Food, Home & Lifestyle

Poilâne-Style Wheat Loaf: Scoring & Baking

Apollonia Poilâne

Lesson time 17:55 min

Apollonia puts the finishing touches on her wheat loaf—including baking and a scoring tutorial—and walks you through a side-by-side loaf analysis of common baking issues.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Baking & Cooling · Slicing Your Loaf · Storing Your Loaf · Diagnosing Your Loaf: Common Issues


[MUSIC PLAYING] APOLLONIA POILANE: What I like about sourdough is you have a thick crust that's distinctive in color and in thickness. I like to have this tight crumb. You get a sense in the movement of the way the dough was knead. You have these wonderful smells of the wheat flour. You have a little bit of the sourness of the sourdough. And those are the qualities we're going to look for in the final loaf. To bake the loaf, you'll need to preheat the oven. Once the oven is at the right heat, I put a cocotte inside so that it warms up the cocotte for about 25 minutes. I use this Dutch oven so that I can have a stronger heat. When you're at the bakery, we bake a batch of 30, 50, 100 loaves at a time. And we have this momentum with the other loaves and the proximity of the different loaves in the space. And that helps the loaves grow. Literally, the proximity of these different loaves in the oven at a regular interval helps and creates a momentum that makes for a nicer loaf. So in using a Dutch oven, I'm trying to recreate this closeness but also reinforce the heat. My dough has proofed for about two hours. It's reached the top of this basket. This is just about the maximum you want to have it. If it's a finger away from the top, that's great. It should not have overflown. If it has, bake it immediately. The dough will likely collapse a little bit. That's OK. Maybe not entirely, but it'll just be a little flatter, a little denser. If you're still more than two fingers away from the top, then maybe let it proof for another 10, 15 minutes but no more. At this point, you don't want to over-touch the dough. But you can get a sense and feel for the texture by using the back of your hand. So while it's a little sticky here, you can feel that it's got fragility to it. But it's got some body. This is a good indication, but it's not a test. I would really trust the rise more than the resistance of the dough. I'm going to set the dough aside and remove the Dutch oven from the oven. Quickly close the oven here. Watch out for this is hot. You can flour the inside. And here, you are going to toss the dough inside of the cocotte. Because this is a flour surface, it should just plop in as you heard that sound. "Schploof." But if it tends to stick, just keep it above. And try and help it in by just scooping it inwards. Just bear in mind this is warm. Now, here I use one of my blades. It's a razor blade. It should be sharp and fresh. You could use a very sharp knife. It will be harder. The advantage of a razor blade is that it's very thin. Scoring is the last intervention you can do to the dough before it goes into the oven. It creates a direction to the way the loaf will crackle in the oven. I like to give it some simple shapes. But as you start practicing your art of baking, then you might get more into details. The trick here is if your loaf has risen a lot, make sure to score very lightly, just marking the loaf top. Conversely, if yo...

About the Instructor

As a third-generation baker and CEO of the renowned Parisian bakery Poilâne, Apollonia Poilâne keeps time-honored traditions alive with every loaf. Now she’s sharing the joy of making bread from scratch with her recipes and hands-on demonstrations. Learn how to make your own starter and a variety of French breads, including rustic wheat, rye, and brioche. Taste, smell, and feel your way to fresh, warm bread at home.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Apollonia Poilâne

Poilâne CEO Apollonia Poilâne teaches the renowned Parisian bakery’s philosophy and time-tested techniques for baking rustic French breads.

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