The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Question Regarding Vermont Rye Sourdough Retardation

Steve H's picture
Steve H

Question Regarding Vermont Rye Sourdough Retardation

I made Hamelman's Vermont Rye again the other day and it didn't really come out right.  After letting the levain sit for 15 hours, I made the final dough and threw it in the fridge for bulk fermentation overnight.  The next morning it had grown in size somewhat but was so soupy (somewhere between batter and dough) I couldn't handle it.  Furthermore, I had to add a ton of flour just to get it to the point where I could feel comfortable transferring it to a banneton.  I then retarded it for another 12 hours and baked it..  It came out alright, if a bit spongy.


Thoughts?


is it a bad idea to retard bulk fermentation?  Does this get in the way of the autolyse?

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Hi Steve,


Do you scale  your ingredients?  The Vermont sourdough is only 65 percent hydration and definitely is not soupy or difficult to handle.


After you mix the levain, flour, and water and get through the autolyse, then add the salt and do the final mix, a 2.5 hour bulk fermentation is needed and the dough is folded either once or twice (the latter at 50-minute intervals).  After that, it is shaped and retarded overnight.  The final fermentation takes place in the cooler, for the most part.  


It sounds as if you skipped the bulk fermentation and folding the dough.  The folding gives strength to the dough.  But even if you did, that wouldn't turn the dough into soup.  I'm guessing you added more than the 14.8 ounces of water called for, or your flour measurements were off.


On the bright side, it was edible!

Steve H's picture
Steve H

It is true that I skipped the folding step, but my intent was to bulk ferment slowly overnight instead of the 2.5 hours at room temp, then proof in the banneton overnight for the next stage.


Still, I think you are right that the flour had to be off.  I wouldn't have been able to fold the dough even if I had been awake.

rcornwall's picture
rcornwall

Hi Steve,


I hope your next attempt goes better. If you need more info on delayed fermentation you should, if you haven't already, check out Peter Reinhards new book, Whole Grain Breads. He goes into detail about long fermentation, its benefits and how to do it. I just made a 21 KG batch of natural sourdough over a six day period and OMG it came out better than I had expected. Done right, its a wonderful thing.


Chefryan

Steve H's picture
Steve H

I have that book and will check it out!  I just did another batch and it is turning out much better.  I think I might have overmixed the dough or something.


The dough this time is still very extremely sticky and kind of soft but as long as I don't try to actually KNEAD it, it is coming out fine.  I am just surprised at the difference between what I see of some dough online (like that French kneading video) and the stuff I make.


The dough hook on my Kitchenaid seems to be pretty much useless, but this time I used it anyway, hoping that the dough which was mostly rotating freely on the hook was getting the appropriate workout.


I'm also rushing through it a bit this time, as it has to be ready by tonight and I started last night, so I am wrapping up bulk fermentation now and will divide and proof in the fridge for a bake this evening.

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Steve, how are you measuring your ingredients?  Volume or weight?

Steve H's picture
Steve H

Lindy,


Weight.  First time around I did english oz. and second time around I verified the 2-loaf recipe with a spreadsheet and did weighed the ingredients in grams, which seems more precise on my Salter scale that reads out in weird 1/8# increments.


I store my flour in the freezer.  I wonder if its absorbing water somehow.


I did three folds on mr re-loaf and it looks fairly good.  I've divided it into two loaves and am doing one round and one oblong loaf.  Should bake it tonight.  I'll take pictures.  The dough is manageable as long as I don't touch it too much and just stick to basic stretching, folding, and cutting.

Steve H's picture
Steve H

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Am guessing they taste pretty good, too.


I'm just confused why your dough seems to be sticky and difficult to handle.  Doesn't look like you had any problems with this batch, though.  Nice job.