The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


  • Pin It
JPotter's picture


Hello -

This afternoon I mixed up a batch of Italian Bread following Reinhart's BBA recipe. I made the biga previously and made the dough later. During the initial rise, which should normally be between 2-4 hours, I left the house expecting to be back within a couple of hours. Plans changed and I didn't get home for about 10 hours. The dough is HUGE! Is it ruined? Can I salvage it?




OldWoodenSpoon's picture

As far as I know, I should hasten to add.  I'm far from the most experienced baker to be giving you advice, but then free opinions are always worth what you pay for them.

Try deflating it, and knead it gently a few strokes to mix up the yeast and spread the remaining food around.  Re-shape and proof.  If it proofs, bake it.  If not, you can still divide it up and use it as "old dough" and mix it in to future batches.  Only if the yeast has eaten through all the food is it really a loss, and this will be apparent when you deflate it and try to knead it.  If it collapses into a shapeless glob with no body or pretense at any, and stays that way even with some kneading, then it may be a loss.

That's my opinion, for what it's worth.  You will certainly get more.  Good luck with it.


JPotter's picture

Thanks for the advice. I punched it down and I got a brief beery smell but that went away after I continued to degas it. The dough returned to a decent texture. I'm going to retard it in the fridge overnight and see what it looks like tomorrow morning.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

After reshaping was the last chance to bake it if it gave a rise after handling.   Retarding?  The last insult; further fermentation and breaking down of the dough.  Doesn't sound to me that it will recover as a loaf.  I hope I'm wrong. Sorry, sounds like all of it is reduced to a starter, and a very ripe one. 

A portion (aprox.1/4) can be used to make another dough.  Ripe starter can be used to flavor yeasted breads as well so all is not lost, might end up with some excellent pizzas!


scientistbaker's picture

I agree with OldWoddenSpoon.

I've had success doing a 10 hour proof instead of 2 hours making French bread from the BBA recipe.  All I do is punch down, shape and do a second 30-45 minute proof and it comes out fine.  I actually like the flavor quite a bit using this improvised method, which I originally made as a compromise to accomodate my work schedule and be able to bake bread for dinner on weeknights.

yozzause's picture

Hi There J Potter
the definaition of over proofed is usually reserved for when your dough has collapsed, the fact that your dough was huge would seem to indicate that perhaps it was at the top of its proof.Of course having not been there it may have been up and down a couple of times.
The beery smell you refer to is probably just the C02 gas from the fermentation. next time when degassing take the time to put your nose into the container and take in the smell or aroma of the results of fermentation. I can still recall the distinct aroma of degassing doughs made from 600 lbs of flour, a deep breath was always a good idea before plunging the arm into the dough and running around the bowl.
iF your dough has indeed been up and down a couple of times then usually the dough does deteriate and become less easy to handle and the resulting bread will be very anemic because the yeast will have used up all the food available to it.
As some of the other posts say not a complete loss i would tend to bake off a loaf for the experience and for all of us here @ TFL and chuck the rest in the fridge or freezer for later incorporation into other doughs.
When i was an apprentice i was told of a dough that was buried in the vacant block next to the bakery and that rose and fell for a week or more with the dough maker quite worried that the boss was going to notice a differing topography of the land.
Regards Yozza
ps dont forget the followup

JPotter's picture

So I took the advice of everyone by splitting the dough into two pieces. One piece I put aside and will use as "old dough" in a few days and will post those results. The other piece I shaped into a boule, let rise about 1 hour and baked. It turned out fine. The crumb was a bit dense and the crust didn't brown quite right, but the flavor was amazing. Very moist and flavorful. I think my best bet would have been to bake it when I came home Friday night and not do another round of retardation, but it was nigh on 11 oclock and was tired.

I imagine the reason for the crust being too light is the lack of sugars.