The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Is It Possible to Long Bulk Room Temperature Ferment Sweeter, Richer Doughs??

baltochef's picture

Is It Possible to Long Bulk Room Temperature Ferment Sweeter, Richer Doughs??

I read the recent thread on long bulk room temperature fermentation of lean doughs with great interest..It is more, or less, accepted fact within the bread baking community that sweeter doughs will derive the majority of their flavor components from the sugars, fats, milks, dried fruits, eggs, and spices that are added to these doughs..Thus, they are generally made with short fermentation times..

My question to those of you in this forum that do long bulk room temperature ferments of leaner doughs is this--- "Do you think it would be possible to do a long bulk room temperature ferment, say 24 hours maximum time, of a sweeter dough that would allow the longer ferment to build additional flavor components in the finished dough, above those provided by the above mentioned ingredients??"..

I realize that the risk of spoilage would be increased by fermenting doughs at room temperatures with dairy products and eggs in them..I am thinking that the temperature would have to be kept below 75F for this to be safe..Would the amount of yeast added to the dough in the beginning have to be even further reduced over that added to a similar weight lean dough due the the extra food provided to the yeast by all of the sugar, fat, egg, etc. in the dough??..

An example of a recipe that I am interested in doing this with is:

I realize that the build for this recipe would have to be different..I am offering the recipe mainly as an ingredient list for this discussion..

I am sure that there are questions that I have not posed in this post..Please feel free to educate me on any aspects of this subject that I have neglected to bring up..Thanks to any & all that can help answer my questions..


mcs's picture

There's a couple of work-arounds for the situation you're talking about.  An easy way is to do a standard biga with a bunch of the dough (30-40% of the overall dough weight), using water instead of milk. Then when you do the final dough, you use dry milk for the milk plus regular milk for the rest of your dough.  Then you can work it like a regular dough without worrying about spoilage.
With my Portuguese Sweet Bread, I use this method,(water for the biga, milk in the final dough) I just don't use any powdered milk at all.  Since I have butter in the final dough, it makes up for any fat difference that might be missed otherwise.


Oh yeah, if you want to bulk ferment the whole thing, you could treat it like a croissant dough and after the mix, let it proof at room temp for 2 hours, degas it, then put it in the fridge overnight.  It develops a nice flavor while keeping it safe.

maurdel's picture

(as Mark said above)  I have seen sweet bread recipes that involve long ferments. They are often put to rise in the fridge. Also some recipes involve a starter/main dough that is quite plain, and a flavored rich dough which is made later (maybe next day) then mixed with the starter dough at a later time. 

nbicomputers's picture

the colder the better and use less yeast.  you don't have to concern yourself about the dairy or the eggs the salt and sugar will retard the spoilage.


baltochef's picture

Should I  reduce the amount of yeast in a sweet dough recipe by half for every doubling of the time spent fermenting in a refrigerator??..As was suggested by breadbakingbassplayer in the original Long Bulk Room Temperature Ferment thread??..For instance, the Cinnamon Raisin Pulla recipe cited in my OP proofed for a total of 2 hours and 30 minutes when the dough was executed at a room temperature of 80F using 3 teaspoons of SAF Gold instant yeast..

2.5 hours = 3 teaspoons instant yeast

5 hours = 1.5 teaspoons

10 hours = 3/4 teaspoon

20 hours = 3/8 teaspoon

40 hours = 3/16 teaspoon

Should I stop at the 20 hour mark for proofing such a sweet dough in the fridge, or would it be OK to push the ferment to 40 hours??..Thanks for any input..





souralli's picture

Hi, I know this thread is old but I'm about to starting making a big batch of Pulla for holiday gifts and have some questions that seem relevant.  I need the dough to be ready for my kids to braid when they get home from school, but the exact timing of that is unpredictable; it will be sometime between 3:30 and 5ish (that's 6-7.5 hrs from now; it's 9:30 as I type this).  Ideally I'd like to bake in stages so that the loaves can be as fresh as possible for the recipient (but will sadly prob have to bake tonight for tomorrow).

Any suggestions on the best approach?  I was thinking I could mix sometime this morning and let it bulk proof slowly, maybe not in the fridge (40deg) but our mudroom (currently50deg) but I'm worried about the danger of overproofing.  Better to mix in late afternoon?  And hope it will proof slowly enough that we can make it work with our irregular timing?

And as a side note, how long do you think I could bulk proof in the fridge and still get the same results?

Thanks for any advice!