The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Bulk retardation vs retarding shaped loaves

Josh Khoo's picture
Josh Khoo

Bulk retardation vs retarding shaped loaves

Dear All 

I have been working on a simple sourdough recipe based on the following ratio:

100% : 53% : 52% : 1.3%

flour:100% hydrated active starter:water:salt

After initial mixing, autolyse and a further mix I let the dough bulk prove for 2 hrs with 2 folds.  The recipe I'm using then calls for the dough to be divided, pre-shaped, rested and then shaped and then retarded in the fridge in bannetons for about 12 hours.

What would the effect be (if any) on my loaves if I bulk proved the dough straight after folding.  I would bulk retard for the same amount of time (12 hours) and thereafter divide and shape. 

I suppose the question is in short:  "does a piece of dough's size (i.e a "smaller" shaped loaf vs. a "bulk" batch of dough) have any impact on how the dough retards/develops?"

Thanks in advance folks

Josh :-)

Josh Khoo's picture
Josh Khoo

Hey folks - being new to forums, I hope I havent broken some fundamental forum rule...

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Josh!

Welcome to TFL!

If you bulk retard, the dough will be slacker when you form it. This will make it handle differently. Try it and compare the difference it makes.

David

Josh Khoo's picture
Josh Khoo

Thanks David - appreciate the response!

Understand that bulk retarded dough will be slacker when shaping and handle differently, but as best as I can determine, there is not that much change to the baked product.  Both crust and crumb appear to me the same, with same or very similar flavour.

The impetus for this query is that I only have a fixed number of bannetons and what I'm trying to do is double my output with the same number of bannetons in the same period of time.  So whilst a single batch can be retarding already shaped, a second batch can be bulk retarding.

I suppose to get a bit more technical, is it correct to say that the size of a piece of dough doesnt really impact on the retardation process?

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Josh.

I believe I've read that dough size does matter, but this was when the bulk fermentation was of commercial quantities. Perhaps one of the professional bakers can answer this question with more authority. I don't have experience with fermenting more that 4.5 lbs of dough at a time.

David