The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Retarding process

marieJ's picture

Retarding process

This isn't necessarily a question specific to the sourdough forum, but with the wealth of knowledge, expertise, experience, individuals and their generosity found here in this discussion space, answers find their way to our needs-specific inquiries.  (Does that make sense????  Haven't had lunch yet!!)

I'd like to bake off loaves made with commercial yeast (ie not sourdough cultures) for a woman who works across the road from where I live in the city.  She works in a whole foods shop and we have chatted on & off about home made bread making.  I've recently discovered her oven no longer works properly, hence she is unable to sucessfully cook baked goods.  Apparently the oven is only suitable now for long slow cooking of casseroles, etc.

I'd love to be able to go to her & tell her to bring her prepared loaves into work with her & I will put them aside to proof & bake them off for her in my oven.  However, commercial yeast only takes about 1-2 hours proofing so I imagine she may need to retard the loaf overnight, or face putting it together in the morning before work.

I would imagine it would be possible to mix a dough in the morning, proof 45 mins, shape, travel to work where I'd collect it, allow final proof to finish & bake. Drop the finished loaf to her later in the day.

What do you experienced bakers think?  Would this be feasible?

I thought she could retard the loaf overnight in the fridge to make this arrangement easier, but I don't know how retardation works with fast acting commercial yeast strains.

Any ideas will be welcome.

Eventually I'd like to introduce her to sourdough.




janij's picture

That is an idea to ponder.  In theory is would work as you said.  But it seems precarious to take loaves back and forth like that.  What will they be shaped in?  Pans?

What about making the dough the night before.  Transfering the dough in it's cool state, taking it to where it would be baked, shaped and allowed to proof longer than usual then baked.  Or even retarded in the fridge over night, then brought out to room temp for a couple hrs, transfered then and then sahped and baked?  You can always reduce the amount of yeast to slow down the rise time even in the fridge.  You would have to play with it.  What kind of bread do you want to bake?  Lean or enriched?  That also would play into the equation.  Could you give more info and maybe everyone can help find you a solution.

marieJ's picture

Thanks for your great advice, Janij!  I was thinking she could prepare the loaf the night before & then proof it in the fridge overnight.  I could set it aside to finish proofing before putting it in my oven.  I hadn't thought of advising her to use less yeast, though, so thanks for that great idea. 

As far as I know, she bakes lean loaves. 

I haven't put this idea to her yet as I wanted to gather some ideas first.  She's bound to ask me questions along this nature.  My knowledge of commercial yeast baking is basic as I'm a sourdough purist.

Any future ideas would be most welcome.

I'll have a chat to her and ask how she has been preparing loaves up until this point b4 her oven became 'disadvantaged'. :-)


Regards  Marie

By the way.....I used whole cooked grains in my sourdough loaves for the first time yesterday & the result was outstanding!!   My culture cheerfully and efficiently hoisted the loaf skyward.  I'd imagined it may have produced a dense loaf. Deliriously happy....................