The Fresh Loaf

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Vermont Sourdough with Increased Whole Grain, with proofing experiment

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occidental's picture

Vermont Sourdough with Increased Whole Grain, with proofing experiment

After reading several posts about Hammelman's Vermont sourdough with increased whole grain I decided to give it a try.  I've been impressed with my results from the basic Vermont Sourdough and this version didn't let me down either.  I found the errata sheet on the web here: ( ) and used those amounts to put the formula together.  I proofed one loaf in the kitchen (~67 degrees) and the other in the garage (~50 degrees) to account for the extra time the second loaf would be proofing while the first one baked.  I baked the loaf from the kitchen first followed about an hour later by the one from the garage.  I baked both using the 'magic bowl' steaming method.  There was quite a difference in the loafs. The kitchen loaf didn't have much oven spring, while the one from the cooler garage had great oven spring and is one of the best looking loafs I have ever baked.  The crumb is similar in both loaves.  The taste is great, although I can't say there is much of a taste difference between the two loaves. I will definitely be making this formula again.  Here is a pic of the loaf with the great oven spring:


ehanner's picture

That is an impressive looking boule! Could you tell us what the proofing times were for both loaves? Did you use the 2-1/2 hour bulk ferment also?

One more question about the cold proofing. Did you go from the 50F proof directly to the oven?

If you didn't get much spring from the loaf that was proofed at ambient, I wonder if it wasn't over proofed where as the cooler was slowed down by the cooler temp. That is a great looking loaf. It's worth understanding what happened so you can repeat it.


occidental's picture

Thanks Eric,

I did bulk ferment all the dough for 2 1/2 hours before dividing.  After dividing and shaping I proofed the warmer loaf approximately 2 hours, the cooler loaf proofed nearly 3 hours.  It is possible that the warmer loaf was overproofed and that caused the sluggish oven spring.  Two hours seemed a long time for proofing but it was at the lower end of the proof time according to the formula and with my relatively cool house (68 vs. the recommended 76) I didn't think I should go under that.  As far as baking the cooler loaf, I brought it in about 15 minutes prior to baking, not really much time for it to warm up.  I'll definitely be trying to repeat my experience in the near future.  Thanks to the cooler weather I'll have the option of cold retarding for several months.


louie brown's picture
louie brown

Great looking boule, occidental.


I did a similar project with similar results this week, found here:


I thought maybe the differences were due to the difference in scoring, although I have always had good results baking cold-retarded loaves. The one pictured was baked after one hour out of the fridge. It was put into the fridge for retarding the night before, with no bench time after shaping. A modified version of the towel steaming method was used. I like this method a lot.





occidental's picture

That's interesting you did something so similar with similar results.  I too had a slightly different scoring pattern, which I would expect would influence the final shape but not the amount of oven spring.  The differences between my two loafs leads be to believe that the first may have overproofed as Eric suggests.  Only more experimentation will tell.  So many loafs, so little time!