A poolish is a type of preferment used in bread-making to enhance flavor, texture, and aroma. It is a wet starter or pre-ferment that typically consists of equal parts of flour and water, combined with a small amount of commercial yeast. The mixture is allowed to ferment for a specific duration, often overnight or for several hours, before being incorporated into the final bread dough.

The purpose of a poolish is to increase the complexity of flavors in the bread and contribute to a more open and airy crumb structure. During the fermentation process, the yeast in the poolish produces carbon dioxide, and the enzymes in the flour break down complex starches into simpler sugars, further enriching the dough’s flavor.

Poolish is commonly used in artisanal and European-style bread-making, adding depth and character to the finished product. Its relatively high hydration level gives the bread a lighter texture and a slightly tangy taste. Bakers appreciate the flexibility and improved fermentation control that poolish provides, allowing for the creation of high-quality, flavorful bread.