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Oct 16, 2022

Poolish Baguettes

This baguette starts with a poolish, which is a preferment that you make a day or two before you bake the bread. You mix it, let it get bubbly, and then refrigerate it overnight to develop flavor.

Poolish Baguettes Sandwich Tuna Sandwich on a plate.

I have been on a long quest to achieve making the perfect French baguette. Making these baguettes was another attempt. I still have a long way to go! 

According to Peter Reinhart, the author of The Bread Baker's Apprentice, as well as many other books on the art of bread, the original formula for this bread is supposed to be the standard at the Coup de Monde bread competition in Paris. 

According to Peter Reinhart, Bernard Ganachaud, in the early 1960s, first came up with this formula as an alternative to the then standard Parisian baguette. Evidently he used a patented flour (with his name on it and he licensed). By the early 1990s, if you were a bakery, you could charge an extra franc for each loaf if you paid for a license to use his formula (the government controlled the price of bread). 

Three Poolish Baguettes ends.

Ganachaud's special flour had a higher ash percentage as well as a bit more bran. It was a little like first clear flour, which is often used in Jewish rye bread to add a little strength. 

King Arthur Baking used to sell a French-style flour, which was higher in ash, as well as a first clear flour. The first time I tried making these baguettes, I used some of the clear flour that I had impulsively purchased. 

The resulting baguettes turned out pretty good. They didn't collapse when I slashed them, and the taste was wonderful. They just didn't have that perfect "French Baguette" look (see below). 

Three Poolish Baguettes on a platter.

I still can't seem to figure out how to shape the ends!

The dough consists of the poolish, bread flour, and either sifted whole wheat flour or clear flour. OR, you can just use bread flour and add two tablespoons of whole wheat flour. 

This time, I attempted to sift out the bran from whole wheat flour, but clearly, my sieve was not fine enough (and it was a pretty fine mesh). I did end up with about 1/4 cup of bran from the flour I sifted, but the final flour still was pretty full of more bran. Thus, the "whole wheat" look of the baguettes. 

Plus, I still can't quite perfect the pointy ends!!!! They look more like fish. 

Poolish Baguettes on a marble surface.

Next time, I'm trying just adding two tablespoons of whole wheat flour. Stay tuned.....

Fortunately, these loaves are delicious on their own, even if they aren't Parisian perfection. 

We enjoyed them for sandwiches, dipped in soups, and for morning toast. You can also cut up leftovers for croutons. They'd also be great for banh mi or French dip sandwiches

Poolish Baguettes for a tuna sandwich.

My Favorite (and most successful attempts at) Baguettes:

Baking By Hand Baguette

Classic French Bread

Demi Baguettes


Overnight Sourdough Baguettes

No Knead Durum Stirato

My "Still Working on it" Baguettes:

Julia Child's Pain Francais - this one will always be my nemesis.... 

From Our Dinner Table Graphic.

This week we are attempting "bucket list" recipes. 

Recipe Bucket List

We share Recipes From Our Dinner Table! Join our group and share your recipes, too! While you're at it, join our Pinterest board, too!

Poolish Baguette pieces in a basket.

Poolish Baguettes

Poolish Baguettes
Yield: 24 servings
Author: Karen's Kitchen Stories
This baguette starts with a poolish, which is a preferment that you make a day or two before you bake the bread. You mix it, let it get bubbly, and then refrigerate it overnight to develop flavor.


  • 159 grams (1 1/4 cups) unbleached bread flour
  • 107 grams (3/4 cup) room temperature water
  • .41 grams (1/8 teaspoon) instant yeast
For the Dough
  • 198 grams (1cup) poolish
  • Either 227 (1 3/4 cups) grams sifted whole wheat flour (bran removed) or first clear flour /OR/ 209 grams (1 3/4 cups minus 2 tablespoons) unbleached bread flour plus 18 grams (2 tablespoons) whole wheat flour
  • 255 grams (2 cups) unbleached bread flour
  • 10.5 grams (1 1/2 teaspoons) salt
  • 2.25 grams (3/4 teaspoons) instant yeast
  • 283 grams (1 1/4 cups) lukewarm water


To Make the Poolish
  1. Mix the poolish ingredients, cover, and let rise for 3 to 4 hours.
  2. Refrigerate for up to 3 days before using.
To Make the Baguettes
  1. Remove the poolish from the refrigerator and let rest at room temperature for one hour.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the flours, salt, and yeast. Add the poolish and the water and mix with the dough hook on low until just combined. Continue to mix on medium low for 6 minutes, until you have a soft and pliable dough. You can also knead by hand for 10 minutes.
  3. Place the dough into an oiled boil, cover, and let rise until doubled, about 1 to 2 hours.
  4. Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces and gently press each into a rectangle and fold them into a log. Using your hands, roll each to about 18 inches long and let proof in a floured and folded couche, covered, seam side down, for about an hour.
  5. Place a baking stone in your oven with a steam pan on the lowest rack of your oven and heat the oven to 500 degrees F. Fill a spray bottle with water and heat one cup of water to boiling.
  6. When you are ready to bake, transfer the loaves to a piece of parchment on a baking peel and score the loves with a razor or sharp knife.
  7. Transfer the loaves, parchment and all, to the baking stone. Add the one cup of boiling water to the steam pan and spray the walls of your oven with water.
  8. Spray the oven walls, two more times, every 30 seconds.
  9. Reduce the oven heat to 450 degrees F and bake for 20 to 22 minutes, until browned and the internal temperature is 210 degrees F.
  10. Cool for at least an hour on a wire rack.

Nutrition Facts



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Would you like to comment?

  1. I like that you can make the poolish several days in advance so it's ready to go whenever you are!

  2. These look wonderful! I actually bought bread flour to do more bread baking. Now I just need to get my act together!


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