The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

cold fermentation

Justkneadit's picture


After having a successful first try at my first of two recipes I will bake for a year, my sourdough boule, I gave DonD's recipe for Baguettes a l'Ancienne my best. I will say a good baguette is not as simple as it may seem, and I feel this recipe will take more time to become proficient.

The method to my madness...


Flour Mixture

  • 470g KAF AP
  • 30g Arrowhead Mills Whole Grain Rye
  • 300g Cold Water (38F)


  • 50g Cold Water (40F)
  • 10g Pink Himaylan Salt
  • 2g Instant Yeast


  1. Mix flour and cold water into a doughy blob. Temp of dough after mixing 63.7F. Place in fridge for 12hr at 42.2F.
  2. Pull flour mix out of fridge and mix in 50g of cold water and yeast. This was um...difficult at first. Between freezing my fingers and fighting the slimy mixture I finally brought it together, about 10 min. 
  3. Then add the salt and knead until distributed evenly, using Bertinet's method.
  4. Let the dough rest for 15 min, then began 1st of 4 S&F's at 30 min apart and then 2 S&F at 45 min apart.
  5. Place dough in oiled bowl, in to a plastic bag it went and then in to the fridge (44.2F) for 24hr.
  6. Pull out of the fridge, gently divide into three 270g pieces and gently preshape into a fat log. I used Ciril Hitz's method for prehaping and shaping. Cover with plastic and let rest for 1hr.
  7. Preheat oven to 490F. I gently degased and shaped then proofed en couche for 45 min seam side up.
  8. Misted sides of the oven, transferred baguettes to baguette pan, scored and placed in oven with 2/3 cup of boiling water. Immediately turned oven down to 460F. Bake for 10 min then remove pan with lava rocks and reduce to 430F for 10 min. Then turned off oven and opened the door and let the baguettes sit for 5 min. Allowed to cool for 30 min.

My results are as follows, but not exactly what I wanted.


Crumb was no where near what I wanted or comparable to DonD's wonderful baguettes, but then again I have only just begun. Maybe no degas the next time and some work on shaping and scoring wouldn't hurt.

Crust color was a little light. Any tips?

What is the purpose of the rye in the recipe? The inside was nice and soft with a thin crunchy crust but I thought the taste was a bit off. In all honesty a may have forgotten the salt but I can't remember, mise en place right? So, the no salt could have been the culprit, not totally sure I forgot it though. Anyways I'm open to suggestion, critques or comments. Thanks!

Alvaremj's picture

Tartine method in my life

March 25, 2012 - 3:35pm -- Alvaremj

I’ve never been one to follow a recipe to a tee. I recently read Tartine Bread and it got me thinking how to manage my time so I can bake on days I work as well as days off.  So essentially, what I out of the book was that the baker can manipulate time and temperature to make any time frame work to make bread.

bagel_and_rye's picture

May Event for the Chicago Amateur Bread Bakers

April 28, 2011 - 1:02pm -- bagel_and_rye

Today we announced the focus for our May "Taste-and-Tell": Cold (Retarded) Fermentation. The "Taste-and-Tell" is a monthly event held by the Chicago Amateur Bread Bakers. Each month we introduce a topic related to bread baking.


Some information about this month's focus topic:

donenright's picture

How frigid is your fridge?

December 15, 2010 - 3:42pm -- donenright


I've been trying a few baguette methods that call for a retardation in the refrigerator, and what confuses me is that many people say they get a bit of a rise out of their dough while it's in there. I get nada. The dough comes out pretty much exactly as it went in. Which leads me to ask, what's the point of the cold retardation? If yeast activity slows to the point of pretty much total inaction, the process isn't doing me much good, is it? 

RobertS's picture

I use three enamelled pots with cast iron cores (each is 3.5 qt. size, one round and two oval) frequently now in my bread baking---all three fit nicely into my oven at the same time--- and am delighted with the perfect crust and crumb this Lahey method delivers unfailingly. And for superior taste, I always employ a 24-48 hr+ initial cold refrigerator ferment,  using ice cold water (77%), instant yeast .7%, table salt 2%, and 100% unbleached Canadian white all-purpose flour. On a stack of Bread Bibles, I solemnly (if immodestly) swear my Lahey Cold Pot Bread has no equal in the land, or in heaven for that matter.

But in my opinion the method Lahey suggests for proofing and "loading" the dough into the pot is fraught with unecessary difficulties. He suggests proofing on a wheat bran-sprinkled tea towel, and then inverting this "package" and plopping it unceremoniously into the hot pot. (In the Bittman video he looks like a farmer dropping a boulder off the top of his barn). The problem is, the very wet dough looks like a wayward handful of jello, and is liable to get out of hand, literally. Furthermore, the odds are good that this very wet dough will stick to the tea towel just as you are about to upend it. The result can be a less than perfect crust and less than perfect crumb structure.

The solution I came up with does not involve using parchment paper. (I hate putting that stuff in my pots).

1. Lightly oil the bowl in which you proof the dough, and then sprinkle  wheat bran into the bottom. Cover with towel and when proofing finished, sprinkle more wheat bran on top of dough.

2. When oven is heated, take pot out and place on stovetop. Close oven door quickly. Remove lid.

3. Using gloved hand, tip pot over toward stovetop. Using other hand, roll dough from bowl into the pot using a quick, decisive wrist turn.

You will find the dough goes into the pot very, very gently, with the top of the proofed dough now on the bottom of the pot, with your carefully-nurtured gluten structure undisturbed.


sebasto06's picture

from a bread newbie : long autolyse + cold and long fermentation makes a killer bread !!!

June 3, 2010 - 8:52am -- sebasto06

Hi to all of you guys and girls, and thanks a million for this precious website.

I'm french, and pretty new to making bread even though i've always dreamed to. I just love bread and, unfortunately, the bread you can find nowadays in french bakeries is pretty much unedible nine times out of ten. Tasteless, chewless and essentially stale only a couple hours after you bought it, not even mentioning the price which, sincerely, gets just about scandalous these days...

KitchenCrazed's picture

A South London Variation on Vermont Sourdough

February 18, 2010 - 10:03pm -- KitchenCrazed

A few times in recent weeks I have baked the Vermont sourdough from Jeffrey Hammelman's book 'Bread' or the variation called Norwich More-Sourdough on the Wild Yeast Website (here). Familiarity has made me feel confident enough to make my own small modification to the recipe so this weekend I made a version that replaced all of the rye flour in the Wild Yeast recipe with spelt flour.


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