The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

retarded dough

kanewbie's picture

How much and when to warm cold dough

February 18, 2012 - 9:28am -- kanewbie

When bread dough has been refrigerated overnight (when the recipe calls for retarding) should it be allowed to reach room temperature before baking?  Should it be allowed to warm somewhat, then be divided, rested, formed and then allowed to warm further during rising.  If dough still feels cold during final forming should the final proof be expected to take considerably longer?  I am not very good at judging by finger poking if dough has proofed enough.  Should I try to take its temperature with instant read?

davidg618's picture

Currently, I'm only baking three bread formulae (our daily breads), baguettes, and two sourdoughs: 50% each WW and Bread flours , and a mostly-white flour (equal amounts AP and Bread flours and 10% Whole Rye). I alternate the sourdough bakes week-to-week; and, for the two most recent bakes, I've retarded the fermenting dough for 17 hours @ 54°F. I'm doing this to extract maximum flavors.

This is the first mostly-white version with my new starter.(67% Hydration)

The flavor is all I could hope for--in both the crust and crumb. The Rye is indistinguishable by itself, yet without it the taste would be less. I've been baking this formula for at least a year; its predecessors were a less than inspiring all-white version, and a only slightly better flavored 10% Whole Wheat version. The retardation hasn't changed the formula's flavor, but deepened its intensity.

Volume increase from dough to finished bread isn't talked about much on TFL, rather oven-spring is the more common measure. These loaves, exhibited the greatest volume change I've experienced to date. To give some sense of it here is a photograph--minus the "taster slices". The container holding the loaves is that used to ferment the dough. The mixed dough occupied slightly more than 1 liter, approximately 1100 ml (the bottom of the photograph). 

David G

Wild-Yeast's picture

Anyone Else Using Firm Retarded Starters?

March 14, 2009 - 9:02am -- Wild-Yeast

I keep a firm starter refrigerated between builds.  It's allowed to at least double in bulk under refrigeration before use as a poolish in the next batch.  Refrigerated development period is four to five days.  Leavening action is slower than most sourdough starters but the resulting bread is exceptionally flavored.

I'm wondering if anyone else has experience in this technique as it seems to have a related but separate set of rules.


rryan's picture

Retarding sourdough loaves overnight

March 9, 2009 - 8:13pm -- rryan

I have recently started baking sourdough bread, and have thoroughly enjoyed the process.  Each loaf has been a "success", but each loaf has been very different from the others.  My wife and I have very different opinions about whether or not a loaf is a success.  For me, the crust should be a beautiful brown, and very crispy/chewy.  The crumb should be open, with some large, irregular holes.  My wife, on the other hand, prefers a bread with a golden colored, soft, delicate crust, and a finer crumb.

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