The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Are we there yet..? Are we there yet..?

jcamador's picture
jcamador

Are we there yet..? Are we there yet..?

I find myself asking this question all the time! For example, Hamelman's Vermont Sourdough, the recipe states to bulk ferment for 2.5 hours. The problem is that I'm not seeing considerable rise during this time...the dough does not feel "pillowy" or full of gas. just feels like a dense blob of dough.


So here is my question: My 100% starter is fed twice a day with ratio 1:2:2 with KA bread flour and filtered water. It's kept on the counter, room temperature around 63 degrees. It takes about 12 hours to double in volume. Is 2.5 hours not enough to bulk ferment this dough? Is 63 degrees on the cool side for sourdough? Should I be looking for the dough to double during the first rise? Is my starter slow?? Is 2.5 hours simply not enough time? What am I doing wrong!!??!!


I know I have a lot of question, but I am so intrigued by sourdough I want to get this straightened out. Thanks in advance!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

And yes 2.5 hours is for a dough temp of 76°F  not 63°F.  The dough cools down very quickly with those temps.  You should expect the dough to rise about as fast as your starter does.  So 2.5 hours is nothing!  (pages 153-157) Which one of the three are you making?


Mini

jcamador's picture
jcamador

Thanks Mini- thats kinda what I figured. I'm making the sourdough with wheat. So should my dough be doubling with the bulk fermentation?  Should I be "super-charging" my starter somehow? Thank you so much!

jcamador's picture
jcamador

OK..what if my starter still takes 7 hours to double at warmer temps (72-76 degrees)..would bulk fermentation still only take 2.5 hours? Or is it dependent on the strength of my starter which would take much longer? You guys are the best!

Davo's picture
Davo

Personally I'm not fussed about it doubling before shaping loaves, and I usually get a poorer, overproved result if it does. Maybe that's just me in my kitchen.


The time for it to start to move certainly depends on temp and 63 F is pretty cool, but it also deps on ratio of levain/starter into the bread dough. When that is about 30%, and the time is 2.5 hrs and the temp is around 70 F, it works fine for me. All I want to see is some tiny bubbles in the dough when I cut and scale it, before shaping.

jcamador's picture
jcamador

Davo- so then you're looking to get most of the volume during the final proof right? If so, that would make sense to me...so then what is the goal of first rise versus second rise?

Faith in Virginia's picture
Faith in Virginia

What I do and this works for me in cooler rooms. I make my final dough. stretch and fold 3 times on 1/2 hour intervals then form the loaf.  It does get soft and fluffy but never doubles until the final proof.


Hope this helps.


faith

jcamador's picture
jcamador

Thanks all! So, we really want the dough to double...maybe more during the final proof. Makes sense to me...but then what is the goal of the first rise?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Initial rising is to develop gluten structure so the dough can eventually rise well. 


Are we still talking about sourdough here? 


First and second (and third) rises belong to the methods used with commercial-yeast (yeasted) breads.


Sourdoughs are thought more in terms of one rise with structural stengthening activities while the dough rises.  Sourdoughs have a tendency to relax and loose shape much quicker than yeasted breads and therefore require more intermediate steps like stretching & folding and gentle handling to build up dough strength as fermenting progresses.


Mini