The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Question about retarding a German sourdough bread.........

Sedlmaierin's picture

Question about retarding a German sourdough bread.........

Hi there,

soooooo,now that my newest sourdough batch is ready and I am DYING for a loaf of my favorite bread, I find myself not having enough time. I just recently came upon this website and have been perusing it with the greatest interest.

So, my question today is: can I retard my sourdough bread in the refrigerator overnight? if yes, when would be the best point to do the retarding-after the bulk proof?( I feel so grown up using those terms-hope I am using them correctly ;) )

I will translate the recipe as best as I can :

Hannoversches Doppelback- Double backed Bread from Hannover- recipe by W. Fahrenkamp

60 g Yeast(fresh)

1/2 cup warm water

500g wheatflour 1050 ( i generally use KA white whole wheat)

500g rye flour 1150 ( i use arrowheadmills organic rye)

250g sourdough ( Fahrenkamp starts his SD with a 1:1 ratio and then to build up he uses a 2:1 ratio of flour and water- does that come out to 75% hydration? the baker's percentage is still a bit confusing to me to calculate)

about 0.5 liters warm water

2 tbs salt


if kneaded by hand one is to knead for about 30 minutes, by machine for about 10-it calls for a bulk proof of about 75 minutes-until the dough is 50% bigger-then knead again and form into a loaf shape, put into greased and floured loaf pan and let rest again for about 20 minutes. pierce all over with a fork, paint with water and bake in preheated oven (with steam) at about 230celcius for about 60 minutes( i do it just a bit under 60 minutes-it gets way too dark otherwise)-take out the bread, and take it out of the loaf form, increase oven temperature to 280celcius and bake again for about 10 minutes.

I have made this bread succesfully on a number of occasions,I have just never even thought about retarding in the fridge(since I didn't know what that was) and am now excited at the prospect of doing so, since I don't really haver a solid chunk of time to bake this loaf. And no, I am not a morning person , so getting up earlier is not an option *wink*

Looking forward to your input,



CosmicChuck's picture

I would knead the dough for about 10-15 minutes until it passes the "window-pane" test. 30 minutes seems like overkill. Then, bulk proof for about 90 minutes or until the dough has nearly doubled. Form the loaf carefully so as not to de-gass and place in the prepared loaf pan. Immediately after this, lightly oil the top of the loaf, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the fridge overnight. The next day, remove it from the fridge and let sit, still covered, at room temperature for 2-4 hours to remove all of the chill and renew proofing. At times, I have cut this time down by placing it in my gas oven with just the pilot light on (oh how I dream to have a real proofer in my home!). When it has come to temp and is fully proofed (when the dough doesn't spring back after being poked), bake as you normally would.

One question: what is the purpose of stabbing the loaf with a fork? I know baking can be stressful at times, but there's no need for violence! :P


Sedlmaierin's picture

that made me laugh! Honestly I don't know what the purpose is- I always assumed it might serve similar purpose to slashing, but I am not sure. Thanks for the tips-I will let you know how it all turned out tomorrow!


Sedlmaierin's picture

for posting that  link. I figured out that  it was for the release of air pockets at some point last night- as I was reading one of your posts until the wee hours of the morning.

The bread is just about to go into the oven-I am so excited and a tad apprehensive;the overnight retard in the fridge( and granted it was only in there for about 5 hours since I made the dough late last night and am up way too early today) allowed it to rise way, way too much(that and possibly I followed an incorrect conversion of fresh yeast inot instant). I folded it in on itself again this morning and it has been resting for about 30 minutes now. It willg o in the oven as soon as it is hot enough, though-can't have big holes in my bread now!!!!!

Hopefully I can figure out how to post pictures and I will do so once it is done!


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Isn't 30g standard for 500g flour?  And you have twice that amount in the recipe so it must be right.  It does take off fast.  You could also just use 30g for the whole recipe and it would take longer to rise.  Up to you.  I don't add yeast. 

That is a big recipe about 2kg! over 4.4lbs!  (Too big for one bread pan...)

Photos & more discussion: