about 3/4-inch deep across the top of each loaf. Bake about 20 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool 15 minutes before cutting.

As this is a fat-free bread, it has a short shelf life. Use it on the day it is prepared or freeze in plastic freezer bags. To reheat, thaw on the counter in the bag. Remove from the bag and heat 8 to 10 minutes on a baking sheet in a 350-degree oven.

"Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time."
  Re: Re: Poulash - How spell? Definition? by luvnit (I have not heard the...)
Poulash is kind of like the fermentation part of the bread recipe, isn't it? At least that's what I've thot of it as.

Welcome to the forum, Terry - love to see another "retired" folk around here to rub it in to these youngsters!! (have you ever been as busy in your life as you are now that you're retired??? ) Hope you come back often - we can use more bakers around here.
Retired and having fun writing cookbooks, tasting wine and sharing recipes with all my friends.
  Re: Re: Poulash - How spell? Definition? by cjs (Poulash is kind of l...)
I think another word for "poulash"is starter--I stand to be corrected.

WELCOME TerryK---I certainly hope that you will join in on the fun here---I always have very stupid questions about baking----I LOVE BAKING!!!
"Never eat more than you can lift" Miss Piggy
  Re: Re: Poulash - How spell? Definition? by Roxanne 21 (I think another word...)
Bakers are the real "mad scientists" of the kitchen. Always measuring everything and following all of these processes and all...makes me glad I can just open the spice cupboard and say, "I am having a pork loin. How about a pinch of this and a dash of that?" Then you just cook away and change and modify it to taste the way you imagine it as you go...
"Ponder well on this point: the pleasant hours of our life are all connected, by a more or less tangible link, with some memory of the table."-Charles Pierre Monselet, French author(1825-1888)
  Re: Re: Poulash - How spell? Definition? by firechef (Bakers are the real ...)
Poolish - Is French for a mixture of flour and water and a little
bakers yeast. The ratio of flour to water is 50 - 50 by weight.
  Re: Re: Poulash - How spell? Definition? by jend (Poolish - Is French ...)
Yupp!!! That's a starter! Great with sourdough bread and Morrocan bread recipes!!!

LJ---I have a basic science/chemistry background---maybe that is why I enjoy baking---that precision, ya know!! YA THINK????????

ANY cooking is great for me---it is always an adventure to attempt something new---the beauty of C@H!!!! YUMMMMMMMMMM__
"Never eat more than you can lift" Miss Piggy
  Re: Re: Poulash - How spell? Definition? by jend (Poolish - Is French ...)
Oh thanks for the detailed info Jend and the correct spelling. Of course I had to Wiki it and see what they said. Here it is for those interested:


A pre-ferment (pâte fermentée), also called a "sponge" or a "bread starter", is a fermentation starter used in bread baking. It usually consists of a simple mixture of flour, water, and a leavening agent (typically yeast or yogurt), and is added to bread dough before the kneading and baking process as a substitute for yeast. Though they have declined in popularity as direct additions of yeast in bread recipes have streamlined the process on a commercial level, pre-ferments of various forms are widely used in artisanal bread recipes.

Using a pre-ferment imparts several advantages in the breadmaking process -- the act of giving a long fermentation to parts of the dough allows greater complexity of flavor through yeast and bacterial action, as well as enhancing the keeping qualities of the finished product. The starter ingredients are mixed in a container at least three times bigger than the ingredients, to allow plenty of room for the starter to grow. The starter is left sitting at room temperature for anywhere from ten hours to three days before being added to the dough. Starters typically last three to five days, but this time can be extended through refrigeration by providing more water and flour when it is ready to be used.

There are several kinds of pre-ferment commonly used in bread baking:

Sourdough starter is likely the oldest, being entirely reliant on wild yeasts present in the grain and local environment. Sourdough starters are maintained over long periods of time and generally have fairly complex microbiological makeups, most notably including wild yeasts, lactobacillus, and acetobacteria. A roughly synonymous term in French baking is levain.
Old dough (pâte fermentée) sponges can be made with any sort of yeast, and essentially consist of a piece of dough reserved from a previous batch of bread, with more flour and water added in to feed the remaining yeast.
Biga and poolish are terms used in Italian and French baking, respectively, for starters made with domestic baker's yeast. Poolish is usually a fairly wet starter, while biga can be wet or dry. Poolish was first used by Polish bakers around 1840, hence its name, and as a method was brought to France in the beginning of 1920s.

"Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time."
  Re: Re: Poulash - How spell? Definition? by luvnit (Oh thanks for the de...)
Daphne was the one to mention it in January of this year. She said she had forgotten to set her poulash. Yo Daphne, don't you go using those strange words without telling us what they mean!
Don't wait too long to tell someone you love them.

  Re: Re: Poulash - How spell? Definition? by bjcotton (Daphne was the one t...)
Sorry...PoptheBaker was the one to instruct me on this. He set up a spreadsheet for me to make my bread and be able to adjust the amounts based on the amount of bread I wanted to make...such a nice man. He also told me that a poolish and a sponge were basically the same thing. My poolish is 47.73% flour, 0.13% baker's yeast, and 47.73% water. As defined above, my poolish is very wet. It's fun to watch it bubble up and my son thinks it smells like beer. He can't figure out how it turns into bread...LOL!
Keep your mind wide open.

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