Pâte fermentée

Joined Dec 1, 2015
So I've started using the "old dough" method as a preferment for my home baguettes and I have 2 questions for anyone doing this.  I make them by hand, not machine.

First,  is there a trick to dissolving the pâte fermentée in the new water?  I kept trying to break it up with my hands but the gluten network was pretty tough.  I ended up just mixing it all after it was about 60% broken and doing fraisage a couple of times to incorporate it.  Seems ok for now.

Also, when kneading, the dough seemed to develop it's gluten much faster, although not quite as smooth on the surface when I rounded it for the first fermentation.  Is this normal?  Does the dough need a little more water (than the original ratios) in a pâte fermentée method?

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Joined May 5, 2010
When you're dissolving the dough use a scissors to cut the dough into very small pieces. The allow these pieces to sit in the new water for as much as 10 minutes. This will soften the dough so it will mix easier. Patience.

You may have to add water of flour depending on the "feel of the dough." If while you're kneading it doesn't smooth out all the way, don't fear, as it will smooth out as it rises. Been there and done that.
Joined Dec 1, 2015
All in all turned out fine, although late on a weeknight, I must've had a brain cramp and forgot to steam the oven.  Poor oven spring but no one in the family complained.  

I think making a poolish in the morning and then finishing at home works just as well.  I don't think the flavor was significantly better with the pâte fermentée
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