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cold retardation

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autopi's picture

when to retard dough--before or after shaping?

February 2, 2010 - 6:41pm -- autopi

i have been baking loaves out of BBA for a couple months now with good to very good results. i have one question which i haven't been able to figure out, and would appreciate thoughts on. sometimes reinhart says to mix up the dough and then stick it in the fridge overnight, and then let it rise, shape, proof & bake the next day. for instance, i believe his poolish baguette formula is like this.

JeremyCherfas's picture

When to retard?

August 21, 2009 - 2:04am -- JeremyCherfas

I've got a 100% starter bubbling nicely now, and I want to bake bread tomorrow morning. Thanks to the great advice I've received here, I plan to try feeding strong flour to the starter (done) and a smaller inoculation, 10% instead of 20%, and folding in the bowl to try to avoid a super-sticky unmanageable dough. I know I should do one variable at a time, but right now life's too short.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

 


There has been quite a bit of discussion on TFL regarding cold retardation of late. This is a recurring issue, as a site search on “retardation” will reveal. My overall conclusion has to be that, particularly for sourdough breads, there is no hard and fast rule. This is not surprising, since review of several highly-regarding bread books reveals considerable variation in how this subject is approached.


Most home bakers are fundamentally pragmatic. Some groove on the science and want to understand each process in detail, but most just want to make really good bread. Retardation is mostly a matter of convenience – to fit bread baking into a busy schedule – for both the home baker and the professional. For some, retardation during bulk fermentation works better. For others, retardation of the formed loaves is more convenient. But does the choice effect the quality of the bread?


I have generally made my own choice according to the procedures specified in the formula I was using. I've made breads that call for retardation in bulk, like Nury's Light Rye and Anis Bouabsa's baguettes, and I've made breads that are retarded after the loaves are formed, like most San Francisco-style sourdoughs. But I've never switched a recipe from one to the other, until today.


The bread I chose to make was Susan from San Diego's “Ultimate Sourdough.” I have made it several times before. I have made it without any cold retardation and with cold retardation of the formed loaves. I decided to see how it would turn out with overnight cold retardation in bulk.


Susan's formula makes one smallish boule. I generally double the recipe to make 2 small boules. This time, I tripled it to make two somewhat larger (22.5 oz) loaves. For your interest, I have included a table of ingredient quantities for one, two and three small loaves.


 


Ingredients

 

 

 

 

1 loaf

2 loaves

3 loaves

Active starter

12 gms

24 gms

36 gms

Water

175 gms

350 gms

525 gms

Whole Wheat Flour

25 gms

50 gms

75 gms

Hi-Gluten Flour

225 gms

450 gms

675 gms

Salt

5 gms

10 gms

15 gms

For this bake, I used KAF White Whole Wheat and Bob's Red Mill Organic Unbleached flours.

Procedures

 

  1. I dissolved the starter in the water in a large bowl
  2. Both flours were added to the water and mixed thoroughly.
  3. The bowl was covered tightly and the dough was allowed to rest (autolyse) for 20 minutes.
  4. The salt was then added and folded into the dough using a flexible dough scraper.
  5. After a 20 minutes rest, the dough was stretched and folded in the bowl for 20 strokes. This was repeated twice more at 20 minute intervals.
  6. The dough was then transferred to a lightly oiled 2 liter glass measuring “cup” with a tightly fitting plastic cover and refrigerated (10 hours, overnight).
  7. The next morning, the dough had expanded very little. I took it out of the refrigerator and left it at room temperature. After 3 hours, it had expanded only slightly, and I was concerned how little gas formation was occurring. I transferred the dough to a lightly floured bench and did a single stretch and fold. The dough was then returned to the bowl. From that point, it became more active and doubled in another 2.5 to 3 hours.
  8. I then divided the dough into 2 equal parts. One was preshaped into a round and the other into a rectangle. After a 10 minute rest, I shaped one boule and one bâtard, each of which was placed in a floured banneton and then in a plastic bag to proof.
  9. I proofed the loaves until they were expanded by 75% or so. They were then transferred to a peel, slashed and transferred to a pre-heated baking stone. The oven was then steamed.
  10. The loaves were baked at 480F with steam for 10 minutes, then another 17 minutes at 460F without steam. They were left to dry for another 10 minutes in the turned off oven with the door ajar.

 

      The dough did not become too extensible during cold retardation. This may have been due to the very strong flour I used. However, I did find the crumb less chewy than expected. The crumb structure, on the other hand, was not appreciably different from what I got when I retarded formed loaves of this bread. There was no significant difference in the flavor. You might note, however, the absence of the "birds eyes" - the little bubbles of CO2 under the crust surface. 

      I would not hesitate to cold retard this bread in bulk again. When I do the cold retardation would be governed by my scheduling needs. The end result is about the same: Really good sourdough bread.

      David

      David

       

       

      Jean-Paul's picture

      If I made up several uncooked sourdough boules, put them into the fridge, then every other day baked one up... would this work?

      August 6, 2009 - 10:50am -- Jean-Paul

      So I have a question for you. I love having a small, fresh loaf of sourdough on the counter to cut into anytime I want. But the process to make just one at a time is sooo time consuming. What if I were to make several small uncooked boules ready to go into the oven, but instead, put them into the fridge ad every other day baked up one of them, do you think this would work? Have you tried this before? Thanks! Jean-Paul

      dmsnyder's picture
      dmsnyder

      Last week, I made baguettes using Pat's (proth5) recipe. They were good. I was amazed at the open crumb I got from a 65% hydration dough. See my blog entry:


      http://tfl.thefreshloaf.com/node/10852/baguette-crumb-65-hydration-dough


      Today, I made them again, but included an overnight cold retardation during bulk fermentation. The dough was mixed last night and refrigerated. It expanded little, if at all, overnight. I decided to let it double before dividing and shaping. After 6 hours at room temperature, it had only expanded by 50%, although I could see lots of little bubbles through the glass of the 2 quart measuring cup in which I was fermenting the dough. So, I decided to go ahead and divide it. I preshaped and let the pieces rest for 15 minutes, then shaped the baguettes and proofed them for about 70 minutes. Scored, loaded and baked at 460F.


      Being a sourdough kind of guy, I found the increased sourness more to my liking than the batch I had not cold retarded. The crumb was a bit less open, no doubt due to the less complete dough expansion during bulk fermentation. I will try this again but do the cold retardation of the formed loaves next time.




      David

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