The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

problems with cold fermentation of PR Classic French

blamejane's picture

problems with cold fermentation of PR Classic French

Hi everyone, I'm new to bread baking and this forum!  I've baked 4 times with recipes from PR's ABED, and I absolutely LOVE it.  I do have a problem though...

In making the Classic French, I notice that when I pull the dough out of the fridge, the bottom is very wet/soggy, while the top is very tight/firm.  I've tried using different brands of tupperware containers and different locations in my fridge, but each time it comes out the same.  Now when I mix the dough, I use the exact ingredients and measurements as described in the recipe.  The dough seems perfect going into the fridge.

Has anyone experienced this problem? 

BTW, I'm using KA bread flour.



Aideuis's picture

Are you oiling the container with spray oil or coating the dough with oil before putting it in the container? This may be keeping the lower part of the dough saturated and essentially sealed from any air, the top portion not submerged will develop a skin resulting in a "tighter" texture.  No matter how tight the container there is still air in there, if you are not having any problems with the bread I would not worry about it.

Chuck's picture

I just tried something that turned out to work really well that might relate to this issue. I wanted to make sure the dough didn't stick to the rising container, but I didn't want so much oil that it would pool.

I got an extra one of those pump-up refillable olive oil sprayers, put salad oil in it, and keep it right beside my bread work surface. I pumped it up, used it to spray a light misting of oil all over the inside of my rising container, then dumped the dough in. It worked great; even when I looked hard oil was barely visible, and certainly didn't pool in the bottom of the container, yet the dough didn't stick at all. (I should have sprayed the inside of the lid though:-)


Those pump-up refillable oil sprayers are certainly both cheaper and greener than buying yet another spray can all the time. They mist well if you follow a few simple rules that aren't always documented all that well; complaints about streaming rather than misting always seem to come back to these:

  • only fill the sprayer half full of oil - leave the other half for the sqeezed air that makes it work

  • spray only for ten seconds or so, then pump again - just one pumping is often not enough for one use

  • when you're all done, unscrew the cap just a little to let the air pressure hiss out - don't try to store the air pressure for another day

blamejane's picture

I've had one of those pump sprayers for a few years, but I don't think mine has ever "misted".  I thought they just "sprayed" a stream of oil, which is all that mine has ever done.  I wonder if it's worth replacing and trying.  Thanks for the tip Chuck.

blamejane's picture

Thanks Aideuis, I'd never considered that.  Hmmm...

I use Pam spray oil and could have easily been over doing it in the bottom.  I should add that I never saw any pooling of oil, but certainly I always wondered how much was enough.

Also, for the top I haven't been spraying anything.  I don't think this recipe says to spray the top, so I haven't been.

Well I made some last night and very lightly misted the bottom and also decided to mist the top.  I'll let everyone know if it made a difference.

jyslouey's picture

I often close put the pump lid back on as soon as I'm done and epxperience some resistance.  I may have damaged one mist sprayer already (or the nozzle itself is crap) by forcing the lid back on and now it either won't spray or when it does, it spews a stream of oil rather than a fine mist.

blamejane's picture

I think the bottom was better this time, not as soggy, but I'm still not happy how funky this dough turns out.  The bread is good, but could it be better?  I'm gonna try a different french bread recipe, maybe a 24 hour bulk furmentation or I'll retry the BBA recipe for french.

madruby's picture


I too have been baking breads from PR ABED, and more specifically the wet lean recipe and the classis French bread recipe.  I usually lightly spray my container with Pam or oil mist.  I too always notice that after a few days in the fridge, my dough becomes wetter (very much so with the wet lean bread) and my top is just a bit firmer.  I have found PR breads to be very flavorful but I still struggle with the shapes as I have a hard time manipulating this wetter dough (whether I have used the lean recipe or the classic French bread recipe).  At first, I thought I was the one who was doing something wrong (and I religiously scale my ingredients, use a thermo for everything, etc...) but discussing my results with other bakers who have used PR ABED lean bread recipes made me realize that some of them (the novice ones like myself) have had similar challenges and results.  Hope this clarifies a few points for you.

Good luck with the baking.