The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Retard Levain Only?

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GregS's picture
GregS

Retard Levain Only?

Is it possible to cold retard a biga or poolish for a day or two? I assume that if I did so, I could take the leavain out with a little more flexible timing and finish the loaves on a day of my choice (within the retardation time frame). Would the finished loaves be distinctly better or worse if I retarded only the levain?

I know I could retard the shaped loaves, but I'd rather finish the process all at once. Any experiences or opinions?

Thanks, folks.

GregS

Ford's picture
Ford

"Is it possible to cold retard a biga or poolish for a day or two?"

Yes, then bring it to room temperature and continue with the process

"I assume that if I did so, I could take the leavain out with a little more flexible timing and finish the loaves on a day of my choice (within the retardation time frame)."

Certainly.

"Would the finished loaves be distinctly better or worse if I retarded only the levain"

Try it and see.

Good luck, and good baking!

Ford

Maverick's picture
Maverick

I seem to recall in BBA, Peter Reinhart's Ciabatta recipe has you do that. He states that a poolish should be fine in the refrigerator for  up to 3 days. He instructs to leave it out 3 or 4 hours first before retarding, and to remove it from the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before using it. I am not sure about how the flavor is affected the longer you go. But I would imagine it to be a little more sour each day (or perhaps just more "complex"). There are others that might be able to give better details on flavor, but this is my understanding.

tn gabe's picture
tn gabe

i have started to retard just the levain for more sour flavor when i won't have room to retard final dough.

i try and make sure i catch it 'on the way up', as depending on how much levain or poolish i have going, it can take a while to cool in fridge. 

let us know what you're experience is.