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cold ferment

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tgw1962_slo's picture
tgw1962_slo

cold ferment

Hello,


I just recently read about putting the starter in the refrigerator for overnight or up to 21 hours prior to adding into dough. This long refrigeration supposedly retards the fermentation process and helps add flavor.


Does anyone know about the validity of this process...?  I've heard about putting starter or dough into the refrig to slow down fermentation. But its the first time I've heard that this actually helps improve flavor.


If anyone can confirm this, I'd appreciate knowing. Thanks.


 


Tory

LindyD's picture
LindyD

While I keep my starter refrigerated midweek and almost always retard my dough overnight, I've not heard of refrigerating the starter for close to 24 hours before adding it to the dough.  A starter needs to be fresh and active in order to raise bread, and I don't think that would be the case with an unrefreshed starter that had been kept in cold storage for two days.  In fact, most people feed their starters a couple of times before using them.


Now, mixing an active starter with the dough, going through the bulk fermentation and folding, then shaping the loaves and placing them in the refrigerator overnight for the final fermentation does add a lot to the flavor and character of the bread.


The method also makes it much easier for those who have full time jobs outside the home to be able to bake midweek.  In my case, it's the only way I can bake midweek.


If you have a good recipe, Tory, give it a try!


 

sheffield's picture
sheffield (not verified)

From BWRAITH's tutorial on maintaining a starter.


"Once it has risen by double, it is placed in the refrigerator. The starter can then be used directly from the refrigerator in a recipe for the next 3 days. On the first day, it is almost the same as it was right after it rose by double. On the second day, it has a little more flavor and may be ever so slightly weaker, but it is still at an excellent point to use in a recipe. After 3 days, it can still be used, but it will have stronger, more sour flavors, and it will be noticeably weaker in terms of rising power"

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Do you have a link and a date?  My TFL search produced some contrary info by Bill but I don't know if it was before or after that quote.

sheffield's picture
sheffield (not verified)
LindyD's picture
LindyD

Thanks, Sheffield.  As ususal, Bill provides some very good information.  He posted that before I joined TFL so I've bookmarked it.


I imagine if you have a really strong starter, using it after it's been in the cooler for two days will still raise the bread.  I think I'll try it the next time I bake Hamelman's sourdough.


Appreciate your taking the time to provide the link.

sheffield's picture
sheffield (not verified)

Glad I could be of assistance!

gaaarp's picture
gaaarp

Tory, are you talking about your normal maintenance starter, or the firm starter you build for your bread?  I keep my maintenance starter in the fridge all the time.  I take it out mid-week, feed it, and leave it out for a few hours before putting back in the refrigerator.  I use it to bake on the weekends.  Sometimes I feed it when I take out starter to build my firm starter; other times I just let it go until the mid-week feeding.


As for my firm starter, I always make it a day ahead and refrigerate it overnight, sometimes two nights, before making my sourdough.

tgw1962_slo's picture
tgw1962_slo

Hello,


Actually, the recipe I found called for either a sponge or starter that indicated to make it and then refrigerate it for about 16 before mixing it into the accompanying dough recipe.


And the recipe indicated that the refrigeration would cause the fermentation to slow down and that would then cause the flavor to be brought out more.


So it wasn't an "ongoing" starter. It was one for a specific recipe. Now I'm having trouble even finding the recipe again (I've been looking through about four or five bread books recently) so I don't remember which book I found it in initially.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven


"And the recipe indicated that the refrigeration would cause the fermentation to slow down and that would then cause the flavor to be brought out more."



I find this to be true ....unless more flour is added.  More flour tends to dilute the flavor.  But if this diluted dough is allowed to rest again or retard in the refrigerator for many hours, the sour has a chance to bloom and flavor is inhanced.  So if it is immediate sour you are after, retard your dough.  Sour flavors will eventually strengthen in the baked bread but to retard the starter or the dough or both through refrigeration will speed up the flavoring process, the result being a sour loaf fresh from the oven (as opposed to not retarding but then waiting a few days for the sour in the baked bread to develop.)  Each method has its advantages.


My last sourdough bread sat in the garage bulk rising for two days after mixing (4°c or 40°F) until I had the chance to shape and bake it.  The finished loaf was very sour but the dough did have trouble rising.  When I started warming up the dough with my folds, I was tempted to sprinkle instant yeast onto the dough to speed up the whole process.  I didn't but was impatient waiting for it to rise.  I could have split the dough in half to observe differences but didn't think if it at the time.   And although the bread is almost gone, I wish it would have been higher, rounder, etc.  Either time or added yeast would have helped.  I'm glad is started out as a large loaf as it gets better each day!  Next time I might do better retarding the shaped loaf.  Always something new to try...


Mini

tgw1962_slo's picture
tgw1962_slo

Yeah, that happened to me too. I had the recipe. Then the next day when I went to refer back to it, I couldn't find it. My fault for closing the book without placing a bookmark.


But you're right. It wasn't an ongoing starter. It was one made for a specific recipe. It indicated to make it like a day or two before baking the loaf, but refrigerating it in the meantime (to slow ferment and enhance flavor).


Tory

Wisecarver's picture
Wisecarver (not verified)
Adelphos24's picture
Adelphos24

Is this anything like Pain A'lancienne from "The Bread Baker's Aprentice"?


If it is, then I can vouch for it. You use ice cold water to make the starter, then knead it and toss it into the refrigerator. The next day, you let it warm up, then go about making your bread.


I made batards from this method, and they turned out great.


It has to do with the enzymes breaking down the starches over night, so there's more sugar for the yeast on day 2. It was one of the easiest breads I've made, as well.


I wrote a bit about leaveners here: http://www.improveyourbaking.com/2009/01/09/leaveners-a-bakers-secret-weapon/


Hopefully I've been able to help.

tgw1962_slo's picture
tgw1962_slo

Ok, thanks. That is exactly what I was hoping to hear. It may be from that recipe. I don't remember. I'll have to go back to that specific recipe to see if that's where I read it originally.


Thanks,


Tory

bassopotamus's picture
bassopotamus

I've been making the basic hearth bread from the Bread Bible, with various levels of success over the last couple weeks. Almost all of the loaves I did had the sponge in the fridge for timing issues. The one I made yesterday did not. Observations


 


1. It is cold in my kitchen, and I have a hard time getting the sponge/dough back up to a decent temperature. The results seems to be less of a rise.


2. The unrefridgerated batch rose much better, but the flavor was noticeably less exciting.

Adelphos24's picture
Adelphos24

So, obviously you want the taste of the refridgerated batch, with the rise of the unrefridgerated batch.


Have you tried letting it rise in the oven with only the interior light bulb on? My father-in-law swears by this method. Of course, you have to do it before pre-heating the oven.


Another option would be to find a really warm spot in your house.


My mother always raises bread over a heat register with a towel draped over it. I raise bread in my back room, where my wood stove is.


At one pastry shop I worked at we rarely made bread, so there was no proofer. When we needed a yeast dough to rise we'd put the rack next to or above the hot oven.


The only other thing that I can suggest is to keep an eye on how long you're kneading the dough. Make sure the gluten has time to develop.


You can use the windowpane test to make sure.


I hope this helps.

bassopotamus's picture
bassopotamus

I have been doing the rise in the oven with the light on, but maybe I've just been impatient (I only recently got a good marked rising container). I've got a sponge in the fridge now, will probably start turning into bread this afternoon.

gaaarp's picture
gaaarp

If you like something about each method, you could refrigerate some of the sponge and leave the rest out on the counter.  By combining them, you could get both the flavor and the rise you're after.

tgw1962_slo's picture
tgw1962_slo

Ok, lot's of good info here. Thanks everyone for responding. Yes, it may have been from the BBA. 


I'll have to play around with some of these ideas to see what works for me.


Thanks to everyone who responded. :-)


Tory