Sunday Breads: Pain sur Poolish

There’s something so therapeutic about making bread. It forces you to slow down and wait, for the ingredients to do their thing. The other day a friend asked - how do I speed up the bread making process and still get the “holey effect” of a good rustic bread.  

My advice to him - find a good bakery.

Bread making requires patience, lots of it. The proofing, kneading, rising, de-gassing and re-gassing - it's an exercise in patience. Even after you've followed all of the steps to a T,  then you hope that you can get your oven hot and steamy enough, or you won’t get the effect that you desire. Patience - remember?

Pain sur Poolish ©

This is very different from cooking because this is one aspect of cooking that is an exact science. I don’t do well with things that require perfection, but I’m also an overachiever so I’m gonna conquer this if it’s the last thing that I do.

Pain sur Poolish © 

I’ve always baked bread, however a recent trip to Paris got me interested in trying to make different breads that I’d only ever picked up at specialty bakeries. I’ve been doing a lot of reading about different techniques, and I’ve been spending lots of time trying to perfect a basic rustic recipe before I move onto something more complex or technical.

I found this recipe for rustic bread, and after a couple of tries, I’m on my way. 

Sunday Breads: Pain sur Poolish

yield: 2 Loaves  prep time: 180 minute(s)
cook time: 20 minute(s)  total time: 200 minute(s)


3 1⁄2 cups
Flour - Bread Flour
1 1⁄2 cup
1 teaspoon
Instant Yeast
2 teaspoons
Poolish Recipe


The poolish for this bread should be made the night before baking. To make the poolish you will need 

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp yeast

Combine these ingredients in a small bowl the night before baking. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave out at room temperature overnight.

Preparing the final dough

  1. The next day, combine all of the final dough ingredients in mixer and fold until well combined. Dough should be tacky not sticky.
  2. Remove from dough from mixing bowl, place in an oiled bowl to rise and cover with plastic wrap for at least 2 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.
  3. At the end of the rising, de-gas the dough, cut into two pieces and re-shape the dough in loaves and give them a longer final rise, typically around 60 to minutes, or until the dough has doubled in size.
  4. 30 minutes before you are ready to put the bread in the oven, pre-heat the oven with baking sheet and oven-proof dish which can hold water at least 2 cups of water, to the maximum oven temp that’s safe to do so. In my oven it’s 500F.
  5. Once the bread has risen, slide onto baking sheet, add water to the oven-proof dish, then lower the oven temperature to 450F. The oven should be nice and steamy. Baking, with steam, takes about 20 minutes. Rotate the loaves once half way through the baking. Remove from the oven when done and place on a rack to cool.  




(Taken from The Fresh Loaf)