Overproofing and oven spring
I have been baking P.R. French bread from his new book ABED. I am also using the variation version of this recipe ie after the stretch and fold, I set the dough at room temp for 90 min (dough doubles up), then shape it, and off it goes into the fridge for overnight fermentation. While the dough is in the fridge, it often balloons up At LEAST TWICE its size (and sometimes it is more) and that is within the first 24 hrs only (and Peter gives us a baking window of 4 days). Prior to baking it, I give the dough its final proof on the counter for an hour (but rarely sees any rise here - by now, I don't care bcuz the shaped dough has risen soooo much in the fridge), crank the heck out of my oven and prepare the steaming accessories, which have so far included the following techniques: (i) the stone and steam in the pan + mist; (ii) stone and steam in a pan containing lava rocks; (iii) stone and aluminium lasagna pan over the dough; (iv) TWO baking stones and steam in pan containing lava rocks; (v) baking my boule in a dutch oven (other than owning a real steam injected oven, I think I must have tried everything!).
Let me start by saying that the crumbs I get from these breads are 90% to 95% excellent. Except for 1 or 2 slightly dense crumbs, they have for the most part delivered delicious, airy and moist crumbs. On the other hand, I have had only mild successes with my oven spring (and as you can see, I have tried a number of tricks) NTD: the dutch oven baking gave me a very decent oven spring though....
Then, another blogger made me think of something that may be wrong with my doughs - OVERPROOFING.
When I score my doughs before their baking, I usually see an important deflation (I thought at first the deflation was caused by my poor scoring technique). Yet, the SHAPED doughs rarely get another chance to regain their pre-scoring shapes once they hit the oven. By now, I am thinking that it is my steaming technique that is lacking. However, the more I thought about it (and especially at the mild oven spring results), I am enclined to believe that my doughs have been overproofing (and this is why I have reduced the final proofing time from 60 min to 45). Then, this morning, I got confirmation there was something "deadly" wrong with my doughs.
I had one loaf shaped and standing in the fridge since Monday pm (which is only a 2.5 days from time of mixing to baking). This dough had doubled in size beautifully. But this am, when I opened the fridge, I noticed that the dough had started to slightly deflate. This is when I realized that overproofing may have been the culprit for my lack of oven spring. Well....now that I may have figured out the cause of the problem, what's the solution?
Mind you...Peter gives us at least 4 days to bake these babes and often times, I am not ready to bake the doughs within 24 hours of mixing the dough, therefore I really need to take advantage of that window spam. Cutting short the fridge fermentation will not be the optimum solution to prevent overproofing since my schedule and solo eating needs require that I bake these loaves at different periods. But even when I baked the first loaf within the first 24 hrs, I still felt a good deflation at the scoring stage.
Can anyone help?
PS - the reason why I have been using the variation recipe was bcuz I liked the first 90 min counter rise that offered me a good expansion, and another one once the dough hits the fridge. I noticed that when I use the original version without the first 90 min counter rise, I barely get any rise at the final proofing stage.