Daily bread 3.0: Light rye poolish

After a very brief flirtation with Mr Vogel in recent weeks I am back in the swing of breadmaking. The thing that got me hooked again was a determination to get this particular loaf right. At first it was too dry, then it was too wet. After much tinkering and many substandard results, this is the perfect one. It’s based on a poolish – like a starter – that you should really leave overnight to ferment. I can tell you, however, that it still works if you only leave it for a couple of hours. Whatever works, right?

Light rye poolish bread
If you’ve got a freestanding mixer then this is about as hands-free as it gets. If you don’t have a freestanding mixer, then this will be a true labour of love as the dough is very wet and sticky. I’m working on one you can make in a no-knead style. Stay tuned.

The poolish:
60g rye flour
40g strong white flour
1/4 tsp dried yeast
250ml warm water

Mix the poolish ingredients together in the bowl of your mixer and cover with plastic. Set aside for at least three hours, preferably overnight or all day.

Then add:

1tsp dried yeast
175ml warm water
500g strong white flour
1 1/2 tsp salt

Stir the poolish and other ingredients together, then turn on the mixer at low speed and let it pummel it into a soft, sticky dough (this will take about five minutes). Scrape the dough out of the bowl, then grease the bowl with a little oil. Tip the dough back in and roll it around to coat the top, then cover with plastic and leave in a warm place until risen (about 1 ½ hours).

Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured bench and knock down, then press out gently into a rectangle. Roll up into a loaf shape, then fit inside a large, well-greased loaf tin. Leave to rise for 35 minutes, which should be enough time to preheat the oven to 210C.

When the dough is springy to touch, slash the middle with a sharp knife and put in the oven. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the crust is golden and the loaf sounds hollow when you tap it on the bottom. Tip it out of the tin and let it cool completely on a rack before slicing. This bread stays fresh for several days and freezes well.



  1. August 29, 2012 / 3:02 am

    Looks great and love how you can do it in the mixer! One day I'll bake my own bread…. in the meantime you'll find me in my sewing corner. 🙂

  2. August 30, 2012 / 4:19 pm

    Your bread looks really good Hannah, much lighter than mine. My weekly bake is a no knead rye, but it is wholemeal rye and a sourdough, so I don't know how well that would translate to one with flour and yeast in it. Look forward to finding out how you get on.

  3. August 30, 2012 / 6:38 pm

    Luce exquisito y suave me encanta ,un pan casero increíble me llevo la receta,abrazos hugs,hugs.

  4. August 31, 2012 / 2:57 am

    I don't have a stand mixed but I think my food processor has a paddle sort of blade so maybe it would work with the poolish – your bread look lovely

  5. September 1, 2012 / 10:01 pm

    It looks like a lovely loaf of bread, and a really good crumb too – I really appreciate being able to see the inside of a loaf as well as the exterior. I have to admit I'm not generally organised enough to think about poolishes and overnight steps, but perhaps I should.

  6. September 2, 2012 / 7:15 am

    That looks a fantastic loaf. Thank you for going through the pain of the recipe development. I love baking with a poolish, it always seems to result in a far better loaf.

  7. September 7, 2012 / 12:51 am

    I've been meaning to pop over here since I came across your bread recipe. Sorry took me ages. Looks incredible, Lucy. You're a very talented baker!xx

  8. Brian Sharpe
    December 29, 2020 / 1:53 am

    Recently tried the recipe and it is a real keeper. The bread turned out great and is very easy to do. Not too much work either.

  9. Dave
    January 28, 2021 / 11:48 am

    I thought that a poolish, by definition, was a 100% hydration preferment…you’re is 250%. Is all that extra water necessary because the rye is so dry?

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